Monday, July 4, 2011

Walking a Tightrope

I am unique. I have no children. I‘m 38. I cannot have kids and that is definite. And I’m single. I’ve dated men in recent years who had grown or nearly grown kids. The teenagers have presented a challenge, because they considered me to be a threat. And the child always comes first. I recognize that, and try to be patient. But not all kids are willing to have their parent date. If the kids are not ready for the father to date, then the dating will never last. It’s only been an issue for me this past year, as I’ve dated men with daughters still at home.

I have heard the endless horror stories from divorced mothers at work--the “bitch” the ex married and the things she does or says to her step kids. I have heard stories from teens about their lack of respect for their step moms, as well. I’ve heard the jealousy, the bitterness, the hurt. I’ve vowed to never be “that woman”.

Now that I am in a relationship with a man who has a daughter, I find that it’s a very tough balancing act--a very underrated, misunderstood position to be in. How does he keep his daughter first without spoiling her and overlooking me? I can easily put him first, but I will never be first in his life--am I OK with this? How do I obtain respect from her, when she is clearly ahead of me in the food chain and knows it? How do I play this role of potential mother figure, when there are definite limitations on my input? How do I support him and her 100%, and still not lose my own self in the process? How do I do this the right way, and not hurt anyone or get hurt in the process?

Soon, we will function more as a family unit. I’m excited, I’m thrilled, and I’m scared. I cannot let this relationship swallow my sense of self until I don‘t recognize it anymore. I have to be willing to pursue my own interests at the same time I’m giving them the freedom and support to pursue theirs. I am going to attempt to balance family time with friend time with hobby time with kid time with work time with home chores and boyfriend time. Up until now, my home projects were easily put on hold, because time with friends and family was first. My home must be a kid friendly safe zone, not a place to crash until the next morning (as it has been for 9 years). I have to make time for my friends now, where before they WERE my time away from work. I must consider my boyfriend and his daughter in all future decisions and plans. I’m basically going from single, independent woman who calls her own shots to ready-made family.

I am willing to do all of this. I’m up for it. But I know it will involve some growing pains. It will involve some serious balancing on everyone’s part. I am a giver by nature, and must be strong enough to know when I’ve compromised myself too much, and when it’s time to raise my patience levels to accommodate the changes that are going to occur. My friends and family will always be my safety net, as long as I keep them close. I ask God for wisdom in this process.

He is worth it, this man. He is worth the risk I’m taking, the freedom I am willingly relinquishing. So is she. They have taken my heart and given me something I’ve longed for. I don’t want to let them down, and am scared at the same time of being let down as well.

But living is about taking risks, and they are worth the risk.


FHL_Always said...

"But living is about taking risks, and they are worth the risk."

...Kristi, YOU are worth the risk!!! You have to realize that!

I've never been in your shoes, so I don't have much sage advice to give.

But, I think as long as you stay true to yourself and remember that you are worth it you'll be fine. You'll know whether to stay in...or get out because you'll know yourself.

Love you!

Kristi said...

Thank you, Kelsy! I do have to be reminded of that sometimes! :-)

He is willing to take a risk on me, and that's pretty awesome. I'm not the first woman to brave this new territory, and I can't be outdone by others! I'm always up for a challenge. But I know in my heart this is the right thing. It won't always be easy, but it is worth it with the right person and the right mindset. Fears are natural, and commitment takes work. But I'm committed to seeing this through.

Love you too!