Ok, so here’s the reply to a few questions from Ms. Single Mama a single mom whose blog I just love! It’s my new discovery, but I’m sure I’ll be going back there often.
So going from the transition of single mom, to having a husband again is…well, an adjustment. I wanted this so badly. Some other time, I’ll have to tell the story of my husband and I on here. I didn’t save it from my old blog. (Bad Shannon, no more deleting blogs!). But after two years of realizing that he was the one for me and missing him oh-so-much (albeit glorified because he was with someone else during that time and you know that whole thing about hindsight), I was willing to do things I’d said before I would never, never, no never, do again. I wanted marriage, I wanted one house, I wanted a family. Yikes. Now, where did Shannon go? Actually, that’s what he said. But he was very happy, since that’s the girl he’d wanted all along. So, fast forward to us living together for about 6 months before we got married. Yay fun times! Slumber parties, whoa we are busy, his son starts kindergarten, B’s activities begin to pick up, planning our Hawaiian vacation, the holidays, high speed all the way. Then, we’re in Hawaii in January, recently engaged and what do you know, we plan a wedding while we are there and get married with our two kids in tow, rejoicing all the way! La-de-da. Now we are back home and it’s daily routines and regular living. Which I’m good at, really I am! But I think I’m used to doing everything on my own and wowee do boys generate way more dirt! 🙂 They’re kinda messy folk. The laundry quadrupled instead of doubling, now I have to cook a legitimate meal and you know what, my husband seems kind of different now that he’s my husband. I think this is what we do. We are so used to doing it all on our own and we do it so well, that when other people come in, we do not want to relinquish control. Of anything. I think I struggle with that a great deal. And do we EVER have different parenting styles. I’m more strict and definitely in control. He thinks he doesn’t want to be “that kind of dad”, so is a bit lax (I’m being kind). Raising another womans child is really tough. Part of me feels bad for her. Part of me is angry at her for not doing her job right (she wants to by the way, she wishes she could have him back) and part of me thinks I may have been nuts to jump into all this. It’s an ongoing transition and I will definitely post and sometimes gripe about this on a regular basis. Little things are hard to get used to. I miss sleeping with my girl so I make a point to go somewhere with her once a month where we can sleep together and cuddle our hearts out. I still do lay with her in bed awhile at night and lay with her to wake her up. But STILL. I miss my baby.
Hmmm. As for how much a partner really helps. Well, he mows the lawn and does the outside stuff that my Dad used to help with, or various male friends or neighbors. But I’m pretty self sufficient. I do have more free time. If I ASK, he will bring out the garbage or the recyclables or take my car for a wash. He would even do laundry, although not really how it should be done. So it helps. Some. But I never hated doing that stuff anyway. It’s nice to have the financial relieft for sure! I’ve always had a good job but now we are taking vacations and doing bigger things and in a bigger house. That’s nice. Especially for the peace of mind we single moms didn’t often get in regards to financial things. That’s probably the biggest positive change. That and the back and foot rubs.
Ok, so although this is a brief answer to something I could talk for days about, there is one more question she mentioned. I do not feel that his son is one of my own. No, no, no. I think he feels more that B is like one of his own, but that is a personality thing. His son is a different kind of person, not easy to care for at all and has some very special needs and issues, so maybe that’s it. Maybe not. He loved my daughter when he first met her around 5 years ago and that completely freaked me out. Not sure why, everyone loves her. It shouldn’t have surprised me. She’s bubbly and happy almost all the time and just a radiant little firecracker with a douse of mischief in her sparkle. But I did not want to share her. Actually I still don’t. But she likes it. She thrives off it. And the odd part is, I became very close with another single mom that my ex-husband dated (our daughters became very close and we decided that they should remain friends) and she said she loved my daughter from the beginning too. I love her girls very much. Actually, my nephew is someone I loved from the moment he was delivered. I felt heartwrenching love for him. So it’s not that I don’t have that ability with other kids. I’ve heard stepmoms may feel jealous so ok, maybe that? But I do think he needs a bit more corrective parenting and I gently guide him. I NEVER yell, would NEVER NEVER NEVER spank or physically punish him and I look out for his well-being all the time. If I have any issues with him, I talk to his Dad privately and let him address it. If I’m home alone with him and he does something that needs correcting, I do that as I would if I was babysitting. I don’t let him misbehave, but I’m certainly not playing the evil stepmom either. My guideline is I do what I would want my husband to do if the roles were reversed. I don’t expect that anyone will love B the way I do-there is research proving that the chemicals involved in the mother/child bond run deep and pervade. And everything I have encountered says you can’t expect to love someone right away…and that you may never feel that-after all, you fell in love with the parent. Sometimes people are really lucky, and love the child right from the start. But I won’t lie. It’s a hairy situation. You are expected to live with and raise someone else’s child and treat it equal to your own. But you don’t have the real authority to discipline or make core decisions in most instances. Let’s be honest. With someone who has been a single mom, that won’t really happen. Our tie is a blood tie. That child is our everything. No man can replace that. Now I am sure there are some single dads who have this dynamic. In my own experience, those aren’t the guys I’ve run into it-so it seems it may work differently for men. We all love very differently. When my daughter is away from me, even at school I miss her. I ache for her on the weekends she goes to her Dads. I’ve not yet met the father who has that going on. And my husband fought for full custody of his son to keep him safe. I think thats the difference. Responsibility plays hard in the male psyche. I get a different husband when his son goes to visit his mom. He’s more relaxed and less stressed. So. If I could give advice, probably it’s easier to have one of the two people getting married to NOT have full custody. Then you have the occasional reprieve. This may sound harsh and it’s probably not as clear as I want it to be, but it’s the best I could do while still getting work done. And, I’m sure there are exceptions. I can only offer my experience. In addition, I’m pretty laid back. If you aren’t…then this situation I’m in is definitely not a wise choice. You kind of have to just roll with it. I know my child inside and out…and this other child is a very different animal.