I have this friend… let’s call her Sherry (if for no other reason than I think I’m going to need a drink after this post).
Sherry needs some advice, and since you all seem to have plenty of it, I figured I’d allow her to hijack my blog for the day. And just so we’re clear, I’m not complaining. I like your advice. In fact, sometimes I wish I followed it more often. But getting back to Sherry: she’s been dating this guy for the past few months and she really likes him. He’s kind, spontaneous and although most of his pick up lines are totally lame, he cracks her up.
There’s only one complication— two, to be precise—and they’re not actually “complications.” They’re what made Sherry’s new beau into the man he is today (although he doesn’t always admit this) but she’s kind of nervous about meeting them because… well, they’re alive.
In fact, they’re kids.
Little miniature human beings.
Except they’re not actually all that little, which is too bad because Sherry, like me, has a great rapport with the We’ll-do-anything-for-a-sticker age bracket (i.e. preschoolers).
At any rate, Sherry and her beau decided to wait a while before bringing “dad’s new girlfriend” into the mix but then they went out to dinner and there were tears involved (happy tears, mind you) and wine (an entire flight, actually) and they came to the agreement that it’s been “a while.”
As such, she’s going to be meeting the two not-so-miniature human beings for the first time on Friday.
She’s excited but she’s also terrified.
I mean let’s face it: she’s never dated anyone with kids before and her knowledge of dating-someone-with-kids is limited to Mrs. Doubtfire and Stepmom, neither of which provide particularly reassuring examples.
Mrs. Doubtfire: Robin Williams loses custody of his kids and has to resort to cross dressing to see them. Meanwhile, just when Mom’s new boyfriend starts getting along with the kids, Old Dad (Robin Williams) comes back and smacks him in the head with a lime.
Stepmom: Julia Roberts tries her hardest to get her new fiancé’s kids to like her. Then she tries her hardest to keep them from liking her because they’re starting to like her too much. It takes the imminent death of Old Mom (Susan Sarandon) for everyone to finally get their acts together.
Sherry doesn’t want anyone smacking her in the head with a lime. Nor does she want anybody to die, especially as she doubtful of her abilities to pull off the memory quilt thing that saved poor Julia.
Clearly she needs advice.
So hop to it!
12 Responses to “They’re Alive!”
My best advice as a step-mom and a mom who’s ex husband has a girlfriend! Are: respect the kids
Dont force a relationship
Don’t bad mouth their mom, ever no matter how bad she is
Don’t allow herself to be disrespected
And last but most important don’t ever let the kids come between her and her partner
They do grow up and go away
🙂 good Luck
As a step-kid, I’d agree. The two things my step-mom did that made the biggest difference to me were she respected my mom’s place in my life and my step-mom let me decide how much I did or didn’t want my her (my step-mom) involved in my life (and it’s changs back and forth). Admittedly, my step-mom had it easy in some ways (I was a “good kid”, in high school, and my mom died), but I think the principles still apply to younger kids and other types of mom situations. (Ex: Yes, you have to do X because I’m adult and asked you to, just like when (another non-family adult who the child respects) asks. No, we don’t have do Y. I know that’s something special you do with your mom.)
no snuggling with the beau, focus on the kids, but have dad take the lead, be there, be friendly, but not obtrusive, be funny if possible. Don’t force anything and don’t go if you aren’t serious about t he guy. no sense introducing the kids to someone who may disappear soon.
I agree with kbomb, and have one more thing to add, which seems particularly relevant since you read my blog and convey to Sherry what’s happening. That is: careful! It’s really hard when you fall in love with the kids and things don’t work out. Especially if they don’t know the parents are dating.
Yeah, fortunately the kids know in this case, but I remember how hard it was to break up with a boyfriend when I’d fallen in love with his DOG– I can imagine that KIDS make things way more complicated…
Going through it now (obviously). Taking time apart from Ms. D is tough, but the thought of the kids being pulled into this and having no idea why is sucky.
Conversely, I think if they knew, that we wouldn’t have broken things off. She wasn’t ready, and part of that was reflected in her decision to not tell people once we got serious (of course her friends knew, but it wasn’t a public thing).
PS – I think your comments betrayed who Sherry is…
Let the kids set the pace. Understand they will want dad to themselves and let them without jealousy. Have an activity planned. It helps with conversation. Bring a new game if the meeting is at home. Bottom line? They are kids. Respect that don’t compete.
Yeah, I suggested an activity– definitely want to keep things moving!!!
This is all just about you. Here I thought you were having a guest post.
Usually, the harder one chases a person, the faster they run away. Children under twelve or so are small people with longer attention spans, less inhibitions and fewer preconceptions than adults. Teenagers, however, are pretty much unscrupulous, self centered adults. But in either case, as with any person, the best way not to drive them off is to detach from them and always stay a friendly sort of mystery, not too enthusiastic, but greeting them with acceptance and receptivity. The most important things is not to care what they think of you just be your usual lovable self. And good luck to, um, “Sherry.” 🙂
I’m dealing with the exact same dilemma! I broke up with a guy because he had kids (granted, he failed to mention them after an entire month of dating…), but now the guy I’m involved with has two kids. And that doesn’t seem to be making me run for the hills… wtf?
So I’m taking in all of this great advice as well!
Good luck “Sherry” 🙂 I’m interested to hear how it goes!
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