I make no secret that I’ve been single for over three years, but to be fair I think the definition of ‘single’ is subjective. I’ve dated. I’ve brought men ‘home’. But the idea of introducing someone to my kids as my ‘boyfriend’ has caused panic attacks, night sweats, and the occasional trip to the liquor store for another bottle of wine.
My kids are the center of my universe. I’d throw down to anyone that threatened just a toenail on their bodies. Bringing a man into their lives isn’t something to take lightly, and despite dating several men in the past that probably fit the bill, introducing them as someone who could potentially be in their lives long-term hasn’t struck me yet.
And let me tell you…the panic attacks, night sweats, and occasional trip to the liquor store for another bottle of wine hasn’t stopped. And they’ve met him already. I think that until I am 100% confident he isn’t (and I’m not) going anywhere…I’ll feel this way.
Single moms have it rough for many reasons, but I can honestly say that one of the biggest challenges I have had is accepting that I am worthy of a secure, loving, and long-term relationship. And that’s not an easy thing to admit. But don’t get me wrong: It’s not built from insecurities (of which I have many) or the need to protect my children at all costs (which I do) but it comes from the deep-rooted belief that no man can complete me and my family; I’ve already done it all. And for a very long time.
But now that I’ve gotten the introductions out-of-the-way, and welcomed a wonderful, strong, caring, loving man into my home and my children’s lives, I have some advice for other single mom’s out there who are faced with the same dilemma as I have. Take note, my experience wasn’t perfect:
Try not to make the first experience in the trauma ward at the hospital. True story. After a near-death experience with my little man who we now know is allergic to wasps, my boyfriend drove over an hour in the middle of the night to sit by our side while Ryder came out of anaphylactic shock. Slightly awkward, but showed what an amazing guy he is.
Remember to close the bedroom door. When the toilet flushes during sex, you know you’ve been caught. For me, realizing the bedroom door was also open was about the last thing I had expected, or wanted. My thirteen year old hasn’t mentioned a thing, but I think she’s suspicious.
Don’t ask him to drive your ex-husband home. I did. And he did it. And it actually wasn’t awful. Are you shaking your head at me yet? Fortunately I am blessed to have a unique relationship with my ex-husband, and despite him shaking a fist while muttering “keep your hands off my wife,” no one got hurt. In fact, I think they bonded over their love to tease the shit out of me.
When you’re introducing him for the first time, don’t ground your teenager for the rest of her life. I’m a strict mom. When Sadie neglects her chores, she loses a privilege. I don’t make any excuses for this, because I truly believe that I am raising one amazing, responsible, future-leader. HOWEVER, probably not in my best interest to sound like Hitler when she’s trying to shake my boyfriends hand. I’m German, the third Reich is no laughing matter.
Don’t drink. Guess who drinks when she’s nervous? This lady. When bringing your boyfriend home for a nice family dinner, don’t buy the boxed wine and drink half of it in the parking stall. I get it, it’s hard not to. Calming those nerves is sort of important, but there’s a fine line between calm and irrational. I found it. Trying not to slur “Hhhhheeeeeey kids…. he’s the one…!” after a litre and half of Shiraz isn’t easy. Perfect, Mom.
Bringing home a man to introduce to your kids is probably one of the hardest things a single mom can do. Do we deserve it? Hell yes, we do. Do we think we do? Hell no, we don’t. And why don’t we? Because we don’t want our children to think that we are trying to replace their fathers.
But guess what? Our kids are happy when we are happy, and when we show them that someone else can bring light and sunshine into our lives too, most kids will be just as accepting as mine were. I am sure there will be challenges ahead, but when I see my non-verbal autistic son’s eyes light up every time he walks in the room, that, THAT, makes us all happy.
How do I know? Because it just happened. And right now, I am basking in the wonder of it all. And so are my kids.