Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Introducing your partner to the kids(14 Posts)
We've been together almost a year. I wanted to be sure it was serious etc and we've had a few wobbles and stuff we are working on. But now I wonder if I've left it really late...
My kids are 4 and 7. My partner has no kids, so has no experience of this side of my life. I'm worried it will all fall apart once we start getting the kids involved and it breaks my heart.
I made a comment the other day after we'd spent a lovely weekend together about 'going back to real life' and it upset him, as in he felt like I was saying he wasn't my real life and I wasn't serious about him. It's not that at all. I love him. I'm being really, really selfish I know- but being with him has become my escape from 'Mum life'. When we're together it takes me back to a time before kids. Nice meals out, weekend trips away, staying up late, lazy Sunday lie ins... Obviously this is on weekends I don't have the kids so this could still continue, but I feel things will just change so much.
I have such conflicting feelings about it. I feel like such a shitty person. I love my kids and I love being with them. I love him and I love being with him. But I struggle with the idea of them coming together. I have made a point of keeping them so separate to protect my kids, but now feel maybe that was detrimental.
While I can picture us all being a family, as a fantasy in my head, I really have no idea how it would actually be. What if he realises he doesn't want/cant handle this part of my life? What if the kids don't warm to him? What if he doesn't like the 'Mum' side of me?! These things stress me out so much and I feel I really need to start getting some indication of whether this relationship is going somewhere or if I need to let go.
And how would he fit in the family full time further down the line? What would his role be? I feel like I wouldn't want to put any parenting responsibility on him. I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable with him disciplining the kids etc. The way my ex husband acted and spoke to the kids has probably impacted how I feel about this. But I feel very protective over them and can imagine arguements if he didn't handle a situation in the way I would have. I feel I might be quite possessive over them being MY kids. But if he was living with us, surely there has to be some element of responsibility for them?
He is very keen to meet them and respects that it's my decision but after my stupid comment the other day I feel he's maybe getting to the point of either we're doing this or we're not. We have talked about things quite a lot and he does also want a child of his own. So I do feel there's a bit of time pressure to see if this can all work out before we start thinking about adding a baby to the mix.
I guess these are things I need to find out sooner rather than later. It'll be make or break. We can't just go on forever having a part time relationship around the kids. Do I just go for it and start taking baby steps..?
I understand your predicament - kind of from the other side, as I don't have kids, but DP does, so I was kind of in your DP's shoes! It's difficult to define a role, and I completely get why you wanted to take things slow and protect your kids - but a year is relatively serious, and it's not fair on him to be your escape or 'part time' partner - if you see a future together, he needs to be a full part of your life... and that inevitably means your kids lives too. It sounds like he's serious about you, but he won't ever be a serious part of your "real-life" until you let him in? And it's the stage in a relationship where you probably would be thinking of next-steps etc, if you are serious about him. From his point of view, with no kids, a year into a new relationship you might be thinking of moving in, etc.
You're obviously some way off that, and moving forward should be 100% on your timescales, but it sounds like he's been pretty respectful of that so far? And his relationship with your kids will develop naturally.
When I first met DP's DS, I would never have wanted to give him into trouble or do anything that would be at all 'parental' - I was very keen to make sure both DP and DSS were comfortable with me and our dynamic, and not step on any toes!! A few years on, we live together, and it's my house too - so DP has been supportive of me doing more chastising where I feel appropriate, and I now feel entirely entitled and justified to do that as he is living with me - though for anything big I still go through DP, and it's taken us a long time to get to that point! Sometimes DP might not agree with me, and those are things we talk about away from DSS - but we are generally a united front, as he realises that's only fair.
I am certain if he felt I was ever out of order or unreasonable with DSS he would speak to me about it, I respect that in the end it's up to him to choose how to parent and I might not agree with it all, so I know my place there - and I know we wouldn't be together if I wasn't respectful and loving to DSS and DSS and I didn't have the good relationship we do have.
