Thursday, October 6, 2011

Won't Somebody Think of The Children?

An 'anonymous' commenter- who wasn't really anonymous, in that she left her name as Mrs C and send me a private email later on, ruffled a few jellybeans here on RRSAHM the other day.

I know some people were offended by her comment. I wasn't. It takes a lot to rub me the wrong way.
A few people have already said what I am thinking (and I will even be brave enough to say I think like the 'over 50' that I am).
Loneliness is horrible. Grief is devastating and a caring for a young family on your own is - well a nightmare!
But please, please be very careful about putting your 'needs' ahead of the kids at this very delicate time.
I understand (sort of) about your situation and why you want to move on, but a new relationship has to be very, very carefully monitored and casual ones even more so.
As much as it must feel unfair, lonely, overwhelming and every other word you want to use, your children must not be asked to 'share' you with another person. Yet.
Also, it is very likely that your children's affection maybe manipulated as the way to your heart. Listen to them all the way.
In my (sadly, too long experience) there are very few men that can fully accept another man's children as benevolently as we would like.
As stated, Mrs C is in the Baby Boomer generation. I think this is a fairly common belief amongst the older generation- I know my nan certainly believes the same- that it's nearly impossible to begin a new relationship with a new man where your children really do come first, where they are as important to the other partner as they are to you.

As Mrs C explained in her email, she knows I wouldn't intentionally neglect my kids. I guess it's just that sometimes other things seem to become more important. Your kids are a given, a take-for-granted... finding love is not.

I've seen it happen often enough, and it is sad. And I remember the feeling when, at 14, my mum found a new boyfriend- I was jealous and angry, felt alone and abondoned.

I put a lot of guilt on her, as you do when you're fourteen years old. I'll never forget the way she told me, "Lori... I need to be happy. I can put you first and still find someone for me."

I'm glad she did. I'm glad she stuck to it... fifteen years later, her and Farmer Pete are happy as can be, and I consider him just like my dad.

It's just part of life today, of society... families blend and meld, there are step relations, half siblings and cousins by marriage everywhere. It's OK. It's not perfect- nothing about the high divorce rate is even close to perfect- but it happens.

As I've blogged before... life is love. I want that. I don't want to live a life where I sacrifice something that makes me feel complete for my children's supposed happiness.

I'm a believer in happy mum, happy kids. I know, that sounds like a cop out... but it's true. It's not an excuse to leave your kids with your mum while you go out every weekend, or drop them like inconveniences whenever a boyfriend comes first. Their feelings come first, their need and their emotions.

But in between all of that, all that consideration for my kids and their well being... there is room for me there too. There is room to do what I want to do, what I need to do... room to chase my heart, and still raise happy children.

I'm sure of it.

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Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

I think you are right !~! Happiness is fleeting; get it when you have it in front of you. It may not come around again for a very long time if ever.

Miss Pink said...

I firmly agree with you and your mothers stance.
I do think there is a line that some people may cross where they get too selfish about themselves and their kids suffer, but I agree that you shouldn't have to go without love in your life and someone to love and care for you in an intimate way vs. the bond mother and child share.
I know you will NEVER do anything to hurt your children. I am glad your reader had the courage to bring up the point with you though. I can see what she said was with love and concern so you wouldn't have many regrets looking back on this time. But I also know that the only person who will be able to tell if you're ready to move on and start dating is YOU, and you have a very fun healthy approach to this.

Shellye said...

Mrs. C. makes a great point. I know she wasn't trying to be offensive, and she's right. I also understand that you have needs. If you meet someone, as long as he understands that your children do and will always come first, you shouldn't have any problems. I'm quite certain that things can be balanced and compromise can be found.

All the best to you, Lori!

Amy xxoo said...

I've said it before and i'll say it again - for your kids to be truely happy, they need to have a happy mother who is secure in herself and her circumstances. If finding love again helps you to that then all the best to you lovey!

River said...

The most important thing you need to do is make sure that any man you choose, (even if you fall so hard in love), make sure he understands that you and the kids are a package deal. All of you should spend lots and lots of time together, doing family and kid type things. If that can't happen without him or one, (even both) of the kids being uncomfortable, then he isn't the right one. Apart from that bit of advice, I'd just say I understand where you're coming from, but don't rush it.

Shelley said...

Ive never been in your situation so its a bit hard to give advice (not that i am giving advice just my thoughts). I was in a relationship with a man many years ago and he left when i was 7 months pregnant. I was so hurt & shocked that it took 2 years for me to be on my own to even feel like dating again. When i did i met the most wonderful guy with the biggest heart and he loved my daughter like his own. The right guy is out there for you too and i believe he will find you (hope that makes sense). Only you know when you are ready and i know from reading your blog that you will put your children first. You deserve to be happy too and you can have both, be a good mum and be good to you at the same time Xx

Kellie said...

