How to Date with Kids


Ah, the maternal looking femme. A model mother.

Dare I talk about this? I feel like a bit of a pariah in my community. I have … two kids. The death knell, I think, for dating. Sure, I know there are lots of lesbians with kids. But, these are mostly married or seriously committed partners who had kids together. That is no longer me – hasn’t been for a while.

It would be bad enough if I was a lovely, maternal looking femme. All soft and fluffy. Perhaps even driving a mini-van (shudder) or some sort of giant Tahoe and wearing a pink cashmere sweater. You know the kind of woman I am talking about? She is a perfect mother. Always has gum, never forgets water for the kid’s practices, can do a perfect French braid. Nurturing. You see her and it’s easy to see her as a mom.

But that’s not me. Nope. I am, in case you haven’t read anything else I have written, a big butch. A proud butch. I’ve got a Mohawk – check that little avatar over there. That’s me. People are ALWAYS surprised that I have kids. So, here I am, a big butch. I get it. I don’t really even talk that much here about having kids. There are several reasons for that. First, it’s not sexy. Second, it’s not always funny (sometimes, sure). And, third, I want to protect them. I am the writer opening myself up to scrutiny, not them.

Speaking of writers, a couple of months ago, my idol Butch Wonders *butch swoon* posted a great piece about dating a woman with kids. I’d like to talk about it from the other side. Here I am starting to date. Out and about. Ready to be suave and charming (don’t laugh, I’ll try hard and try hard not to look like I am trying hard!). And, I have all these questions about my kids and Her – that’s what I’ve nicknamed any woman I might approach or date. Pretty clever, I know.

1. When Do I Tell Her?

Oh, yes. Very, very smooth.

Oh, yes. Very suave and charming.

First and foremost, when is the right time to tell Her that I’ve got kids? Do I walk up, buy Her a drink, and as I am handing Her the Cosmo say, “I’ve got kids!” No. Clearly not. Turn off. What? Am I asking Her to marry me? But, how long do I wait? If She comes home with me, She will immediately see evidence of children. If not, it could be kept a bit. Not much more than a few days though, practically, because of my kid obligations. “Butch, let’s go to a movie this weekend.” Oh, I’m sorry, but… I, uh, can’t.” Why? Do I bust out the T-ball/martial arts/chorus practice reason?

I joke, and obviously I need to tell Her relatively quickly, but when? I don’t want Her to think that I am thinking so long-term that She has to be on board with kids now. What if we are just having a bit of fun?

2. When Do I Introduce Her?

My instinct here is pretty strongly that this doesn’t happen until I am very serious about Her. My kids have been through a divorce (from their mom) and the loss of my now-ex gorgeous fiancé. The kids love them both. I don’t think it’s fair to introduce a new Her every couple of months. Kids fall for people pretty quickly, and I don’t want Hers coming in and out of their lives too much.

The problem is that I can see this being a real sticking point with Her. “Don’t you love me?” Yes, I do (at some point, right?). “Well, why can’t I meet your kids?” I want to wait until the time is right. “When will that be?” Gosh, I just don’t know.

3. How Involved Is She Supposed To Be?

Assuming I haven’t scared every Her away, and we’ve moved on to being in love and introductions, what is Her role? My belief is that, although kids can never have too many adults in their lives who love them, they only need so many parents. As I said in Wanted: Femme for Butch, my kids don’t need another mother – they already have 3.

I want Her to be a good role model. I want Her to be kind. I want Her to be happy to see them and spend time with them. But, I don’t want Her so attached that She wants to take over my role. I will handle the care and feeding of my munchkins. She gets to be a happy bystander for the hard stuff, and hopefully, a willing participant in the good stuff.

4. Is It Alright If My Kids Know I am Sleeping With Her, or a Variety of Hers?


Would that I dated often enough to actually have one of these…

Being a shy and proper butch, I am very concerned about my kids knowing that I am committing cardinal sins with Her (or a variety of Hers). Cough. Anyway, religion out of it, I don’t really want my kids thinking about this. We haven’t had the birds and the bees talk yet, so I think I am safe for a while. My point really is that if I date, I don’t want my kids to see a revolving door – regardless of how frequently that door actually revolves. Anyone have any WD-40?

Interestingly enough, my kids gave me the perfect opening to discuss this with them recently. Both of them are pressuring me to get a girlfriend – which if you think about it is adorable and kind of hilarious. Why, guys? “We just want you to have one.” Anyway, when they said this a week or so ago, I jumped at the chance to talk about dating. I said that I was ready to date, and indeed was out and about having fun. I told them that I was going to keep them from the details, that I might start seeing someone and not introduce Her. My daughter was shocked and said, “You are going to date behind our backs?”

I laughed and said, “No, I am going to date right in front of you. I’m just not going to introduce you to anyone for a while.” Why? I explained that I didn’t know when I might find the Her that would be in my life (and, thus, their lives) for a period of time, and I didn’t think it fair to introduce them to a bunch of women. Now, I realize that I might be making myself out to be a real ladies man here, and sadly, this is really not the case. But, hopefully, you get the point. The kids seemed to accept this, although they didn’t like it.