It's workable with a bit of compromise on both sides - you have to remember he doesn't have kids, and it is difficult for someone without kids to adjust to a life of what is essentially taking on a parental role, much as you may try to avoid that or even just avoid calling it that! You having kids is already impacting his life, even without him having met them! He might not be able to deal with it, it is hard - but also he may make your mum-life much better / easier as a support system at home, and more romantic interventions in your everyday life?! Sounds like he's earned a chance at it at least.
And if you do end up living together etc, while you're still their mum, he'll be a big part of their upbringing too, and will likely have an input or opinion on things, especially if he's a close part of their lives, that you might not always agree with - but you should learn to listen to respectfully. Conversely, he will need to remember they're not his kids, he's not their dad, and the final say is essentially yours. You can't keep these elements of your life separate forever - though I appreciate why you'd want to try! If you want a serious relationship more than a casual escape, you need to let him in.
P.S. DSS was 6 when we got together, he's 12 now. Baby steps at the beginning is fine! Go on a day out together maybe rather than inviting him over - do a fair or the zoo or something fun. Take it from there. He doesn't need to be immediately there every night or lounging around your house.
I also do understand his desire for kids of his own too - are you time pressured for that? Is he looking for that sooner rather than later, or body-clock wise?
Also - last thing! Don't worry about him seeing you as a 'mum'. One of the things I loved particularly early on with DP was how good a dad he was.
And I obviously don't have kids, but I had an ex who said he saw a maternal side in me when he was hurt once, and just got a wave of love thinking about how good a mum I'd be. It doesn't need to be a negative thing!
Thanks for your comments Yes, was thinking of park/zoo type thing. Bit awkward in current situation- but I'm sure we can find something!
I know I have been putting it off but I now feel I really need to know how he is around the kids & 'Mum me' and if this can work, otherwise it's just wasting both our time.
Time thing re another baby is just my age.. I'm late 30's. I know I have a few years but I'd rather try sooner rather than later if we're going to do it.
I think it’s too soon to be thinking about having a baby with someone you have only known for less than a year. I also question the “wobbles and things we are working on”
Are these the issues you mention or other things?
If you have only fairly recently split up with the kids dad ie last 2 years say then the kids might not want their mum to have another baby with a “new dad” or will at least need a good period to get used to him.
Is their dad still seeing them ?
I think you maybe want different things. You a nice relationship that is separate from your life as a mum and him more commitment.
You have to be careful with decisions when you are in the first 18m as the “love feelings” can mess up rational thinking.
What are the issues you’re facing?
Aside from that, and I know this isn’t the norm to say this here, but IMO a year is to long to wait, I would generally advise after about six months precisely because of the fears you’re talking about. In a year a relationship has become pretty defined, you are a couple, but that’s it. If you don’t bring the kids into the mix then it can go no further.
if after a year you’re not ready to introduce him to the DC then I would suggest that maybe this relationship isn’t the one for you..
Its a really hard decision isn’t it.
I had a limit of six months for him meeting my son as I was worried about ‘wasting’ more time on someone if he didn’t get on well with my son. You haven’t left it too late, there isn’t a universal right time.
I can be a little bit possessive about my son, there is also the added complexity in him being adopted.
My son (4 at the time) had heard about him a few times, they accidentally met at the park one day, but my son ran off so I couldn’t take advantage and get the first meet over with. They met properly for the first time at a petting zoo, lots of distractions, no pressure to really interact etc and my boyfriend could just leave after an hour or so. He essentially ignores people the first few times he meets them, so it was important that my boyfriend generally was just there rather than trying to actively interact with him etc.
We now live together and there have been bumpy moments when things we haven’t fully considered have happened but we recently settled into a good routine (just as he had to leave for 4-6 weeks to have surgery 🤦🏽).
I think its almost impossible to completely avoid taking on a parenting type role. For example if he is doing laundry he does darks that are in the basket, he doesn’t do darks and leave my sons darks in the basket etc.
He doesn’t discipline, obviously if he does something thats obviously wrong he will remove him from the situation and fetch/shout me, but he of course wouldn’t set a punishment, expectations etc. The only time he does any discipline etc is the rare occasion he has looked after my son on his own for short periods.
Hes got quite a good balance of playing with him etc, but at the same time not taking any crap and withdrawing himself from the fun if my son decides to be a bit of a bugger.
