How to cope as a Single Mum: Say you’re a woman and you have a child from a relationship that didn’t quite take off or didn’t last. You love your child with all your heart and you can’t imagine life without them. Your child is your world but you have someone else also coming into your life to stay in the form of a husband.
Getting married is an exciting prospect for most people but it comes with a different set of worries for one who is already a parent. It may seem like the perfect arrangement and a blessing to someone who is outside but it can be a source of anxiety for the woman. Why would anyone worry about finding a man they love and loves them back and wants to commit? Here’s why.
How will the child and man react to each other?
These two might have met when you were dating but that’s only a warm-up to living in the same house. The child might have liked the man but having him as a permanent fixture in their life presents another dynamic altogether. They will have to call him ‘dad’ at some point and take instructions from him. He will get to cuddle with you more often than with them and it might look like he is coming between you and them.
The man might have been playful and nice when he only saw the child occasionally but what will he be like when he has to see your child every day being both naughty and nice and sometimes downright messy and difficult? Some men don’t do well in such situations and will either not pay attention to the child or overreact. That’s worrying for every mother because she would of course prefer that these two got along easily. You want him to love your child unconditionally like you do and you want your child to love and accept him as a father.
What will his family think of your child?
Many relationships have ended because the man’s family didn’t want him dating a woman with another man’s child (and the man wasn’t willing to defy their wishes). It is a big concern because children don’t see the difference until someone points it out. In a setting where the child is accepted and loved by the man’s family the child grows up happy and healthy and the mother doesn’t have to worry about someone saying something nasty to her in reference to her place in the family. The child is treated like a legitimate member of the family.
What about the biological father?
Some biological fathers are in the picture and some aren’t even trying to be. It may cause a little friction when they find out their child is going to be raised by another man. Some may even show up just when you are settling into your new arrangement and cause havoc. That’s not a pretty sight and can be confusing for the child. It might even leave you wondering if your man might change his mind if that’s the kind of drama you come with!
How will you share the love between them?
You are used to giving them your full attention whenever you’re with them but that’s usually separately. This new arrangement pushes you to love both at once and these are uncharted waters. You might find yourself focusing more on the child thinking that the man is an adult and can take care of himself. It is also easy to get carried away by your newfound wife status and reduce the love and attention you give your child.
The truth is, once you relax and think about it, these two people receive different kinds of love from you and they both need it. There is however no competition between them (or there shouldn’t be) and this means you are perfectly capable of loving them both.
Married life with a child is a whole new territory and might be scary. Your concerns are valid but you need to trust yourself, your man and God. Have these difficult conversations with your man before you get married and talk to your child about the impending changes. Everything will work out fine if you all start out on the same page.