I wish I had a crystal ball the moment I meet Her. One where I could gaze at it and peer into the future. If I could see that She will be in my life a year later, two years later, of course I would introduce Her to the kids. But, how do I know?

One Her to Rule them All

One Her to Rule them All

As lucky as I would be to find the One True Her (the one to rule them all) right out of the gate, I think that is unrealistic. Of course, if the Universe sends me the Femme from my Want Ad, I suppose all bets are off. But still, when do I introduce Her to my kids? Help me out, friends.

It’s butch to protect your kids, isn’t it? Be Butch.

About Tristan Higgins, aka Butch Jaxon

I am a butch. This blog is about what I think. If you do not know what butch means, you are probably on the wrong blog. In the interests of inclusion, though, I can tell you that “butch” means a lesbian that is big, strong, tough, more macho, less girly. Of course, there are no hard and fast rules – which is an ongoing theme in my blog (and in the comments), but those are the basics. A butch will most likely not wear makeup. A butch is often referred to as “sir” by someone who is not paying attention. What else? I am, after all, not just a butch. I am happily married to the most amazing woman ever, and the mother of two fantastic kids. I am also a lover of, in no particular order, beer, bow ties, breasts, movies, hiking, bookstores, travel, dogs, geocaching, polar bears, the gym, music, gadgets, and more. By day, I am an intrepid corporate entertainment lawyer. Although I try hard not to be labeled as such – sporting a bleached Mohawk, for example. Think more entertainment and less corporate. By night, bring it all on! In my blog, I talk about things from a butch perspective, but this is not just for butches. We all love our femmes. Please do not let me offend femmes, mine in particular! If you like what you read here, I hope you will comment and let me know what you think. If you do not like what you read, well, what the hell do I care? Start your own blog. Be Butch. View all posts by Tristan Higgins, aka Butch Jaxon

14 responses to “How to Date with Kids

  • Alice

    Hi Butch,

    In this mommy femme’s humble opinion, you tell Her about the kids in the getting to know you stage of dating… “Have you ever been married?” “Yes, and we have two kids together.” It should come out naturally in the conversation. Any Her that you plan on dating should know up front that you have family commitments – I’m all for up front honesty. If she balks, you know right away that this Her is not who you want in the long run.

    As for introductions, that’s a little tougher. The loving, caring, understanding Her that you want a long-term relationship with will understand that you, as a loving and caring mom, must protect your kids. She should be willing to wait until you and Her are both comfortable that your dating may turn into more than just dating before meeting the kids. I would see major red flags if she pushes too hard to be introduced when you are not ready for introductions yet. Also, you have to understand that introduction day will be a big day for Her as well. And, when the day comes, have the meeting on neutral but kid-friendly territory (i.e. picnic in park) where the kids can run around and be kids and your Her can either observe or join in as she is comfortable.

    As far as how involved your Her will become, that is up to you to set those boundaries. I think this would be discussed before the introductions are made. She may just want to be the “fun aunt” and not discipline at all, where you may prefer she not let the kids “run wild” and help with discipline if you aren’t around.

    So, let the femme know you have kids up front. Wait a bit to see if the dating may develop into more and discuss what Her role might be with the kids. Then, when you are both ready, introduce the kids to Her in a kid friendly neutral environment.

    That’s my two-cents worth.


  • gg

    This is an issue I am also having. I am a single mother with four girls and I have been finding it extremely difficult to be open to the possibility of letting someone in, to commit to anyone. My girls, like yours, have been wanting me to start dating again. But I just can’t seem to bring anyone else into our family unit. They had a very hard time with my separation from my ex partner, I don’t want them to go through that again. Plus, I don’t want to bring different women in and out of their lives. It’s been four years since my partner and I have been separated and she is still a part of their lives. This has made it difficult for some women to understand so I tell them if they can’t understand that my ex is a part of my life for my girls “only”, then it’s not going to work. I am not willing to settle for anything less then what we deserve. One of my friends told me that my standards are too high. but when you have children, shouldn’t they be?? I don’t want the perfect person, but I want the perfect person for us. Someone that can fit into our family with ease and it not to be forced. Someone that is understanding and not pushy. It’s hard being a single mom and wondering if letting someone in and dating again or being single until they are out of the house is the best thing for them. This is something that I struggle with. It would be nice to find a butch that can fit into our world, but the truth is it’s not easy to find what you are looking for out there. Either way, I am happy with my girls and they are enough for me. I would just like for them to understand that..:)


  • jchick7

    Well at least you’re getting out there. I’ve pretty much been avoiding dating for a long time now. My kid is two, so she’s a lot to handle at the moment, much more than lesbians my age are ready to deal with. May just have to go looking for a hot cougar 😛


  • Cole LEGEND

    It’s been four years and my dollbaby and I got together when one of her two children and both of mine were in their teens (mine still are, but now live with their dad). Of course, I felt like I had to prove I wasn’t a “bisexual, stud-wanna-be, half-a-fag” and fortunately for me, she wasn’t looking for one; so, it worked and works. We had waaayyy more in common than we would have had I been childless. Empathy comes more easily, even today. I don’t look like anybody’s mother either, and I sometime worry that even the two beautiful and amazing boys that I pushed out don’t recognize me. The other thing is how fascinated straight people are with the fact that I have kids. #Whatever [No offense to my bisexual, butch fags. There are lots of people looking to hook up with you. Shit, I read.]


