Women seem to always have a checklist of things that they will or will not tolerate from a man. You know those things that are our non-negotiables. One of my personal favorites are "I am NOT dating a man with kids." Somehow that is all I found myself being in relationships with. In my past relationships I didn't have to assume a parental role. I really had no voice in making life-changing decisions. This made my relationships with the men easy. I never engaged in "baby mama drama" and I told myself "Sherrell, we are not equipped to raise anyone else's child or even have the heart to love them as if they are mine. Smooth sailing right? Fast forward to the older me, more mature me, more equipped me I now have the responsibility of a child I did not birth. Society says that being in a relationship with man/woman you are suppose to love and care for their child as if it is yours. How do you do this if your heart is not in it immediately? You don't know how to love or even care like you are "suppose" to.
When I first met Black I had been single for about a year. Gabby's father and I were no longer together so I was just dating here and there, nothing serious. I made sure to never bring a man around her if it wasn't serious. I was successful with that until Black. The way our relationship was going I was ready to introduce him to her. We had been spending a lot of time together and honestly, I had fallen in love with him. He was also at the point where he was finally ready for me to meet Blake. The initial months were rough. Gabby hated him. She would see him and immediately cry. She hated his glasses, his laugh, the shape of his head and his very existence. That hurt me so much because like I stated I was in love with him. Can you imagine being in this position? The one thing I never did was force her to like him. I wanted her to get to know him for herself. My mind was always racing and thinking he is going to get tired of this and just leave me alone. I was wrong. He was so patient with her. He gave her space but not too much. He wanted to make sure she knew that he wasn't there to take Mommy away from her but to only make me happy. This went on for a whole year almost 2. She finally came around to liking him which quickly turning into her loving him as if he was her own Dad. They are inseparable and have the cutest little inside jokes. She will even talk to him about something before she talks to me. Though this blows me it s a great thing!
In the beginning, I didn't have to deal with things like Black had to deal with from Gabby. Of course he was older so he was a little more receptive of what was happening. Blake and I had to deal with learning each other's personality later on in our relationship. Once it hit him that I was going to be in his life longer than he had expected, that's when he started to show that he wasn't that interested in this new change as much. Black asked me to help him with lake and to not be hesitant about being a part of Blake's village. There was my voice I didn't have in the other relationships. Blake would soon learn that I was more strict with discipline, chores etc. This can be a major change for a child that is not use to someone being down their back about cleaning up, speaking when you come in the house etc. He took me teaching him these things as me not liking him or being mean. I would always and still enforce that this is me teaching you responsibility. It was frustrating for me, one because I don't have the patience my Husband has and two because it was hard to have a playful relationship with him when I was constantly telling him to do certain things. In my heart I did grow to love him but I showered him more with responsibility and firm discipline. This was a serious shock to him. I'm sure it would make anyone feel like that person does not like them. In my mind I wanted to be whatever my Husband lacked in and that was discipline at the time. My relationship with Blake would soon get better, it had to!
THE OTHER PARENT
We made a decision that we would both introduce ourselves to the other parent once we knew IT was real. I was extremely nervous because I didn't know what to expect. Black and I both had been co-parenting prior to us dating. The kids other parents were important in our decisions to meet. Once everyone met it was a huge relief that they both understood that Black and I will play a major role in the kids lives. We made sure that they knew that all of our decisions are based on the betterment of the children. We don't have to become best friends but we will maintain a cordial relationship so the kids see that we are mature and we can all get along. This makes a hue difference because if they see "baby mama/daddy" drama they would never respect the step or as we say "Bonus parent". We make sure that they both know what's going on before we finalize any decisions. It's an act of respect for them, their feelings and their parental obligations to the kids. We may not always agree but work hard to understand where the other parent is coming from so there's no arguing or unnecessary stress in our decision making for the kids. Our main goal as far the other parents are concerned is to RESPECT them and honor their position while keeping the child's best interest at heart NO MATTER WHAT!
BLACK AND SHERRELL PARENTING
This has been the hardest hurdle in our relationship. We are both damn good parents. We came into the relationship with different childhoods and different beliefs when it came to raising kids. The thing we had to learn the most is that WE ARE A TEAM no matter what in front of the kids. If we disagree, that can happen in the privacy of us with them no where in sight. If we show them that we are not on the same page when it came to raising them they would take advantage and try to play us against each other. NO ONE is having that! This took some time. As I stated earlier I am much more strict than Black. He has the patience to sit and talk to the kids and find out emotionally why you are acting up in school all week as for me I'm like, "PUNISHED". In order for our parenting tactics to work we had to find a median and talk to each other about the way we felt about our methods. It got so bad that we had to go to counseling because we just weren't hearing each other. Our counselor had to show us that we wanted the same thing for the kids we just took a different road to give it to them. We also had to be COMPLETELY honest about how we were feeling about the kids. This was hard because sometimes you have to hear your faults as a parent and no one wants to hear what you're doing wrong as a parent. However, you know that this person loves you deeply and also loves your child so they can't be doing this to hurt the child or you. MOST times we as parents have to get out of our feelings and be open to constructive criticism on how we can be a better parent. We spoil our kids, let them manipulate us, lie to us and some times we don't even see it. So to hear someone tell you that YOUR child is doing this can be HARD to hear and you immediately become defensive because you're offended. We had to really pray about not getting offended and just listening to each other because it is all done with love.
We still have trials and tribulations but we work hard to show love, respect and have a LOT of fun with each other. I hope this read helps!
Until next time Mom's and KEEP MOMMING IT!!