What to REALLY Expect
Howdy folks! Its time for another exciting and informative edition of one of my favorite features, What to REALLY Expect: Things that the books, Dr's and even your friends and family didn't tell you about or prepare you for! I've been mulling over a few ideas that are all equally good, but I have some other things on my mind so it's been especially hard to concentrate on anything as of late. I get too many things going at once, then in turn, exhaustion sets in. But, I'll talk about that at a later date, I've got problems to solve and anecdotes to share!
Why Aren't You & Daddy, Mommy, etc., Married?
Today, there's 2 different types of relationships: Traditional, where there's a mom and dad and their married and everything's the way it was in the 1950's. Then there's Non-traditional, where there's a mom and a mamma or a dad and a pops,etc...it shouldn't really matter and it doesn't really mater to a lot of people, the dynamic of the family or the orientation one's sexual preference is, but that it's a family just the same. There are children who get love and affection from their parents, no matter if they're traditional or non-traditional. But what happens when your child starts to ask hard questions? Are you prepared to answer honestly? Have you thought about what to even say? A few years ago, Ben started asking questions. Here's some examples of some of his questions (modified a bit, of course) and how I handled it. Hopefully it can help you and your unique sitch out!
Why does dad live in one house and we live in this house with (insert significant other's name here)?
Many children today split their time between homes (usually weekends, summers and every other holiday are spent w/the "dads" and the rest of time spent w/ the "moms"). This is tough on all parties involved and it can be super-confusing to kids. Here's how I broke it down to Ben, at 3 years old: I explained that mommy and daddy both loved him so much and that we just want him to have a perfect life. I said that mommy and daddy argue and yell a lot at each other. It's scary to hear someone yell. We didn't want you to get scared if we yelled. We didn't want you to grow up thinking that this is what a family does, b/c its not. Families don't yell and scream and argue with one another. That is why daddy and I decided, b/c we both love you so so much, to live in different houses so we don't argue and yell anymore. You are so special to us you get 2 houses, 2 bedrooms and twice the love! He seemed pretty content with my answer, he's 7 now and is still content with that. I was honest (I didn't go into details with him on our arguments or what we fought about - that is not your child's business, it's you and your partner's). Just be honest, but also keep in mind, no matter how bitter you are at your ex, that ***hole is your child's other parent. DO NOT bad-mouth your ex in front of or to your child!
Why aren't you and (insert partner's name here) married?
So many couples are choosing to NOT tie the KNOT these days, which is FINE (I am not LEGALLY married, but as far as God and we are concerned, we are). Children, from the time they are babies, are shown a "family" in movies, books, t.v. shows, magazines, etc. where the parents are married. Ben has asked quite a few times why Karl and I were not married. He still doesn't quite understand how his biological father and I had him but were never married either. I have told him the following: Some people get married, some don't. It doesn't mean that the people that get married love each other more, it just means they wanted to have a wedding. Weddings are an important tradition in certain cultures and to a lot of people. Some people, like me, feel that being married does not defy who you are or how much you love somebody. You can love someone without being married to them. I've also explained that in certain states and places, if you want to marry a woman and you're a woman, it's not allowed and that's not right. When everyone can marry who they want, maybe then I'll get married (It's not that I don't want to share Karl's last name, I do, I want to marry him someday, its just marriage in general kinda scares me - whole other post and no, I didn't tell Ben that! Some info should be edited for your child's maturity). Tell your child that you and your partner love each other very much and you both love your child.
Why do you and I have different last names?
Ben and I have different last names and I have explained that I gave him his name for the following reasons: his first name if for 2 things, his great-grandpa on his bio-father's side and for my best friend (her brother's name is Ben - I always said if I had a girl, I was gonna name her after my friend, if I had a boy, after her brother cause "Beth" for a boy's name would be super-weird)! His middle name is Michael because that's my dad's name and his last name is for his bio-dad and bio-grandpa. A tribute to the men in his family. I told him my last name is different because I never got married to his dad to take his name. That's why they're different. Again, honesty works great, just word things so your child will understand. If your kid is 4 years old, don't explain things like they're 40!
Nobody prepared me for these questions and with so many do's and don'ts and everyone being all politically correct these days, it can be very difficult to answer hard-hitting questions your child may have. Just take a deep breath, relax and be honest. You love your child more than anything and as long as they realize that, everything else is just minor details. Being single, married, partnered, traditional, non-traditional, whatever you and yours are....it doesn't matter at the end of the day what the definition of a family is supposed to be, or what others say it is, the definition of a family is those who are in it, the love the people have for one another and the bond they all share. THAT'S the definition of a family to me, and I love my family so so much!
DEBATE 2012: What Do YOU Think??
Last night was the first debate between Gov. Romney and Pres. Obama. What's your take on it? They both had strong words for each other and they both showed a lack of respect for the mediator, I thought. They pretty much ignored him the entire 90 min!! One thing that continues to stick out in my mind is a comment Gov. Romney said towards the end of the debate. He mentioned that he cares about "poor kids", then quickly corrected himself to the more "PC" less-fortunate, but, seriously? You want MY vote and you refer to children who need better schooling, food stamps, Medicaid and government housing (you know, the 49% who he can't be bothered with) not because of anything they did, but because of their parents' situations. That's just not a very nice thing to say, especially when there's sooo much on the line here. All those "poor kids" parents were watching last night. They'll be the ones going to the polls. Should be interesting to see the next debate!
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Peace, Love and Light,