For a lot of parents, the idea of becoming a step-parent would be out of the question. But for many others, when the love for a partner and their kids is so great, you don’t question your love—you solidify it.

My journey as a step-parent probably sounds the same as many others. Step-parents are widely portrayed as evil, self-serving people who have an agenda of pain and fear (thanks, Disney). A step-parent oftentimes becomes a scape-goat for issues and problems, when in reality, a lot of the personal or emotional problems probably existed prior to or after the bio-parents divorced or separated.

Someone once called me a saint for marrying a man with three kids and taking on the role of caretaker. In reality, I’m getting just as much, if not more than I’m giving. I have been given a gift of having a beautiful family, and the opportunity to learn from and teach my kids mutually.

But before you decide if marrying someone with kids is in their or your best interest, maybe you should ask yourself some of the following questions. Marrying into a blended family does have it’s challenges, and in my experience, it’s worth it. But it might not be for everyone.

1. Do I love these children as if they were my own?

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2. Do I have the capacity to care for these children as if they were my own?

3. Do I know that despite loving these children, they will always put their biological mom or dad first, even if that means being loyal to their mom or dad by bad-mouthing me?

4. Do I know that I don’t know all that happened before I was in the picture, and I will never know the whole story?

5. Am I willing to learn integrate new changes, while respecting there were “other” ways of doing things before I got into the picture?

6. Do I know that in their mom’s eyes, I will (likely) always be a source of contention?

7. Do I vow to put my family first?

8. Do I vow to love myself, even when criticized?

9. Will my spouse work alongside me in parenting the children?

10. Do I believe I can add value and purpose to these kids and my partner, as well as myself?

11. Do I accept that my beloved husband or wife must maintain a healthy relationship (or try to) with his ex-spouse?

If I had the choice, I wouldn’t trade my family for anything in the world. Blended families are extremely hard, but I’m not sure raising a “non-blended” family is all that much easier. People are people and that means we are all different and we must all have patience and desire to work together.

This post originally appeared on MomsCandidConversations.ca.