I absolutely, 100%, whole heartedly agree with everything you just said.
My partner is not my daughters father. He came along at a point in my life where I had spent so long being just S's Mum, and he made me feel like me again.
We are happy, we have a son now and we are a family.
Life IS love - and you deserve it all x

paul in melbourne said...

Firstly, it surprises me that anyone would take offence at this lady's view, it's not that odd and it's mostly about being careful.

But she's entitled to her opinion like anyone else.

And also I can't say I'd label it a 'baby boomer' generational thing either - I've NEVER heard such things expressed as a generational consensus or general group attitude or whatever.

I think you're just making a big assumption there based on your nan and this woman. It's just her personal view and it comes from a caring and concerned space, even though it's not sitting right with you.

There are NO rules for life, raising kids, relationships, anything. You see a lot of people judging others though, about all kinds of things. So, as long as your heart's in the right place Lori, or anyone else out there, just go for it the best way you know how. You might have to learn a few things on the way or you might not.

I've known some pretty good communities where the parenting of ALL the kids is shared by all the parents in the community.

And on a lighter note, to end, maybe suggest to your concerned poster to watch a few episodes of the Brady Bunch ! ( Though in real life, 'Greg' the eldest son in the show, was dating the actress who played his mum....but that's for another posting I think - don't tell her that bit )

You're ( we're ) here to learn how to love, so get learning.

Melissa said...

I'm glad she didn't offend you. Her comment bothered me because though I understood where she was coming from - it seems crazy to suggest (even for a second) that you might put your own needs ahead of the needs of your children.
I know it happens in the world, but I just don't see it happening with you.
I agree with you that you have to live and love - that finding happiness in your life won't be depriving your children of anything. When done properly - the opposite is likely to be true - as it was with you and your mother. A difficult adjustment requiring care - sure, but not impossible.

Sharon @ Hear Mum Roar said...

Sure, you have to be careful. You have to be careful with kids every single day you're a mother to them.

I trust your abilities and instincts as a mother, Lori. You know what you're doing and yes, you're a mother, but you're also you. You matter too.

Hanna said...

You go girl....I believe that you know what is best for you and your family right now. Good luck
best wishes

Rhonda said...


I was a single mom for 8 years and I eventually came to realize that if I made the right decision for me it would be right for my son. Just because we are mom's it doesn't mean that we have given up the right to have wants and needs and you deserve to have them met. Happy mom's have happy kids it really is that simple. It is clear that your children are your heart and soul. When you do what is right for you, you are doing what is right for them. Life is for living. While our children are our world and will always come first they too will grow and have lives of their own. They cannot be your entire life it is not fair to them and certainly not fair to you. Wishing you the best of luck as you begin this next chapter in your life. You deserve to be happy, to be loved and cherished.

Crystal said...

I can only imagine how hard it is to strike that balance between making sure your kids get all they need while making sure you save a little something just for yourself, too. I'm right with you, though, when you say "happy mum, happy kids" - I have always believed that the most nurturing environment for a child is one in which his/her parent(s) are fulfilled and happy, and I also believe that this can be achieved with no detriment to the child (14-year-old guilt trips notwithstanding! Lol...).

Stephanie said...

I am divorced. It was a devastating time period for me and I made the BEST decision in leaving the father of my children. But everyday after I made the decision at least one person {usually a member of my ex's family} would make some comment about how moving on would be the most SELFISH thing I could do to my children. Four years later I'm with the love of my life and every day he reminds me that our love is partly due to our mutual respect for what my kids and what they went through. People try to help when they mention that as a mother you need to "look out for the kids." Just're somebody's child as well.

Anonymous said...

You are so correct!! Do what makes you happy. How could your children not benefit from being in a loving home, with hopefully a father figure that loves them as much as you do? And wants the best for them? I am quite certain there are some great guys that would love to love you and your family. I am sure of it! :) Lisa

Brooke Farmer said...

AMEN. I have recently faced similar criticism although under very different circumstances. Happy mum, happy kids, indeed. I wish my mother had allowed herself to be happy.

Karen said...

It's fine balancing act. I would pursue happiness, love, laughter and validation that I'm still worthy of love too. I just wouldn't introduce anyone new to my kids before I was sure certain criteria were met first.

My sister is a single mum, has been since my niece was born (she's now 24) and sadly her daughter grew up not knowing whom she'd meet when she woke up the next morning...It used to make me so upset that she exposed her daughter to loads of men (some of whom could've been pedophiles! I HOPE NOTHING EVER HAPPENED!)

