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?
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?
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?
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.