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When I make my favorite smoothie, I toss a banana, peanut butter, almond milk and ice in a blender and press a button to combine. In less than one minute, all of the components — delectable in their own right—blend seamlessly into something better than they were before.

There's no drama. There's no push-and-pull. There's no defection. There's no accusations, tantrums, or name-calling. (My blender is always well-behaved). It's just effortless blending—the complete opposite of what happens when two families unite.

I have made not one—but two—attempts at blending families. Here's a CliffsNotes version: My ex-husband, now deceased, was a widower with a young daughter when I met him. We had a child together and tried to "blend," but got divorced for various reasons.

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Fast forward to my husband now, my forever guy. He has a son, age 11, from a previous relationship, and we have him full-time. I have my son, age 9, full-time and a close relationship with my bonus daughter, age 22, from my former marriage.

Classifying my family as "complicated" is an understatement.

Every day, my husband and I try to mesh two fiercely independent, spirited, self-assured boys together. Both were the crowned princes pre-engagement, with a parent devoted to fulfilling every need, every whim, (almost) every wish. Getting them on the same wavelength often clocks in at an I-want-to-run-away-from-home-right-now level of difficulty. My boys either love or hate each other, depending on the day—and that's without factoring my self-sufficient college grad into the daily mix.

All of my family members are distinct versions of the same personality but with varying backgrounds and backstories …and that always keeps things interesting. No one is shy or reserved. No one backs down. No one is unsure of who they are as a person. For us, blending is not only an unattainable goal but also an undesirable one.

The very definition of blend—"to combine or associate so that the separate constituents or the line of demarcation cannot be distinguished"—is offensive when it comes to individuals tasked with creating one family unit.

Why should anyone have to sacrifice key components of their personality to blend? Why would we want to make our differences indistinguishable? Why are we, as parents and bonus parents, carrying the weight of this expectation on our already weary shoulders? Why do we strive to be #happilyblended?

Regardless of the Instagrammable moments we're bombarded with, of shiny, happy blended families holding hands (the celeb couple of the moment, J. Lo and A-Rod, comes to mind), I know those images represent snippets of time, not everyday reality.

Raising children without all of the modern blended variables is tough. The positioning, the bargaining, the testing, the fighting, the one-upping, the bickering ... it's enough to make moms count down the minutes until bedtime on some days.

While traditional families have their issues, they all parent on solid footing. The mom is the mom, the dad is the dad, and the kids are theirs. No one can throw biological makeup in anyone's face. No one can challenge credentials when they get in trouble. No one can deny they're siblings. These arguments undermine the blended family unit, but they are, in fact, true.

Why do we aspire to blend and mirror traditional families? Our families are different, and that should be celebrated, not stifled.

I have banished the word "blend" in my house and replaced it with "perfectly imperfect parfait," which seems like a reasonable expectation. With this term in place, each person can hold onto his/her unique layer without sacrificing key ingredients of who we are to blend. And stating that we are "perfectly imperfect" from the outset takes the pressure off of us. We are not the Joneses and we don't want to be like the Joneses. It is impossible for us to be the Joneses.

There are both ugly and beautiful moments in my family (and, like J. Lo, the latter are the ones that go on my Instagram; I can't have her abs, but, I can also show the incredible moments I have with my unconventional brood).

There are times, on my hardest days, that I am jealous of traditional families, but my bonus mom crown doesn't remain askew for too long. The sum of my family's individual layers makes one amazing parfait when we get them together. Like traditional families, we laugh, we share, we learn, we nurture, and, most importantly, we love. We just don't blend, and that's okay.

The only blending going on in my house is of the smoothie variety…and I wouldn't want it any other way.

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Our babies come out as beautiful, soft and natural as can be—shouldn't their clothes follow suit?

Here are nine of our favorite organic kids clothing brands that prove safe fabrics + stylish designs are a natural fit.

