Not the Brady Bunch

I heard it again today. “WOW! Just like the Brady Bunch!” Jeez, I am tired of it. Actually, we are the polar opposite. We have nine children. Four are “mine” and five “his” and last I checked I was co-starring with myself as the housekeeper. If we could lose three children and turn divorce into bereavement we might be onto something, but until then, forget the sitcoms, this family is a reality show with no laugh track.

Mrs. Brady never had to wake belligerent children aged 8 to18 at 6am. Nor did she have to transport them to 5 different schools 40 minutes apart all before 8 am. Mike was never laid off, she never needed a job, the kids didn’t do dishes and they always had clean towels. In their world, following the rules resulted in a happy ending in half an hour. In our world, the trouble never ends and if it did everyone would be pissed.

We had a family meeting once explaining that there were no “mine” and no “his”. We loved all the children equally as an extension of our love for each other. It was a lovely, touching, not one dry eye in the house moment. Everyone hugged, said, “I love you”, went to their rooms and promptly chose sides. “His” agreed I was the problem, “Mine” agreed if they just hung in there HE would go away. Seven years later the only thing they all agree on is “old people” love is gross.

“My” ex hasn’t made a voluntary child support payment in ten years. “His” ex has four college degrees, won’t get a job and recently decided that 15 years of faithful support is just not good enough. We are not the Brady’s. We aren’t the Huxtable’s or the Cleaver’s. We couldn’t be Jon and Kate…we love each other.

Carol Brady never had to bail a kid out of juvie for shoplifting. Her kids never puked in the middle of the night. They certainly never uttered the words “I HATE YOU!” Those kids ate their vegetables, brushed their teeth, went to bed on time and wrote essays that testified to the greatness that was their parents. I am NOT just like Carol Brady, but we did have one thing in common. Enough is enough. Neither one of us was dumb enough to ever have an “ours”.

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About Alex

I am a 41-year-old survivor. A mother of four and stepmother of 5 neither a 13 year failed marriage or a 7-year successful one have taken me out. The children aged 10 to 22 wage their battles on my sanity, but at the last summit, it was decided that I am still winning that war. The world in general (bureaucracy, stupidity, intolerance, greed, lack of manners, bad customer service, and anyone who is just plain mean) threatens my equilibrium but I make a come back every time. I am not particularly strong, determined or religious (although, I do TRY to keep the faith) but I can take a joke especially, it turns out, if it is on me. I am born and bred a Hoosier, but have lived in New Hampshire and Connecticut long enough to find out it was time to come home to Fort Wayne. We may have been voted fattest and dumbest city in America, but our flaws become us and we are content here