Stepmother-in-Training?

9 Dec

Dear LetterBalm: My boyfriend and I have been together for almost two years. We’re well on the way to marriage, and both of us are very happy about that. We feel the other person is “the one,” and we share the same values and qualities. He and his ex-girlfriend share custody of their two children. The kids are little – six and four – and they’re very cute. But they demand an enormous amount of our time when we’re with them. They jump around and want affection from me, play time, show and tell. They drive me crazy, especially when all this cuts into quiet, private time with my boyfriend. The children take a lot out of me. I need to know how to control this and what to say. 

–Not on the Mommy Track

Your signature says it all. How much thought have you given to having children? Have you and your boyfriend discussed it? It seems to Ms. L.B. that you need to devote serious consideration to the subject, particularly if you say that your boyfriend’s children “drive me crazy” and “take a lot out of me.” They’re going to be a fact of your life for many years, and, clearly, they’re active and adorable – in short, typically energetic kids. Your aim shouldn’t be to “control” them, but to guide and enjoy them. If this looks like it may be too much for you, you need to figure out – perhaps with therapy – if the kids are a dealbreaker. You need to be aware of the trade-offs so you can make an informed decision that’s right for you. It definitely warrants some serious talks with your boyfriend (keep family and friends out of it). A good beginning might go like this:

Warren, I need to talk with you about something. I’m worried what you might say, but it’s important that we talk it out. We’ve never talked about children in our marriage. I have serious reservations about kids. Tommie and Lisa are cute kids, but you’ve noticed that I have difficulty handling them because they’re so active. Honestly, I’ve never considered myself mommy material, and I don’t know if I want kids in my life, even if they’re wonderful. I’m considering therapy to help me work this out. I love you, and I need to know what you feel about all this.

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