Joining Nests: Blended Families Beyond the Brady Bunch
Here’s the story of a lovely lady…You know the tune. Blended families have come a long way since The Brady Bunch, when remarriage and step-parenting seemed more like a sitcom premise than what the folks down the block or around the corner were doing. In reality, blended families don’t fit neatly inside those nine little boxes with Alice, the housekeeper, smiling from the center. Six children will not peacefully share one bathroom, and you probably won’t hire live-in help.
Now that we’ve disabused ourselves of that retro fantasy, let’s look at reality: Blended families are more prevalent than ever, and while in most regards they’re just like their nuclear counterparts, they also face unique challenges and opportunities. MillBridge is a perfect backdrop for folks in these unique family units to build their new lives together.
In 2016, millions of families break the traditional nuclear mold. Through life’s unpredictable circumstances, blended families emerge—stepmothers, stepfathers, half-siblings, and other permutations of love. Research estimates that one-third of Americans belong to one of these modern families, and if your household is more Brady Bunch than Leave it to Beaver, it’s open to a new set of adventures.
Launching a blended family can be scary: Divorced parents may worry about forming reciprocal emotional bonds with new children in their lives. Widowed parents may still have grief to process. A single parent could be totally accustomed to running the show without a partner in the picture, so division of authority may seem threatening with a new spouse.
Any parent in a “modern family” will tell you: It’s all about logistics. Coordinating schedules is one of the biggest hurdles that parents encounter, but once you get into the groove, things settle down. Well, as much as they can. Teamwork and communication are essential to operating the moving parts of a big, diverse household.
At times, your SUV may feel more like “home” than your home itself, given all the time you spend behind the wheel. But when everyone arrives home from their soccer games and piano recitals, your house is full again. Your nest should be large enough to give everyone space to spread out and unwind, but communal enough to support meaningful connections in common areas.
When you work with a top-notch builder at MillBridge, these necessities are accounted for in a variety of existing floorplans and customized creations.
For a blended family, home might need to accommodate everyone from self-sufficient teens to newborns, pets, and even your parents. With a host of relatives at different stages of life under the same roof, space and utility are key components to a happy home. Imagine your living space in its various “zones” for eating, playing, relaxing, and working. Those zones should be porous and flexible but also defined.
Here’s an example: If Grandpa is watching the game, the kids should still have a place in the house to unwind. That’s what building a home at MillBridge is all about– creating a residence that fits your unique family’s needs.
It’s not uncommon for modern families to welcome grandparents into the home to help out with childcare, while others split time with children among other households. That’s why in-law suites, garage apartments, and first-floor mobility bedrooms have become sought-after in the world of building. Over-stuffing a home with people and personalities is not how successful blended families achieve harmony—they reach it by making everyone as comfortable as possible.
The flip-side of these challenges is emotional: How do you nurture connection between all the moving parts? One of the first steps is to establish a network and community of people that supports you in ways unique to your needs. To the world, it looks complicated, but to you, it’s just life.