Love grows

by singlemomseeking on November 6, 2009

Thanks so much to all of you for your recent comments about what it means to let a boyfriend or girlfriend step in and discipline. Your feedback has inspired some very LONG, thoughtful conversations between LG and me. This is good stuff!

Your comments also encouraged more dialogue at the Boston Globe: writer Lylah Alphonse — a mom and step-mom to five kids — wrote her own post at Boston.com from the perspective of a step mom.

“I think the answer depends on how you define ‘discipline,’ ” Lylah says.

“In my case, I was (and am) comfortable with sending the big kids to their rooms. I’ll correct manners, enforce our household rules, separate squabbling siblings, set time outs, revoke privileges…but if harsher punishment needs to be meted out when my step kids are with us, it seems like that should be up to their dad because, well, he’s their dad. I’ll back him up, I’ll support his decision, but the decision is still his, not mine.”

She also says that there’s a big gender gap with it comes to step-parents: “Step dads are often lauded as heroes for ‘saving’ the single mom in distress and ‘taking on’ her kids; few people blink if a step dad has to lay down the law.”

“Step moms, though? Our authority is always in question, if not by the kids, then by other adults. I think there are far fewer single dads out there wondering if their girlfriends should have a hand in disciplining the kids.”

Reading Lylah’s post sure makes me pause — and think hard. Sometimes I’m so enmeshed in this single mom identity that I forget about how it might feel to be on “the other side.”

painted_heart

Of course, LG is not a step-father — but he’s also more than a guy I’m dating. Maybe for the first time ever, I feel like I’ve met a man who’s here to stay.

LG has told with me how unsure he feels sometimes, too. This is the first time he has seriously dated a single mom. And, of course, this all has my very own Aunt Marge chiming in again:

“Give LG a chance to express to you where he is/is not comfortable in these situations.” (Thanks Marge!)

As we all grow closer, we each have lapses of insecurity. On a good day, our insecurities don’t come out at the same time. My daughter has them, too. She’s very good at communicating to me when she feels jealous — or excluded. I’m so grateful she has the words to talk about her feelings.

But no matter what — when you get beyond all the manner and rules, time outs and revoked privileges — I hope that we can all remember this:

Love grows.

As LG spends more time with us, our love does grow. When the three of us are together, I feel like we’re making space for all of us. As my love gets bigger, so does my daughter’s — and so does his. It is possible that this is just going to get bigger and bigger?


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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

BigLittleWolf November 6, 2009 at 11:13 am

There are times when we’re depleted, and times when we are open, and able to expand in so many ways. Sounds like you’re all in that wonderful “expansive” zone. How lovely. Just enjoy it.
.-= BigLittleWolf´s last blog ..Baptism by bubble bath (and other acts of love) =-.

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Honey November 6, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Yes – this month is 3.5 years for Jake and I, and it keeps getting bigger/better. I admit to being a little flummoxed by the fact that ALL of the animals prefer him, but hey! I kinda prefer him, myself.
.-= Honey´s last blog ..Keeping it Real vs. Playing the Game =-.

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singlemomseeking November 7, 2009 at 1:42 pm

@Honey: You go woman! That’s a good stretch! From what you’ve told me, your animals are your babies, yes?

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MC November 6, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Super sweet. I like your vision of love expanding everything. Yes, enjoy!

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Lylah November 6, 2009 at 1:52 pm

I absolutely believe that love grows. Great post!
.-= Lylah´s last blog ..Procrastinating my way to productivity =-.

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Martini Mom November 6, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Love this post. The Man and I are navigating these waters too. Everything’s a process…
.-= Martini Mom´s last blog ..Why did you get divorced? =-.

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singlemomseeking November 7, 2009 at 1:41 pm

@Martini Mom: I sure would love to hear more about this from you…. Does your son push your fiance’s boundaries sometimes? (Please tell me “yes”!)

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GLSD November 9, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Love does grow! I’m so happy for you! Enjoy the love! :)

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Lance November 11, 2009 at 4:43 pm

I don’t know how relevant this is, but I coach high school sports and I often feel like I’m fulfilling the role of a surrogate parent for the 2.5 hours that I have the kids. I have no problem disciplining them, and in fact it’s expected by their families. I have to discipline often, like on a daily basis. I also get middle schoolers, too, so the ages are really not that far off from M. Some of this is contextual, but really I feel it’s about getting out of your comfort zone and laying down the law after a certain trust has been built and authority established. Adults maintaining boundaries and discipline is for more than just the actual parents.
.-= Lance´s last blog ..A Typical Date With Lance and Why Intimacy Matters on First Dates =-.

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MamaBear December 6, 2009 at 10:36 pm

‘LOVE GROWS’. I am glad to read this. Gives me hope for my new relationship and that between my 2 year old daughter and me. … Love your posts.
.-= MamaBear´s last blog ..“Christened the Christmas bird for its spectacular red… =-.

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