Parent24 chats to Pixelslave10
The dynamic of a blended family has taught this mom that it all can be both heart-wrenching and rewarding.

Real parents have been chatting to Parent24 about their experiences, which range from side-splittingly funny to deeply moving. Why not find out more about these moms and dads, who are, very often, just like you.

Who is Pixelslave10?

Trace, @pixelslave10 is mom to #Noodle (Jemma) who is 9 and "almost" step-mom to #Mr.V (Vaughn) who is 4. She shares her life with Luke, @PluckyLuke and works from home as a graphic designer, in an attempt to actually see her kidlets grow up in the flesh and not through Facebook photos, the verdict on which, is still out.

What have you enjoyed most about being a parent so far?

Being a biological parent is a feeling like no other. Being able to create another human is mind boggling. That said, I was not a natural parent. The skills I have didn't happen up front, it's been a process, a learning curve of monumental proportions. I have the best teacher in the world though. My Noodle. The learning, it's been the best part, because I know as we both grow and change, the learning will too, holding us together on an ever changing, bottomlessly exciting roller-coaster ride.

Recently I have had the privilege of being able to nudge a tiny space for myself in the heart of an incredible little man. Biological bonds come so much easier than non-biological. That said, I have had nothing but love for this gorgeous boy from the first pic Luke ever sent me of him. Building a bond will be part of our roller-coaster ride together. Again, the learning is very precious to me. Learning to deeply respect the dynamic of a blended family has been eye opening, heart wrenching and very rewarding. Sometimes all in under an hour.

Are there any challenges you've found which have been particularly tough?

I'm emotionally distant. Well, I was. I found it very hard to connect with someone who couldn't convey their feelings to me over a boardroom table. I was very career orientated when I had Noodle. And she came into this world with a Mommy who was terrified to hold her, (I had massive insecurities about parenting) let alone chat freely to her without a expecting an educated response. Allowing myself to feel, experience and just let go was next to impossible. Her dad and I were not on great terms and I felt that all my efforts were in vain, trying to connect with someone who (I thought stupidly at the time) could not validate my efforts was a mountain I really struggled to climb. My mom was the quintessential "Mommy", baked, crafted, was always there, willing, dynamic, ever ready with kisses and kindness. I was a cold, sharp tongued advertising drone. No Mommy in me at all. What I didn't realize was that, that was ok. It was just a role. Which at any point I could drop, not truly who I was. Noodle has shown me that who you are at ground level, the person that leaps forward when your baby needs you for the first time, is the true you.

What would you do over, if you had the chance?

I would have had Noodle later in life. I would definitely wait until I had found my groove and myself a bit more. I had so many insecurities and doubts that it literally stood in the way of my ability to bond with her at first. To be honest, had I been older, I would have made better choices regarding relationships and possibly not have put her through a divorce either.

Any tips you have for new parents, based on your own experiences?

Not quite on point here, but it's very important to realize that we all have masks, most people will never truly be without one, especially when performing for our mate. To know how your partner will be as a parent is very difficult to judge when we façade the way we do. Having a discrepancy in parenting styles can make or break a marriage and a family. This applies to men and woman. Make certain that the lady you love will love your babies the way you do and ladies, will he be a passionate team player when it comes to all the intricacies of raising little people? Crunch time is the wrong time to notice these things, and seem to be the reason so many of us divorce.

If laughter is all that's keeping you sane, what makes you smile?

Knowing that we are a work in progress, and that with love, we can make anything happen.

How do you think your kids would describe you?

Shew, tough one. Noodle regularly says "you're pretty cool for a mom" (she also told me "I love you even though you are fat", when she was 3) *gasp*. Mr V said the other day, "you are quite Naace you know, can I love you also?". I die for moments like that. I think under hectic questioning, they would both say I'm pretty goofy, but I have rules. And fun or not, they stick.

What characterises a "good parent", and would you call yourself one?

For me, a good parent tries to love. Always, without question, without expectation and with all their heart and soul. It's the only way I have kept my bond with Noodle water tight over 600km. And how Luke and I have been able to build a good level of trust and acceptance for me with Mr V and he with Noodle. Kids need love. That's all we have to give, the rest, doesn't really matter.

Do you feel you have enough support?

I do now, yes. I have always had the unfailing love and support of my Mom, and my Dad when he was alive. Noodle's dad and I have had to learn to work as an effective team to best benefit her, but it is many years of trying hard, that has a post-divorce situation working well. More recently I can say a resounding YES!! The man I am to marry is everything I could ever ask for in a partner. Ever ready and full of passion for our babies. I'm proud of our "family". It is by no means a genetic bond that holds us all. It is a network of people we love, openly and honestly and who we want to be a part of our growing children's lives. We work and play as a group to ensure that our kids are raised with love, tolerance, respect and understanding.

Your craziest parenting moment? Why not share it with us?

There are so many moments that are just plain crazy. Being a parent means checking your embarrassment valve in at the door and tossing pride to the wind.

I wrote this a few years after she was born. It's an excerpt from a book I began writing, but never completed. Parts of it are on my blog. Which sadly I have neglected.

My first memory of Noodle was when I heard Frank say ‘open your eyes baby.’

I did. There was a set of very suspicious, knowing eyes peering at me from my own chest. She still gives me that suspicious look. Like she’s on to me, as if she knows I have no idea what I’m doing and it’s only a matter of time before she’ll have to show me how. The second memory of that day was lying in a hot bath that the midwife had run and being aware of people chatting. Sue (the midwife) was with me. We listened.

‘And this is the kitchen, this is where we rule our kingdom from…’ Frank’s voice trailed as my knackered mind grasped the horror. It was their kingdom and I was merely a subject in this castle. I’d be lucky if I cracked the nod to attend any of the royal engagements. My reign as Frank’s queen had been usurped by a teeny tiny princess with the most innocent agenda. Being loved by her daddy. There would be no breaking through this glass, not even with a battering ram. 

I cried. For the first time ever there was nowhere to run, moving house couldn’t help me now. The walls were inching closer.

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