Today, I wanted to talk to you guys about my experience of getting into a new relationship while trying to balance mum life, a social life and a private life. You might recall a while ago a post I wrote about the Unrealistic Versions of Love and how you need to learn to love yourself before you can even think to start anything with anyone. If you’ve been watching my Instagram you would notice that there is a new man in my life, well he isn’t that new at all. Myself and Luke have been friends for many long years, he watched my belly grow huge during pregnancy and met Alice when she was only a few weeks old.
Often enough Luke would pop round the house once a month for a chat and a cup of tea, even when myself and Alice’s father lived together we would text. So turning our friendship into a relationship was totally unexpected, unplanned and for both of us at the start a little weird, going from random flirty banter and inside jokes to actually caring about someone differently did take a while to get use to.
I wanted to give you guys some advice if you are in the same position as me right now or perhaps in the future. I know it can be so tough with knowing whats right to do by your child and what is right for you. This is all from my own personal experience and of course it all depends on if both parents play active roles in the child’s life.
Don’t be afraid to admit you’re a parent to a potential partner.
Chances are they’ve already stalked your facebook or instagram and they already know you’re a parent. You shouldn’t hide that amazing fact about youself and if that potential partner doesn’t like it, then bye bye, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. You don’t need that type of person in your life anyway.
Check with the other parent before your child meets your new partner.
I was lucky in this sense as Alice’s father already knew Luke quite well but we did agree on some ground rules firstly and for the first month or so Luke would only really bump into Alice if she was being dropped home and 99% of the time Luke would say hello and leave shortly afterwards. Make sure you’re child’s other parent meets your new partner as well, they have a say in who is around your child but please remember it is not tit for tat. If one parent doesn’t agree with the child meeting or knowing a partner, that should be respected. It shouldn’t be a case of if my partner can’t see our child then neither can yours. There needs to be good reasons behind this.
As a new partner, be respectful towards the parents rules and how they parent.
I’ve read far to many horror stories about a new partner thinking they can tell your child off or in force rules. Unless you’re a step parent or the parent of that child, you cannot. Of course if the child has sworn at your partner, is acting out in public or hitting/slapping then yes, remind them to be respectful and that is naughty but never over step the mark.
Take photographs and selfies, but allow the main parents to share them. Not the partners.
This is something myself and Alice’s dad had to deal with for a while, the main (birth) parents should be the only ones to share photographs of the child.
If you start getting uncomfortable, stop the entire situation.
Back in February/March, I was seeing a guy who looked at a photograph of Alice and said something along the lines of ‘Oh she’s sexy’. Right there and then, I closed my phone, stopped the conversation and left. When he later text me and asked what had happened, I explained that was not an appropriate thing to call any child and I would no longer speak to them. If you’re not comfortable no matter your feelings for that person, leave them. And remember your child’s safety and feelings come first.
Don’t put pressure on your new partner to meet your child or push to be a step parent.
I cannot stress this enough! Your partner is “Your Partner”, they aren’t a step parent or even a parent to your child if both main parents are still around. I find this is disrespectful towards the main parents mum or dad. They still play an active role in the child’s life and of course its up to your partner if they want to do more than just be your partner. I’m lucky with Luke as he understands what role he has to play and that’s my boyfriend and a friend to Alice. Does he feed her? Change her bum? Get her dressed? No he doesn’t, that’s my job. He may carry her and play games with her but that’s as far as I will allow it. I believe until we have been together for at least a year, he will continue that role and only when Alice is old enough to understand if she wants to call any partner a step parent, that’s her call and both me and her father will respect that.
I think I am one of the lucky ones who is blessed to have Alice and a wonderful boyfriend who supports every choice I make for Alice and I and she is very lucky to have two large families that care and love her every single day. As I said that advice above is from my own experiences and things I have learnt, but I will always say please be patient with a new partner, they might not want to meet your child or children right away and they may even in fact wait months and that’s a good thing as they wish to be stable with you before taking the next step.
As always, I wish you the best of luck and warm wishes in your parenting journey.