Guys With Kids

I know what you’re thinking- where the hell have I been, right? And it’s a long story. But it’s all been good- and I’m back to watching TV. To that end…

Occasionally, I watch this sitcom called Guys With Kids. The show is about three friends (and fathers) who live in an apartment building in New York and how their lives’ and their kids’ lives, intersect. Two of them are married and one is divorced. Now, there’s a lot of overacting and the show is only mildly funny (despite being executive produced by the very funny Jimmy Fallon)- but that’s neither here nor there right now. On a couple of episodes, the divorced guy has made attempts at dating. And it’s made me think of how hard dating must be for single parents- and single people trying to date single parents. To be sure, dating is no picnic for the unencumbered, childless, plus-size but ultimately fabulous being that I am- but for those who have little lives in their hands, it must be infinitely more complicated.

There was a time when I didn’t want to date guys with kids at all. Coming from where I’m from, I know so many girls who are somebody’s “baby mama”- and 90% of them (this is including the ones I like, love and are friends with) bring the drama in some sort of way. Whether it’s trying to take him for as much money as possible, playing tug of war with the kid(s), or hindering his dating life (which sadly enough, ultimately keeps both you and him from moving on), I don’t know too many single mothers who are on chill. This is not to say that fathers don’t need to do better. But I have to come from a woman’s perspective first because that’s what I am. Suffice it to say, the idea of having to tangle with some guy’s rejected one night stand, vindictive ex-girlfriend, or bitter ex-wife was scary enough to make me say “No. Fucking. Way.” So I side-stepped single fathers as potential relationships. That’s not to say that I haven’t had some harmless fun with a few of them (protected, of course), but there was absolutely no long term plan in it for me. But I was younger then…

Nowadays, my perspective has changed just a bit. Now, it seems that I don’t mind kids at all. I’ve turned into an absolute sucker for some babies- and for a man with some babies. Kids are great to me- and nothing’s sexier than a good father. I attribute this to a few things. First, is the fact that my relationship with my own dad has blossomed into something really beautiful. It’s a real, adult relationship. My old man is the light of my life- and I love to hear him say how proud he is of me. The older I get, the more I realize that I don’t know a better man than the one who raised me. Secondly, besides my dad, other men in my life are entering fatherhood and doing such an awesome job of it. We only talk about the deadbeats and the deserters- but we should change that, because I know so many good fathers. Last, my own desire to be a mother makes me fall in love with children left and right- so I have no problem with a man who has children in his life. Parenthood is something I aspire to- so I think it’s a foregone conclusion that I would change my mind from the way I felt all those years ago. But as with any dating scenario, it has it’s pitfalls…

As I stated before, I know a good amount of single mothers. And dating a guy with kids means that I may have the pleasure (or displeasure) of dealing with his ex/ the mother of his child(ren). Now I’m not saying that she’ll definitely be bitter, or vindictive, or spiteful- but she might be… and dealing with that is hard. Co-parenting and transitioning into a possible blended family situation is hard for everyone- and being rude, argumentative or overly demanding on purpose isn’t going to make it easier. Remaining an adult in situations like that can be extremely difficult- and though I might be the grand age of 32, I am not always the most mature person in the world. I’m smart-mouthed and quick-tempered. I’m not always able to hold myself back. I certainly would make an attempt (more than one attempt, as a matter of fact), but sometimes disrespect is too much- even for a relatively calm person. Channeling my inner non-violent, Civil Rights Movement/ Bible verse “Turn the other cheek” isn’t always effective… but don’t worry. I’m not a child. I will give it the old college try. Just know that it may not always work. However, please know that I am not a mean person and anyone who gets cussed out or smacked upside the head by me more than likely deserved it.

The other potential pitfall (and probably the most important one for me) is that I do still want to be a mother. And sometimes I’m afraid that if I date a guy who already has children, that he won’t be open to having any more- and then where does that leave me? I wonder if being a friend/ possible stepmother will still leave an ache inside me, an empty space that can only be filled by becoming a mother myself. And is that just me being overly emotional? The old me would have said that this was proof he wasn’t the right one for me, and that it wasn’t meant to be- but what if that’s not completely true? What if I walk away from something great because I’m hung up on having my “own” kids? Maybe I’m just too hung up on the “ownership” piece, period. Because quite honestly, I have lots of children in my life now. I’m an aunt ten times over. I have younger cousins, and my friends have kids. But they’re not mine- and it just doesn’t feel the same. Hey- maybe I’ll get lucky- and my soulmate either won’t have kids or won’t mind having more. I know that’s not the practical answer- but when are our dreams ever practical?

Either way, I know I’ve grown from the way I used to feel- and I think that’s a good thing. We’ll see where it gets me though… meanwhile, I’ll keep dating- and watching TV…

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4 thoughts on “Guys With Kids

  1. I truly love your blogs and this one is definitely one that I relate to very much. I think when we’re younger and when we WERE younger it seemed like it was rare for there to be many ‘baby daddies’ and because it was rare, we declared that we would never date one. As we’ve grown older, I guess things and philosophies change. I have met some wonderful guys with children (and my guy now has one) and it is a fear to deal with the mother of the child, but I also have to believe that if he’s the one…it will work out. Great post!

  2. Thanks Charmaine! That means a lot to me, actually. I think you’re right. Back when I was younger, guys with kids were around- but they weren’t EVERYWHERE like they are now- so that probably does have something to do with the change in my tolerance level as well.

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