I read a great post by The Secret Divorcee (has taken me about an hour to figure out how to post a link to look like this. New blogger!) yesterday about when and how to introduce a new boyfriend to children.
I was on the other side of this and, as a woman, seem to be in a minority as a childfree woman getting involved with a parent.
The Secret Divorcee, was balancing protecting her children with getting on out there (she writes much more eloquently than my blunt synopsis) with feelings of guilt at ‘selfishness’ (she’s really not). Husband has never talked about any of these feelings and concerns that he may have had when we were in the early stages of our relationship.
When we were setting up our first date (a two day avalanche of text messages that left me with a £120 phone bill) he had mentioned about having Whirling Dervish on that day, but is wasn’t until the morning of our lunchtime date that I was absolutely clear he was going to be bringing her along.
Very strange, right?
Plans were swiftly remade (by me) from a pub lunch to a walk around a local farm park before chips and coke at the pub. I even stopped on my way to buy some children’s’ tv affiliated magazine with crayons on the front.
I WAS TERRIFIED! I was fairly nervous at my first proper date, erm, ever as it was, but with the added pressure/ terror of a 2 1/2 year old accompanying us. I had no idea if she was a brat, if she was his ‘precious on pedestal princess’ if she could walk or talk (my knowledge of child development is much better now than it was five years ago).
General consensus from the one person I asked was that yes, it was weird that someone brings their child on a first date.
But it was done, they turned up, I had butterflies, he was charming and funny and handsome and she was a curious chattering un-shy two year old, babbling in part sentences about the pigs and the cows and the chickens.
And I’m actually ever so glad he did it. I probably didn’t see an awful lot of Whirling Dervish after that for a while, maybe once a month I’d join them out on one of their days together (it took a lot longer to meet his parents). I was just this person who came along sometimes. ‘Mind the Step in her Red Motor Car’ was my name. Now-Husband held my hand in front of her. Sometimes she walked between us and we both held her hand (cue hyperventilation on my part).
It all worked out great. In a parallel universe, who knows? But it worked for us, for her. It was matter-of-fact from day one. It was me who had the many freak-outs and wanting to bolt moments, right up until now-Husband proposed.
So, if the person you introduce your child to, not necessarily from day one, is at least partially human, upfront and openness to all concerned can only be a good thing. You and your children are a package, they are not baggage.
And ooh look, I can add a picture, of cows (lined up a bit wonky), so there you go! Moo!