If your friends don’t ask you “Are you sure you wanna do this?” when considering dating a single mother, are they even your friends? It is asked out of concern yes, but we know good and well there’s this social stigma around the dating of single parents, especially single mothers.
I watch a lot of movies, and what movies have taught me is that a man raising his children on his own is admired. For some reason, he is always walking in slow motion with his child(ren), the setting is always a park, and the ladies are looking at him like he’s a snack. Not always the case the other way around, is it? We don’t like talking about this, and when we do, it’s always in hushed tones. I don’t take myself so serious, thus I like laughing at myself and can share my experiences without feeling embarrassed.
The “are you sure you wanna do this?” question is repeated when the relationship seems to lead somewhere, but by someone else this time. This time the parent. Not only to protect the child from potential hurt, but it’s come to a point where the parent would now be concerned about bringing ‘shame’ upon the other person. Women always seem to get the short end of the stick. “Out of sight, out of mind” rings true here. Ruth asked me multiple times if I am ‘ready to accept her baggage’, and I’d reply with “If you’re ready to accept mine”. That confused her and her confusion confused me, ‘cause I wasn’t aware I came with no baggage. She made certain decisions in the past, I made certain decisions in the past. The difference between our decisions is the fact that some of hers were made visible. How do you judge a person and conclude you are better than them just because their sins are made visible, while yours stay safely hidden?
People differ, so the ones we ‘prefer’ as companions differ as well. No one can be faulted for having a type. You do you. But your type could be the reason why you might feel you haven’t and can’t find the right one. Our wants and needs can be easily confused with one another. You focus so much on what you want, what you need can smack you right on your dome and you wouldn’t even know it. If you truly like someone and believe they can make you happy, but their child makes you pause, that’s okay. But know that that same child is not standing in the way of your happiness. He/she is standing next to their momma/pops while you’re standing in the way of your own happiness.
I have never been in a relationship with someone who has a child so I had no idea how to prepare myself. I’ve spoken to people in similar situations but I know not everyone’s experience will be the same. So you can imagine I spent quite some time thinking about how I will interact with Ruth’s daughter, Jasmine. I knew I’ll never be her biological father thus I saw no point in trying to act like I am. I also won’t act like I suffer from amnesia and forget he exists, but I’m not wasting my time competing with him. What I can be, before anything else, is her best friend and a role model.
A mother and her daughter are one, and I had no intention of coming between that. I found them like that. So after spitting that fire with Ruth, making her knees freeze and her liver quiver (she didn’t know what hit her looool), I knew I had another girl to win over. Luckily, I had some practise with my cousin’s daughters on how to speak to and relate to little girls (boys don’t count here, hulle is net vieslik lol). I knew the first time meeting Jasmine went well when Ruth sent me a picture of a drawing she did at school- a drawing describing her weekend. There I was in the picture. My beard drawn accurately, but what caught my attention is the fact that, in the drawing, my arm was extended over both Jasmine and Ruth. I remember my first thought being “Is this symbolic? Oh Lord, is this not a bit too fast? Is she gonna call me ‘daddy’ now?” A child doesn’t know what “too fast” means.
There wasn’t much time to worry about that because she became more attached to me as the days went by. While I was busy thinking about “Is it too soon to be this stern?”, Jasmine was starting to use phrases I normally use. I was always thinking about where I stand with her but she was busy indicating to me at what stage our relationship is. I would just laugh and go “okay, she’s holding my hands now?” Many months went by and I became the preferred choice of homework-helper and play buddy (Ruth can’t always contain her jealousy).
This was not how I imagined dating a single mom will be. A child may lose a lot but not the ability to love. I was told that with dating a single mother comes an extra set of eyes. I was also told I’ll always have an extra heart to consider, but I was never ready for the extra adoration and love that comes with that. I consider myself to be a realist. Few years from now, I wonder how things will be. Will she love me as much as she does now? Will she still want me around? But … what if I’ll always be Superman to her? What if I’ll always be her best friend?