I was talking about relationships, mine if we need specifics, to someone recently. It was all very positive until they made a passing comment on the fact I have kids.
“He’s very brave taking on someone with 3 kids” was the exact sentence which stuck.
At that moment my dear, funny, loving boyfriend swapped his Abercrombie t-shirt for medieval armour. No longer my equal. He was now someone who’d come in and gallantly saved me and my children from a lifetime of shelf sitting.
A gesture, apparently, not many other men would be BRAVE enough to do.
I beg to differ though, I don’t think it’s brave to date a woman with kids. Does the same go for dating a man with kids I wonder? Hell, maybe I’m the brave one for letting someone into our life.
I’m 42 and getting a second shot at finding ‘the one.’ At no point would I worry if that ‘one’ had children or not. Most of us post thirty have got a good bank of experience behind us by now. Whetheits’s kids, pets, marriages, good times and bad.
It’s what makes people more interesting.
When you find someone who you connect with, you start again. Line drawn, forward marching on to a new life built on all those past experiences which made you – you.
What really gets my goat though, is when you’re divorced with kids, it opens you up to judgement; the way you dress, how often you go out, where you go on holiday, how you parent, how much you drink.
Everything is opened up for discussion.
And there’s this idea of your children, the very ones which people pitied when you separate (it’s such a shame for the kids) are now labelled as baggage.
I’m pretty thick skinned, I have to be. I live in a village where going under the radar while you navigate the choppy waters of relationships is nigh on impossible. You have to learn to keep your own counsel.
I was prepared for the comments and discussion around starting a new relationship. But what I’m never going to be prepared for is having to defend my children.
I’m not a naive, inexperienced twenty-year-old living with my parents.
I’m a 42-year-old, financially independent, home owing mum of 3.
See the difference?
My life, my kids are not baggage. They’re me, an added bonus. They make life more interesting, challenge you and as a couple and make the times you have on your own even more special.
My situation is a little different to many single parents as I don’t have any child-free time. So I accept that may make starting out in a relationship a little trickier.
But you know what?
I found a man who likes a challenge, who’s optimistic and adaptable. Who fell in love with me and everything I bring to the table. Nt someone who’s made me feel guilty for bringing a few invited guests to the party. For having baggage.
That’s the kind of person who dates a person with kids. And that’s the kind of person who is lucky, not brave, to be around my kids.