There I was 27 and raising a 3-year-old alone. I’m not sure which aspect of my life was the most devastating. Being a single mom or the dramatic ending of my 6-year relationship. I’m the girl that had always envisioned myself with 2.5 kids, a dog and a white picket fence. My parents have been married for almost 40 years. Being a single mom was never part of the plan. But at the same time I was tremendously excited about the intriguing possibility of starting afresh in my own terms. The ultimate goal was to focus on my son and my work, I had it all figured out. At least that’s what I thought.
A year later I met my husband and we were engaged within 6 months. When my husband came into our lives he jumped right in. He started doing school drop offs, attended parent teacher meetings and read bedtime stories. Sometimes I look at him and I cannot believe how blessed we are. I had finally found the kind of love that I rightfully deserved.
Here are some of the things you must know about transitioning from being a single mom to a married mom.
Don’t be that girl that introduces your child to each and every single person that you date. Don’t get me wrong, you may kiss as many frogs as you desire but be selective about the people you bring into your home and your child’s life. Your child should undoubtedly remain your number one priority and should be protected at all costs. In terms of introducing your kids to your partner, I genuinely believe that it’s critical to wait until you know for sure you’re both in it for the long haul.
I think it’s important to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for in a partner. As much as I wasn’t really keen to date, I knew exactly what I was looking for and wasn’t willing to compromise. I was one of those girls that constantly stumbled into unhealthy relationships, but I was fiercely determined to break the pattern. I knew that I needed to start making different choices for myself and most importantly my son. And when my husband came along I instantly knew he was the one. He was just different, he made me feel like a Queen. When he promptly pulled out my chair and poured my wine at our first date, my heart did a silent happy dance. Eight years later nothing has changed, he still opens doors for me, pulls out my chair and refills my wine. He’s consistent.
Discuss parenting styles
This is a big one. We overlooked this stage and it eventually caught up with us. My husband and I had completely opposing views on parenting, but we’ve eventually found common ground. I think It’s important for me to highlight that it’s taken us many years to get here simply because we skipped this key step. Here’s the thing, you and your partner will have different parenting styles so you need to make sure you put all your cards on the table. If for example your partner believes in spanking and you don’t, that needs to be addressed. Marriage is all about compromising, but you shouldn’t compromise on your parenting style at least for the first couple of years. You should remain the primary disciplinarian up until your child and your partner have developed a strong relationship.
Co-parenting with my ex hasn’t been easy, but I feel like we’re finally making progress. For me, protecting my family’s peace and my son remain my number one priority. It’s important for me that he has a good relationship with his biological dad, and I’ve fought fiercely for that. The one thing I want to highlight is the importance of protecting the ex’s image in your child’s eyes. So in other words, never speak ill of your ex in front of your kid. That’s non-negotiable. The truth is, regardless of what you say about your ex to your child, they will grow up and discover their own version of reality.
It’s clear the transition is not easy but is it so worth it. A blended family requires a substantial level of consciousness and maturity from both parties. But if you are both fully committed to your new family and marriage, everything will eventually fall into place. But it will take time.
Photographer: Elsie B Photography