Dating the Both of Us
I recently was asked out on a date. It was someone I knew for a few years, and really respected. I held this guy to a high standards but nothing serious on my end in the "love" department. Just someone I enjoyed casually talking to. So when he asked me out on this date I was a little bit floored. Not because it was coming from him or that this was a change of pace for our friendship. What set this date request apart from all others was that he asked if we can take out my daughter to Chuckee Cheese. He implied he was willing to meet her and take us both out in order to spend more time with me.
First reaction was "What!?" I was so surprised. I never had a guy volunteered to take my daughter and myself out. Most guys avoid the whole "you have a kid" topic. To hear this gentleman actually acknowledge my role as a mother, understand that I have limited time, and that most of my time is actually spent with my daughter was astonishing. The fact that he was open to take part on that it was really something that felt "grown up." But my reply? "Uh sorry but I don't allow my daughter to meet anyone."
Since separating from her dad about 4 years ago only one other guy I dated actually met my daughter and was around her. That experience was a hard lesson learned. I realized that children get really attached to people that enter their lives. Especially when their parent is showing this person affection. When I broke up with that guy, my daughter, who was only 2 at the time, felt the break up more than I would ever had imagine. For weeks after she would ask for him and wonder why he wasn't coming over anymore. It made the break up even harder to know that my daughter was also sad about it.
Since then I vowed that my daughter wouldn't be exposed to any man that wasn't here for the long run. I have put major filters up when it comes to who she is exposed to. Just how her dad and I act a certain way with each other when she is around I now also think of how my actions with other people matter. Her dad and I vowed to never argue and always treat each other with respect when we are in front of her because even at the tender age of 4 she is really aware of all the things we say and do. She picks up on everything. One time we had a silly argument that was mostly jokes and she stopped us and said "Stop fighting guys!" I apply the same rules now with anyone that I am around. I am picky with friends and just about anyone that comes around her. I want my daughter to always be around a great vibe and see people around her that are solid relationships to me.
So back to the Chuckee Cheese date. Once I sent my replied I did feel horrible on how my reply came out. It is not that he was just "anyone" to me. I actually know this guy for a very long time and like he stated in his reply no matter what we always have been friends. I had to explain to him that as a child she is really prone to get attached to others especially those who are kind to her but I don't want her to ever be disappointed when someone stops being around. At this age is kind of hard to explain why people stop coming around. When she is older and much more mature she will get why people get "busy" but now is best for me to build an environment that is constant and not a revolving door of people. He understood.
As a mother, single mother, is hard to balance dating and raising a child, especially a girl. I always put her first because in the future I know it will hurt me more to know my child has certain triggers from her childhood that were set by my actions. Maybe in the future when she is older to know the difference in relationships I would be more open to have others around her. For now, I want her foundation to be strong and for her to see an example of our home that is of respect and love. I do think men should always offer to be a part of child's life but timing is everything. Let the mother set the time line but open the door and let her know that you are interested and respectful in her role as a mother.