Thursday, February 17, 2011

Marrying a Man With a Child

Today I have a lot on deck.  Not only is this our weekend to have Wes' son, Little Bit, we will also be hosting his parents.  That means that in addition to my regular round of kinda-sorta kid-proofing we also--well, mostly me--need to really clean up this joint.  I also wanted to take a moment and write a little bit about this whole blended family to be thing.

Wes and the Little Bit at Watson Mill Bridge State Park-photo by Moi
Wes and I are getting married and part of that getting married bit means that I will soon be a full on wicked stepmother.  Sobering.  To say the least.  But, I feel oddly prepared and strangely qualified to be heading down the blended family, step parenting path.

I can't say the same for a few of my female friends.  They have very strict policies against dating men with children.  And. . . I get it.  I really do.  As I discussed with Wes fairly early on in our relationship, a man who has a child from a previous relationship, no matter his income or disposition, is generally met with hesitation.  Why?  Well, potential partners, if they are at all worth pursuing, will pause to consider the child.  Would I be good for this kid?  Would he like me?  If this goes somewhere am I ready to be that involved in a child's life?  Am I ready to be a parent?  Can I do this?  There are a lot of questions right off the bat and children change elemental things.

There is the attention factor to consider as well.  You know those early days of a relationship where both parties are completely focused on each other?  When there are children in the mix, they take priority.  Some people aren't comfortable with that and it can be difficult when you need your partner's attention or support and he or she is unable to give it.  It can be stressful for all parties.

And. . . well, I'll say it.  Children are not actually delivered by the stork so there is another individual all up in your daily mix and however awesome he or she might be . . .  from time to time you might find yourself with a sharp pain in the ass.  How do you deal with that?  How do you protect your position as girlfriend, fiance, or wife or whatever?  Do you even have the right to do that?

It boggles the mind.

All of these things have to be considered and dealt with when one is marrying a man with a child. 

As a former stepkid myself and possessor of a blended family I have decided ideas about how best to go about this.  Love helps.  I love Wes and I love his son.  What is important about that is that I love Little Bit for himself, not as just an extension of Wes.  Love lets me accept six hours on the road on Christmas Day because it's important that Little Bit get to celebrate with both sides of his family.  Love keeps my mouth shut when I really, really, reallllllly would like to SAY A COLLECTION OF THINGS about that post I saw on facebook . . . .etc., etc.

My philosopy is simple.  We are all your family.  I hold on to that when things get hard.

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