Dating in high school, college, and even the post-grad years felt stressful. What to wear, where to go, what to say – it was enough to make you get a zit or something. That’s a freaking cakewalk compared to dating now. Nothing compares to dating when you have children. Personally, when I was still dating after my divorce, I wish the biggest worry I had was whether I should wear the sexy little skirt or the jeans that made my butt look good.
With kids, you’re battling babysitters, homework, colds, an annoyed tween or teen, or a toddler clinging to your ankle begging you not to go. Sometimes, it’s all the above. You have to wonder if it’s worth the effort to get dressed up and go out. But you do it because he’s nice or cute or made you laugh, and you desperately need to feel like a woman instead of a mom.
You’ve battled the mood swings of the kids, taken out a loan to pay for the babysitter, and gone out enough with the new guy to be comfortable enough to suggest eating Chinese take-out and watching Netflix at his place. It’s gone so well that even the kids have met him – a huge step for everyone.
He’s good for you, great, better than great! How do you know he’s good for your children, though? Take a look at these six signs that’s he right for your kids.
1. He’s the type of person you hope they’ll be like when they grow up. This isn’t about being a doctor or a lawyer. Maybe he’s kind-hearted, generous, caring, smart, funny, thoughtful, pick a positive attribute. Whatever it is about him, you’d love for some of that to rub off on your children.
2. He respects your role as Mom and backs you up. No matter who you are with him, he understands that you’re the law when it comes to your kids. Even if he doesn’t agree, he still backs you up, letting your kids know – sometimes without saying a word – there will be no divide and conquer with him. They need that stability and so do you.
3. He takes a genuine interest in your children. Depending on the age of your children and how your divorce played out, there’s a good chance your kids might not be so accepting of a new person in your life. The right man for all of you isn’t going to be scared away by that. He understands that they may not love or even like him, but he makes the effort to get to know them and show that he’s interested.
4. His parenting style complements yours. There’s a good chance you won’t see this for a long time until everyone has grown more comfortable, but he’s able to fill the gaps for you. As a single mom, you can only battle so many things in a day. For me, I cared that my children ate their food and showed good manners at the dinner table, but I didn’t worry about pushing in chairs, putting their plates in the sink, or trying new foods. Thankfully, my “right guy” did. He makes up for what I lack when it comes to discipline, rules, and sometimes just doing new and different things.
5. Your kids respond to him. No one should expect their children to immediately embrace a new person and automatically like or love him. It may be in small ways at first, but when your children are comfortable with your guy, they respond. Either he commands respect or he’s likable enough that your children find themselves smiling or listening. Whatever it is, they respond in positive ways.
6. He knows it’s not always going to be great and he sticks around anyway. The guy that throws his hands up in the air and bails the moment one of your children cops an attitude or the night doesn’t go according to plan isn’t the man any of you need. The right guy understands that kids get sick, hate new people, or are just plain moody – and he keeps coming back for more because he knows you (and the kids) are worth the effort.
No matter what kind of divorce you had – good or bad – there’s a good chance that finding the right guy and introducing him to your children will have its difficulties. Even if they accept this new man in your life, the road can be rocky along the way. Keep your eyes open for how your guy handles these challenges and how he interacts with your children. Even if your kids don’t love him, the way he handles the situation will tell you if he’s the right guy for you and your children.
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