Introducing Him to the Kids
I know it’s been a while since I’ve offered up a around of single mom dating tips, but here is a fresh batch. The subject? Introducing or not introducing men to your children.
First, a few real-life single mom dating experiences. In both cases, each single mom did what she felt was right at the time. We can’t hold them responsible or judge them for their actions. We are all learning as we go… dating as a single mom is by far the hardest and most misunderstood experience mothers can have. But we can learn from each other.
Single Mom Dating Scenario 1
She bides her time, listens to her ultra-protectionist mama gut and waits 9 months to introduce the man she’s dating to her toddler. She introduces him only after she’s certain they’ll be together forever and have fallen completely and totally in love. Did her patience pay off?
At first, yes. Everything is going so well that they all move in together three months after the introductions. Four weeks later her boyfriend, likely caving under the stress of what I’ll call Sudden Toddler Exposure, jets. He leaves. Completely and totally leaves and she hasn’t heard from him since.
Single Mom Dating Scenario 2
She doesn’t wait. Knowing instantly that he is the one. She brings the man into their lives, introduces him to her 6-year-old and then – because he lives out of town – allows him to practically (but not really) move in.
Things are going very well, they’re both living in the La La Land of Love and then – boom – something doesn’t feel right. They are fighting constantly (the child is seeing the fights) and it all ends a few weeks later in a nasty break-up.
To avoid the above Single Mom Dating Scenarios…
1. If you are seriously interested in a man it is completely fine to introduce him to the kids.
Guess what? Your kids are – like 50% of their friends – from a two parent household, or a one parent household. But still, this is a new day and age. Being tied up or hung up on putting your kid in a therapy chair could cause them more harm than good.
And besides, do you really know a man if you can’t gauge his behavior and interaction with your children. This is something us moms can read in just a few hours at the park or ice cream parlor. No need for moving him in or inviting him over for dinner every night. Just slowly introduce them. One outing a week to ease them in and then slowly increase exposure.
Do not move too fast. At all. Take your time.
John and I have been dating for 10 months but even when he does come over – it’s just before Benjamin’s bed time and when Benjamin wakes up in the morning – he’s gone, having woken up between 5:00am – 6:00am to get out of the house. This is something John does on his own. He never complains or whines. He just does it. I can tell you, it’s very helpful to be with a man who puts Benjamin first – always. Helps to keep me in line as well, because I’m definitely not as strong as I seem.
2. Ease him into father-like responsibilities.
I learned this the hard way with Kris. But, to my advantage, now remember that lesson every day with John. If you are dating a single dad I’m sure it’s a different story, but with a childless guy you have to keep your boundaries. Even 10 months in. John is incredibly helpful but he has yet to experience the real routine of my single mom life, every day, all day, over and over again from breakfast to dinner.
Why? Why not expose him to that? Because 1) it’s not his responsibility 2) we need this time to grow our relationship and build a foundation 3) it’s too much pressure to throw someone immediately into fatherhood, remember we had nine months to get used to the idea + the age of our child/children. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ve surely caught on and played witness to my slip ups on this and then re-centering. But, all in all, I think we are moving at just the right pace for all of us.
3. Escape from the kids (whenever humanly possible).
John and I have every other weekend alone. Usually I hide away in his apartment and lounge on his couch, eating fudge pops and watching TV. We do leave to go out with friends, dinner or for a quick shopping trip. But it’s so nice to just do next to nothing and enjoy each other. The routine sets me back on house cleaning and I play catch up all week, but it’s worth every minute. I want to give him that… just me, sans Benjamin.
This weekend we’re taking off for Ann Arbor to visit my great uncle and my great aunt. My great uncle’s sister, my grandmother was also a single mom. But in the 1950′s. Can you imagine? She raised four boys with the help of her World War 1 widowed mother and never re-married.
Although, the story goes – that she used to go ball room dancing every weekend…
4. Don’t forget about YOU.
This is the hardest one for me. Between my quickly growing search engine optimization and social marketing firm, my son and my boyfriend there is little time for me to just be. So I force myself to go for walks at lunch. I say no “a lot.” And I LOVE my work, so that helps. Being at work, working on what I love counts as being good to myself (on most days). Right?
The point is that you have to manage your stress. Good luck with that one (I know it’s the hardest).
>>> Read all of my past Single Mom Dating Tips posts for more.
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