My sister continues to flit from one man to the next, never able to hold onto one.

Sadly my niece, at a tender age (early teenage years), thought it perfectly normal to solicit sex from 36 year olds. Her and her friend would literally do sordid acts to drunken louts asleep on the couch for 'fun'....Promiscuity was a way of life for her mum, hence it became hers too. Neither of them respect themselves and it tears me up inside to see that. In fact, my sister and I have been estranged since 2005.... :(

It's a fine juggling act. One I hope you will do great at. I wish for you to find happiness and love again.

Hugs xoxo

Kelloggsville said...

I wrote this a while back:

prompted by a case in the papers here.

It is important that you are allowed to be you, not just mum, but there are also some things to take an extra bit of care over. It worked out ok for me, it will do for you too. Enjoy the journey of new relationships xxx

Donna said...

Couldnt agree more abut the happy mummy equals happy kiddies. They will certainly benefit from you opening yourself up for anything.

You'll know what to do to make it work, trust your instincts all the way x

Sheri Bomb said...

I totally agree. I am a child of divorce and when my parents both moved on and met new partners it was difficult at first and I experienced all those same feelings but those new partners made them happy. And by being happy, my parents were nicer to be around and life seemed to flow much easier. And now there is no longer a hole in my life, in fact I have double the amount of parental figures to love me, help me and give me advice. Pretty rad really :)

OurGangof7 said...

You are right, there is room for both. Your kids are young and I believe that as long as you handle it carefully and include them in your choices, ask them if they like the guy you meet, truly listen to them as well as your heart I don't think anything bad will come of it.

You will be able to judge how any man reacts to your children and you will just know if he will be the right one to stand by you and your kids. Just sit back sometimes and watch the interaction between him and the kids, it won't take long to work out whether he would be a good fit in your lives.
You deserve to be happy Lori and in the end, only you can be the judge of when you are ready. Follow your heart!

Catherine Dabels said...

Happy mum, happy kids? Yes yes yes. There is room and if it's done properly everyone can benefit and be happy. You seem to know what you're doing. Keep on keeping on sister.

Sophie said...

Absoultely! Happy mum, happy kids. Good on ya, Lori. x

LadyMunchkinio said...

Hi Lori,
my mom divorced my dad when I was 3. When I was 5 my mom met Andy,who became my stepfather and was amazing.
When I was 17,we discovered he had a rare type of tumor,the dr's gave him 6 months,he lived for 10 years! Papa,as I called him decided that he did not want my mom to become a carer as the tumor slowly ate away at him and he committed suicide 2 years ago. We were devastated.
My mom has recently started dating again, I am very proud of her and you too. No one knows that loneliness, I know what its like to be without a 'book club partner' and someone to argue if there is life on other planets,but I don't know what its like to lose a spouse (esp through suicide)
I wish you all the best!xx

Anonymous said...

Hi Lori,

My husband lost his father at age eight. Two years later his Mom met and married his (step)Dad. While my husband shares no genetic makeup with this man and does not share the same last name, his (step)Dad raised my husband and his older sister as his own children (he also brought his two daughters, my husbands younger sisters) into the marriage. There are no lines to blur, this man is my husband's father. He may be a "one in a million" but is proof that these kinds of men DO exist. And I think they exist in far more cases than what Mrs. C realizes. (I'm not intending to flame her in any way with this comment, just to be clear on that.) There ARE many kindhearted and loving men in the world who will "accept" another man's children as their own. When you are ready to find one of these men, you will. I think you are doing a remarkable job and I continue to be amazed by your strength and perserverence.

WilAma4 said...

This may sound awful. My husband is alive and I adore him with everything I have inside me and never want to lose him but... but... but I know it could happen. It has happened to you, it has happened to other friends at very young ages (not that 47 is young but i consider myself in my prime)... I know I could never go it alone and I look around me sometimes and I think "well if --- were gone I think that guy might work out for a date or two... hmmmm. Just keeps me sane to acknowledge that I'm human, alive and I can feel the love...

Anonymous said...

20 years from now, I wonder what your children would say about what they'd want you to do.

30 years from now, I wonder what life lessons they will cherish?

What will they say to your GRANDCHILDREN about how you were a survivor who was brave to love again?

You are showing them that while there may be a few very nasty weeds in the garden of life, there will always be a place to nurture many delectable plants with an abundance of color and a treasure trove of new tastes.

Anonymous said...

