Dating guy with kid
Most of my friends were settling down, but I had no desire to have children – I’d never felt the maternal pull.
It was spontaneous and chaotic, and that’s how I liked it.One that makes the idea of growing up a lot less scary.Being a dad makes James who he is and, in turn, makes our relationship what it is: a solid team marching into an unknown future that’s messy, complicated and utterly brilliant in equal measures. Be who you are and invent a relationship with his kids that works for you and them, avoiding the extremes of disciplinarian or doormat.James and I met on a snowboarding holiday in early 2011, and he was perfect for my non-committal tendencies.Recently separated from his wife of five years, he was proud dad to a three-year-old boy, and living in his parents’ spare bedroom awaiting a divorce settlement. The prospect of me – a carefree woman not yet 30 – dating a man with kids was met with fear and trepidation by my friends. The only thing she’d previously seen me take responsibility for was which pub we should go to for a night out, and I often got that wrong.But I make it to the park after almost turning back, to find James* (my boyfriend) clutching a Pokémon rucksack and an armful of coat, from which a pair of huge eyes and a half-smile appear.
I wave awkwardly at this tiny yet enormously significant human being – all gangly limbs and pretending to be a dinosaur. I have no idea how I got here, but in this moment I realise that life as I know it is about to change.
I was in no hurry to settle down, but it is a luxury to get a preview of the kind of father your partner will be.
Three years ago, baby talk of any kind left me itching to start a conga, just to lighten the mood.
The word stepmum is loaded with negative connotations, often prefixed by ‘evil’ or ‘wicked’ (thanks for that, Cinderella). James’ boy has a perfectly good mother and, when he’s with us, his dad does all the disciplining, cooking and bottom-wiping. ‘Tom and his ex split amicably, but when he met me it was quickly twisted into a “he left us” story.
His ex would tell Jacob that he wasn’t allowed to hold my hand, or she’d send him to our house without a coat in winter.
I imagined a loose scenario of every other weekend spent to a soundtrack of cartoons, on a diet of pepperoni pizza. In the early days, you don’t have sleepless nights worrying about them, but nor do you get the heart-melting sticky kisses, or eager eyes scanning a room for only you.