Hey folks, it's me again, his Dudeness.
It'd came up more than a few times that folks were interested in another round of "wisdom", such as it is, from The Dude and while it's taken awhile, really... who I am I to deny the public at large?
There's been some suggestions, a few good ones too, but I thought, man, wouldn't it be cool if I fired off some things I've learned by trial and error for folks to key on in their own domestic situations?
After some thought, I bring you:
You're NOT my DAD...and other directions in the minefield of dating a single mother.
Fellas, pay attention to this first bit, because it's important to remember when you begin your courtship of your particular single mother of choice. Like it or not, you are the outsider. Stop... read that again, let it sink in, because letting that particular factoid sink in will save you from some hurt feelings. This one I figured out by watching friends of mine, so I personally have avoided the bruised ego that will follow if you're not aware by now that it takes time to be accepted as an insider by the young ones.
Now that you've absorbed that bombshell lets talk about a few things. Being the new man in Mom's life takes some adjusting to. Some things I've done pretty good at, some took time and others I'm still working on... and NO, I will not be sharing which ones. (If I remember!)
System shock will happen in some areas. Let's just get it out there, Intimacy, once on a whenever you want some schedule, just found itself on a "after the kids are asleep" schedule. You're also going to have to understand in a quickness that the crazed howling at the moon kind of intimacy, well... maybe when the kids are in school, if you're lucky! (Yes! You now need a parents permission to read this blog!) Be prepared to learn how to keep an ear open for child originating noises while doing whatever it is that you're gonna do. Now I know some dudes are like "Pshh, I do what I want..." Really? Do you want to be responsible for that kind of permanent mental scarring? DO YOU?
All funnies aside, guys, you're going to be walking a minefield. Take this for instance: You have a fine line to walk between, not necessarily best pals, but a friend and an authority figure, unless of course two children throttling each other into unconsciousness whilst producing glass splintering screams is more your speed. However, most guys aren't going to sit by and watch a co-pay produce itself. Since everybody is different, it's going to take trial and error to define how far each way you can go, but I'm telling you that it's important to define those roles, as a priority, because the longer you take the more you risk your moments as an authority figure being taken as unimportant or even as a joke. I'm not saying you want to install a police state whenever you come over... just know that there are times that you'll be the nearest or only adult and must control those situations. (Ain't no playstation game for that, ya'll!)
You're going to find that you're wanted and even expected to start attending the kiddo related functions. Really, planned on that Dr. Dre recites Dr. Suess concert? New paradigm, you, minus the Dr's. plus a 8 am Saturday morning basketball game or music program. If you're planning on making Mom a serious part of your life, it can't just be her you're interested in, Mom's a package deal and you'll need to redefine your priorities in order to work the kiddo's interests into your time.
Handing out punishments can be a challenge because "You're NOT MY DAD!"
You'll just have to figure out how to make that work anyways, all parents do things differently and your Mom of choice is no exception... what you grew up with or think is normal, she just might find abhorrent. Fellas, sit down with your Mom of Choice and ask her what her normal punishments are, what she's comfortable with you dishing out when the situation arises. There are the inevitable stubborn children who are going to push the envelope with you to see what they can get away with. Once you have your Mom of Choice's preferences, stick with them. Once the kiddo's see the united front, you might not always see the best behavior, but they'll know that you're not going to let them get away with things that they shouldn't be doing.
Finally, realize that these kids are not necessarily used to sharing their Mom's time with anyone other than the potential siblings. That they give you 5 minutes alone is a gift from them and you should take it as such. That said, be prepared for that quiet night watching movies to become a family night watching movies, learn what's on the kids menu at your favorite diner and for all things holy, take it all with a sense of humor. Again, YOU are the outsider and you are in fact, NOT THEIR DAD! So be thankful these kids are willing to share their Mom, your Mom of Choice, with you. Be glad that She chose to see you as good enough to place in the same room as her offspring and above all go with the flow. You don't have to lose yourself or change everything about who you are, dudes, it's just a new equation.
You + Your Mom of Choice + her kiddos... What that will come up to is completely up to how you adapt, how they take it and of course, Your Mom of Choice.
Have fun guys, take any of that how you want to and maybe I'll be back another time...
Oh, I should mention that I'm proud that MY Mom of Choice decided that I was good enough of a person to be introduced to her kiddo's and for the rest of that story, well... you'll just have to keep coming back... won't ya?
I now return you to your regularly scheduled program.