Such incredibly strong feelings, and thoughts, of all sorts, whooshing all through my system right now, knowing that I 'owe' an email. Thoughts that are somehow hard to just put down to the keyboard, as I sit down for a short while now. Through it all, I just have these prevailing convictions, so strong, that they cannot be challenged...that you are someone quite exceptional, that your head is overwhelmingly in the right place, and that you are exquisitely loveable, and that the magic that is going to happen will just take your two little ones up along with it. You have enough magic and charisma for everyone around you.
The universe, or is it karma, or kismet, deeply respects and loves someone with your values and approach.
These forces, borne of the person you inherently are, and not of the circumstances you've been through, are unstoppable. The momentum is's all going to happen for you.
You'll see.

vintageness said...

Lori you are so brave putting it out there. I cringe at the prospect of telling me what I "should" do and I admire the way you respond. Even though our circumstances are different what you are going through resonates with me.

Stranger Than Fiction aka Yeran said...

My philosophy: Happy mum = Happy kids. True story ;-)

Lisa said...

It's tough Lori. What makes you happy may not make them happy. And vice versa. And that's life.

As a divorced mum who has had three relationships since the break up of my marriage 9 years ago, my experience is that mum's happiness is ok, so long as it doesn't encroach on the happiness {life, time, feelings of self-worth, whatever really} of the kids regardless of their age. Funnily enough their dad has been married and divorced and married again since... doesn't appear to have anywhere near the effect on the kids tho...

Take care of yourself but tread carefully. It is an almost impossible balance.

And it's true. No-one will ever feel the way you do about your kids. And you will never feel the same way about someone else's kids. That's a fact. Just deal with it. All the best to you! xx

Allison said...

You are doing it the right way.

My parents divorced when I was 9. My brother and I stayed with my Dad, and my Mom went on to live a selfish life for the rest of our childhood. Sure, she paid for things and took us every weekend, but we were never again FIRST.

That is not the way to do it. But plenty of Moms do move on, and they do it right, with equal importance placed on romantic love, and love for the kids.

Anonymous said...

To those of you who read my words in the spirit of their meaning, Thank you.
To Lori, who has handled this so well, thank you.
To those who were offended, I have never believed I have the power or the right to "tell someone what to do" but if we cannot offer advice from experience, or food for thought what use is community?
I do not see Lori as a careless parent, but someone who is fragile and vulnerable and grieving that precious relationship that made sense of everything. I hope above all that she will be given love again and that her children will have the role model they deserve.
I guess my primary concern is how ready people are at present to put themselves 'out there' and expose their vulnerabilities which I feel is definitely an 'age related' issue and maybe one I do not understand.
On the bright side, I was delighted that so many have found love, security and contentment in second relationships. This world overall, is a good place
Mrs. C
PS I only comment as anonymous because I don't understand the 'account' thingy. Another 'age' issue.

Zoey @ Good Googs said...

You are more than capable of putting the children first and having a loving relationship. Briefly, I had a stepfather. It was two years, but it felt longer and it was abusive and that's when my mum had a decision to make where she put me first, as she had always done. But that's an exception, not the rule. You will reward your beautiful children in ways you can't possibly even imagine by seeking out happiness yourself.

Aimee said...

Lori - keep your heart open for love, true love. Only the type of love that gives you butterflies, that makes you feel complete. Only this love will make you truly happy, and in time your kids.
My parent divorced when I was 11. Mum never dated again. She shut herself off from love.
My mum passed away 1 yr ago at the age of 53... So young. But in a strange way it makes me feel at peace that I do not have to watch her grow old alone. All alone once my sisters had moved out and had families of their own.
We all deserve to be loved. To have someone to share our last days with.
Keep your heart open and it will come.

Rhonda said...

I think there is a balance to be found and lately I have met several men who are raising other men's children and you would never know if you weren't told that they hadn't always been that kids dad.

I was a single mom for a long time before I met my husband, and I couldn't always strike a balance. Some men thought I should put them first, and they quickly learned that wasn't happening. A few times I lost sight of that, it happens. My son is okay and your kids will be as well.

You just have to do what feels right for you and your family.

B said...

I don't understand why people took offence to Mrs C's comment. She was posting with pure intentions and her words are wise, I am in my 30's and could have written exactly what she did, so it's not a generation thing in my opinion.

I understand that alot of this blog's followers are fond and protective of Lori (as am I!) but we also need to respect other people's opinions when the intention behind those opinions is good and they only want the best for all concerned.

marketingtomilk said...

I have respect for your reader for saying, with obvious care, something quite difficult and out of step with the rest of your readers. Not because I agree with her (i don't - i believe every situation is different, and you are the best judge, grief and all), but because i think honest discussion is helpful and honest. i think it helps us re-evaluate our own decisions and make us more determined that we are right (or change our minds - which is again a very good thing. I think you've shown by your response that you know your own mind and have thought things through.


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