We have a ‘grand plan’ and we’re aware that as it progresses his role will slightly and slowly change. Hopefully in the future we will adopt together, if that happens you can’t really have a child only being parented by one of the adults while the other child is parented by both.
A year is good. Really wise. Don’t overthink it.
When you’re ready, I’d suggest something simple that doesn’t take too long. So maybe not a day out straight away.
It’s hard right now as so many places are shut. How about ice cream in the park and some playground time? Then next time maybe he comes back for tea, too? Build up to a day out.
We're not thinking of having a baby right now. I'm just aware that he wants his own child in the future. So if that is going to happen down the line, I think it's time to move things along in terms of him meeting the kids etc. I do want to take it really slow with them, so just to meet at first etc. Occasionally hanging out with us on trips out etc. I see it as a long process and I wouldn't consider having a baby until we lived together which again, is not something we're planning anytime soon. But it's just the starting of the process of moving in that direction to see if it can work.
And yes we've had some other issues recently which has made me want to see how he is around the kids... (I get maybe this is the worst thing to be doing but if they just meet a few times and it doesn't work out with him, then it's not really going to impact the kids as in kids aren't attached- it was just Mummys friend hanging out with us sometimes)
Maybe you're right and we do want different things... but I dont want a 'part time' relationship forever. And I don't want to continue in this way, getting deeper feelings, for it all to end in heartbreak.
Yes- completely agree about the relationship being defined. That's how I feel it is- us as a couple. And us as a couple with my kids seems like a whole new overwhelming scenario which makes me feel like they should have been involved much earlier on....
It's not so much that I'm not ready for them to meet, more that im scared of it all going wrong and how it will change our relationship.
Thanks for the suggestions and your experiences. I'm going to sort something out..
Totally get it's harder at the moment with the current situation to plan something!
It is a big jump from not being sure if you want him to meet your kids to having a new baby together... I can see why you're stressed out with it!
Try not to overthink. You've been together a year, it is a long time but not too long. You obviously really like him and can see a future if you are talking about a baby etc. Let him meet your kids slowly, and see how things go. It will be a learning curve and you won't work things out perfectly right away - there isn't a right way to blend a family!
For what it's worth, your kids sound young enough that they'll likely be pretty accepting as long as he makes the effort with them. Though caveat to that is their relationship with their dad I guess.
As a previous poster said - you can't really move forward longer term without accepting his need to take on some element of a parental role with them - I tried hard not to go there, but I'm also now doing DSS washing / cooking, dealing with moods & strops, tidying up after him, dropping him at football, etc etc.... it's all part of living together as a single team / family unit, and that includes as an adult being able to say, eh, hold on, I don't think so! At some behaviour. You need to understand what you're asking of your DP, it's not really possible not to ask him to take on that role and be with you? But equally he'll be aware he's not DC's dad and should revert to you where he needs to.
Bringing a new baby into things is a different dynamic again - you can't have one rule for your kids and another for new baby, so he'll be more involved again in your kids upbringing, as he'll have a right to co-parent new baby with you. It depends how protective you are over his involvement with your current DC's - I don't think rushing into a new baby is a good idea, but do understand the time pressures. Maybe once they get to know him, speak to DC's about how they'd feel about a new baby bro or sis? We did this and now are being hassled by DSS as to why it's not happened yet! 😂🙈🤷🏻♀️ You might find things move quite quickly once you take the meeting / getting to know each other steps - this seems like a big thing holding your relationship back at the moment. Good luck!
Children adjust quickly, a year seems sensible for an introduction, just a casual meet up, local park and take it from there. Good luck OP
And yes we've had some other issues recently which has made me want to see how he is around the kids...
This jumped out at me. What are the ‘issues’?
I would think through teh other issues ... and also just because he says he would like kids one day doesnt mean that has to happen for you?
do you really want to go through the baby stages again in a couple of years say? why I think you need to be very clear that you woudl want all of that and the commitmant it entails and the impact on your current DC - would you need to move change their schools etc..
personally not sure whats wrong with maintaing a weekend relationship especially as you have had wobbles in just a year of that - should be the honeymoon period ...