  • scorpiopixie

    I don’t have kids. I’ve been on one date with someone who had kids. So really, I shouldn’t be answering except I forwarded that link on butchwonder’s page to her and she really appreciated it. If I were to seriously date someone with kids, I wouldn’t want to and might even refuse to meet the kids until we’d been together at least six months. I agree, I don’t think it’s fair for kids to have a revolving door of partners in their lives. I hope the femme you find yourself with has a similar thought pattern.

    You’ll find her. I’m certain of that. A smart, sexy butch who is together and is a great and caring mother is a treasure. Don’t forget that.


  • clhutch87

    I 100% agree with Alice. As someone that is single and has no kids, there isn’t a whole lot that I can really speak on, but I can tell you this:

    1. I think that if you are having a good conversation, the fact that you have kids will just come up naturally…at anytime in the getting to know you phase or even when you first meet Her. If for some reason you feel like you can’t, shouldn’t, or don’t want to mention having kids to Her…there’s probably a reason for that. I would use that as a ‘red flag’ and think about whether or not you want to even bother getting involved. Personally, I can appreciate someone who can tell it like it is from the beginning.

    2. I think your explanation of why you would prefer to wait to introduce the kids is a great one. If I were Her, I would absolutely be able to accept that answer and leave well enough alone until you’re ready to re-open that discussion. I don’t think you should budge on that, ever…not even a little bit. She should respect the fact that they are your kids, and it’s only your decision to make when she’ll meet them. It isn’t about Her so much as it is about your kids and what you feel is best for them. She shouldn’t take it personally or view it as a reflection of your feelings for Her. Its not…its just parenting. If She can’t handle it, show Her the door.

    Great post, BTW!


  • heather

    Femmes I believe experience the same issues I am a 42 yo femme with 2 granddaughters and well as much as I am proud of my own children it is difficult to know when to introduce someone into my now adult children’s lives. One does not have to be femme soft to love their children. I like your blogs that include your children and the right Her that will come along for you it won’t be a question as to when you mention the kids it will just happen.


  • kp

    I think it’s best to allow all thing to follow the natural progression. Don’t force anything. You tell her you have kids when it comes up in conversation. You introduce her to your kids when you’ve been dating and you FEEL it’s the right time. It sounds like you’re a great mom, so I doubt they have to worry about the revving door phenomenon. Good luck on your hunt for Her!!


  • Just a Femme

    I’m a mom & I had the issue of my kids got really close to an ex – and then she died. That was HARD!! I watched the dating world from the sidelines for a long time & saw couples where one or both had kids – they would get all in the “family unit” mode & then the couple was over & they had both moved on to other Hers or Hims & the kids were left looking a lot shell shocked. I decided after Her death that I wasn’t going to do that to mine. I dated a couple of butches (is it butch’s, butches or butchs’???) – anyway – who actually attempted to force the issue when she & I hadn’t even discussed whether this was a “real” relationship yet & I think part of it was because they had the idea that if they met the kids & got chummy with them that I couldn’t break up with her. Well, that’s not happening – not in my world – or my kids world.
    Eventually, it got to where even my other lesbian friends didn’t meet my kids. I had one friend tell me I was too overprotective – maybe she is right, but they are mine to protect & it’s the most important job I’ve ever done. The kids are a lot older now – 22 (openly gay), 18 (in the Army now) and 17 (still at home) so I don’t have to protect them as much.
    I still haven’t found Her, but even when I do – they still won’t meet her or her them until I know the relationship is going to be lasting.

    The way I see it – being a mom is your first job – and if the women you date don’t get that & don’t respect your timeline – then they don’t deserve you.


  • annelwing

    YES, it is Butch to protect your kids. AND it is apparent you are a an exceptional parent. Not to worry so much about when you meet The Right Her. Relax, enjoy dating for the fun of it, continue to be the wonderful mom you are. When the time is right, the Her will appear – don’tcha just hate it when people say stuff like that? I do. But i find it relaxing when I can live in the present moment, enjoying every part of my life fully – i am overall happier, and peaceful…loneliness for the One, longing to be a “complete family” aside.
    Just my thoughts, from my own life experiences.
    I realize I’m responding to an older post…


  • Sarah

    I love your blog! I’m a 32 yo (newly) single lesbian with a two year old. I love love love being a mom but I really have no idea how to start dating again. I have a feeling it will be a whole new game this time! I hope I meet someone new but I’m not in a hurry. Good luck I hope you find the perfect girl for you.


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