Dating and Parenting. Or, Motherguilt at its finest.

I’m not going to do another gushy post about how awesome Boyfriend is – yet. I’m going to talk about the concept of dating a generic, hypothetical awesometallfunnycaring man.

 

For almost 4 years, its been just me and Lovechild hanging out here in this lovely little house we live in. For the first year (and a half?) of that I was  mildly dysfunctional, so we just got by. But now, I love living here, I love LOVE single parenting – the pros so far outweigh the cons. The kid is why I do everything I do, literally, I have her in mind when making most of my choices. Enter stage left Man. Man is dashing, cheeky, handsome. Imperfect. Tall. Funny, oh the funny. Ever so slighty irresistable, and such fun. Now, before we get distracted by Man’s high level of awesome, think back to the previous statement about my decision making. Applying the “WWLD” (what would Lovechild demand) policy to this situation, I would send Man packing, before he even arrived. What if he breaks our hearts? What if he takes drugs? What if he is a puppy kicker? What if he’s the worst kind of man to have around your children. Nope. Way to much of a risk. Never mind me getting hurt, what about Lovechild? Setting us up for all sort of disasters. Let me just find the number for that local convent, maybe L and I can join together and get mates rates.

 

I’d give up my happiness for hers, in a heartbeat. Any mother would. But I don’t particularly want to. I can justify it by saying that my happiness makes me a better parent. But to be honest, I’m just having a great time getting to know Man, getting to know myself, and exploring the whole dating concept. Having a blast. Can I tell you though, its scary. Crazy scary. More scary than the actual dating, is the knowing whether I’m doing the right thing by the kid. Is it fair to have him over to our house? Its her special place as much as it is mine. Its our little haven, especially now that we are keeping it nice and clean. When she’s not here and I have him over, it is an invasion of her privacy? An intrusion? And when she is here, and he is over, does that make me a terrible person? Besides the obvious threat of a man with a small child, am I setting her up for having her heart broken? She falls for people very easily, yet a new relationship with Man is far from set in concrete. What if he’s gone in a month and she is utterly devastated? Where do I draw the line? She’s a small child, she loves easily, she is affectionate, and she has no inhibitions. Little girls shouldn’t NEED inhibitions. Yet when she runs around tickling and pinching Man, I find myself having to intervene. Am I going to damage her by intervening? Make her lose that openhearted trust that makes her part of who she is? Oh dear, I fear I’m rambling and should go back and edit, but this is a bit cathartic.

 

Its not just a fine line between building trust and leaving her vulnerable. Its 15 fine lines, all intersecting and crisscrossing. There is no “good parenting vs bad parenting.” Or maybe there is, and I’ve missed the memo? If someone could forward that on to me, I’d be eternally grateful. There’s also no manual for how to be the non-parent in this situation. Its full on for Man, I imagine. Lovechild is with me 9 nights out of 14, and 4 of the 5 nights she’s with her Dad, I’m working nightshift. In order to keep family life and lovelife separate for a few months, I’d see him once a fortnight. Pretty sure that’s a bit impossible, and it certainly isn’t the way I want to do a relationship. Christ, this is hard. So, so hard. As the title says, Motherguilt at its most prominent.

 

Sorry for the verbal diarrhoea. LJ xx

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MM
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 14:17:09

    Sadly, regarding teaching Lovechild to manage her impulses is going to have to happen, whether in relation to Man or not. She’s going to have male teachers, friends dads, and the adults of small strangers she meets at the park. Man may even have a beneficial side as a well supervised practice shot.

    On the subject of beneficial Man, you’ve devoted your post to your fears of the possible negatives of a relationship. With any relationship, between peers, or those with different levels of power like the friendship between bigs and littles, there are so many risks to be aware of, but at the same time there is so much to be won in a positive friendship. All of us benefit from a wide circle of human contact, different types of friendship, different views and experiences available to us and aquiring role models. Not only does her contact with Man allow Lovechild to make a new friend, thoroughly vetted and supervised by you, but she also gets another opportunity to view how functional, respectful adult relationships appear, preparing her own expectations of what she will demand and deserve when making her own independant relationships.

    With care and caution, it all sounds win win to me.

    Reply

  2. rebothy
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 15:08:27

    Thank you MM for your well thought out response. ❤

    Reply

  3. MG
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 17:39:19

    I was looking for the like button!

    Reply

  4. Selina
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 18:16:09

    Ditto MM. But I will also add that kids need to see us make mistakes. They need to see us admit to the mistakes and say what went wrong and what we regret and what we are glad to have learned.
    Even if (and this is a big if, mind you) even if man isn’t the guy forever. Right now Man is helping you to be happy. He is helping you explore the new you. He is opening Lovechild up to new people in your lives. People who come and when it’s the right time, they go too.
    Being happy, within yourself is never, ever a bad thing. And it’s not a bad thing to teach your lovely daughter either.

    Reply

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