6 May 2008
I remember when I first brought him home. The first words out of his mouth were “I don’t do babysitting”. Immediatley I thought that I was on to a loser but nearly 18months later, I have realised that his detachment to my children, his loose and casual parenting and the fact that he has allowed them space by keeping his distance has been the predominate factor in his success as a ‘stepdad’. He doesn’t bother them and they don’t give him any trouble.
Of course, things were made easier because he didn’t have any children of his own. I think things would have been very, very different if he had. But as he moved in with me and my kids, he accepted that he had to fit in with the existing ethos and he didn’t try to elbow his way in or enforce his rules on my children.
He doesn’t even complain when the two youngest vie for space in our bed! Believe me it can get crowded, but his tolerance and passive nature just let it ride over him. He has never complained once! Not even the children’s father was THAT tolerant!
He accepts that the children’s father has to play a continuing role in their lives. This has been a bit harder for him, but he never once bad mouths my ex in front of the children. My ex can be difficult to be around, but when the going gets tough, my new man just makes himself scarce and lets us get on with it, safe in the knowledge that the ex will be leaving in an hour or two and he’ll my new man will soon have his space back again.
I don’t want to make it sound like he is so detached that he has nothing to do with them. Of course we do stuff together as a family, go on holiday, trips out, eat together and that sort of thing. And he will acquiesce with making bows and arrows, kicking a football around and showing my boys how to fish – that sort of blokey stuff which impresses my boys no end! It’s just that he leaves the parenting to me which suits me fine.
I definitely think I got lucky this time. And so did the kids.