I tend to reflect on things and upon myself. I’m one of those types seeking to understand and improve constantly. Lately, parenting has been on my mind.
I wonder about my boyfriend’s children. They’re lovely girls receiving messages about the world from their mother, father, extended family, friends, school, media etc. And I’m in there being a role model, friend and parenting figure. Sometimes.
Mostly I see them 2 days a fortnight with some extra time in school holidays. It seems such a small amount. I love children and these two are very dear to me. I still feel a wee bit odd about our relationship and boundaries. See, as much as I love them, I’m not their mum. My connection is through their dad and feels quite flimsy.
Initially, I tried to keep a bit of distance. I wanted their dad to fill the parenting role and for me to be friendly on the side. That didn’t work too well since they saw me as a nice sweet lady and their dad as an ogre. I also didn’t want them picturing me as submissive and passive (for mine and their sakes) so I became more actively involved in parenting at our place.
It’s a strange line that gets evaluated sometimes by both the adults and kids. I worry that they see me as being bossy and cold, that I don’t show them enough affection and that it’s too obvious when I disagree with something their mum or other carers has told them.
But the thing is, I’m NOT their mum. I haven’t had practice at being patient with kids prior to this. I’m learning that regardless of how well behaved they are, their personalities are individual. Now is my practice.
But it doesn’t replace being a mother. A few days a month often feels too few. There are so many things I could help them with. Gaps in their upbringing that I could fill if there was only the time or if I was allowed to make more consequential decisions. Even their dad is the outsider with the mum calling most of the shots. That’s the way it is.
I’ve wanted to be a mother since I was a little girl and always thought I would be. Never happened with previous partners and my current boyfriend doesn’t want more. I’ve stayed because I enjoy my life and want to let things play out. But I still have biological urges and desires. I still have a deep ache and longing for a child. I sometimes wonder if I’m missing out… If I’m making a mistake…
I have only a few reproductive years left. Do I really want my own children? Enough to end a relationship? Would I feel closer to my own children? Am I looking for control (making sure my kids tick all required boxes)? Am I worthy? Am I even capable of reproducing?
I feel uneasy sometimes that I haven’t created. My boyfriend’s children, even the dogs, have come with him. Does it matter how they came to be in my life? The dogs are old and will die soon. Afterwards, I can get a dog or goldfish or tattoo if I want to create. I can’t have a baby in this relationship and I will lose all of these connections when the relationship is over.
We have an enjoyable lifestyle, both working, some holidays, socialising regularly. The dogs need extra time and care and I have taken that on wholeheartedly. I love them and they don’t mind my bossing them around. Life works, life is good.
I don’t have a conclusion. Perhaps thoughts are all I have. Perhaps that’s okay.