Estella

A brick and mortar store in Manhattan that opened in 2002, Estella is NYC's go-to shop for luxury baby gifts—from sweet-as-pie organic clothing to eco-friendly toys.

L'ovedbaby

@lovedbaby

We l'oved this collection from the moment we laid eyes on it. (See what we did there 🤣) Free of things harsh added chemicals, dangerous flame retardants, and harmful dyes, this collection is 100% organic and 100% gorgeous. We especially adore their soft, footed rompers, comfy cotton joggers, and newborn-friendly kimono bodysuits.

Looking to stock up? Don't miss Big-Find Thursday every week on their site—a 24-hour flash sale that happens Thursdays at 9 a.m. PST and features a different body style, collection, and discount every week!

Hanna Andersson

@happyhannas

One of our all-time favorite brands for durability, style, + customer service, Hanna Andersson doesn't disappoint in the organic department, either. From an aww-inducing organic baby layette collection all the way to their iconic pajamas, there are so many organic styles to swoon over from this beloved brand. And we swear their pajamas are magic—they seem to grow with your little one, fitting season after season!

Monica + Andy

@monicaandandy

The fabric you first snuggle your baby in matters. Monica + Andy's (gorgeous) collection is designed for moms and babies by moms with babies, and we love it all because it's made of super-soft GOTS-certified organic cotton that's free of chemicals, lead, and phthalates. Newborn pieces feature thoughtful details like fold-over mittens and feet.

Finn + Emma

@finnandemma

"Here boring designs and toxic chemicals are a thing of the past while modern colors, fresh prints and heirloom quality construction are abundant." We couldn't agree more. Made from 100% organic cotton, eco friendly dyes, and in fair trade settings, we love this modern collection's mix of style + sustainability.

We especially love the Basics Collection, an assortment of incredibly soft, beautiful apparel + accessories including bodysuits, zip footies, pants, hats, and bibs, all available in a gender-neutral color palette that can work together to create multiple outfit combinations. The pieces are perfect for monochrome looks or for mixing with prints for a more modern style.

SoftBaby

@littleaddigrey for @softbaby_clothes

You'll come for SoftBaby's organic fabrics, but you'll stay for their adorable assortment of prints. From woodland foxes to urban pugs, there's no limit to their assortment (meaning you'll even be able to find something for the new mama who's hard to shop for). Plus, the name says it all--these suckers are soft. Get ready for some serious cuddle time.

Gap Baby

@gapkids

Organic may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Gap, but this popular brand actually carries a wide variety of organic (and adorable) baby + toddler clothes. From newborn layette basics to toddler sleepwear—and more—there's something for everyone in this collection. Everything is 100% cotton, super soft + cozy, and perfect for eco-conscious mamas.

Winter Water Factory

@winterwaterfactory

Certified organic cotton with Brooklyn-based swagger? Be still our hearts. Winter Water Factory features screen-printed textiles in bold designs you'll want to show off (get ready for some major Instagram likes). And the husband-and-wife co-founders keep sustainability at the forefront of their brand, meaning you can feel good about your purchase--and what you're putting on your baby.

The company makes everything from kids' clothes to crib sheets (all made in the USA). For even more cuteness, pair their signature rompers with a hat or bonnet.

Under the Nile

@underthenile

Under the Nile has been making organic baby clothes since before it was cool. Seriously, they were the first baby clothing company in the USA to be certified by The Global Organic Textile Standard. They've kept up that legacy of high standards by growing their Egyptian cotton on a biodynamic farm without the use of pesticides or insecticides, and all of their prints are made with metal-free colors and no chemical finishes.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Whether I live next to you or across the country, social media makes it easy for us to stay updated on each other's lives and that's a wonderful thing. I love seeing pictures of your kids and I think it's great that you choose to share videos of your child singing, giggling and taking his or her first steps.

I simply choose not to share pregnant pictures, or even a family photo from the hospital once our daughter arrived because my pregnancy, birth and growing family are parts of my life I wanted to protect from the outside world.

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