Meeting the kid seems to run a close tie.
Here’s what I know …
One of my close girlfriends (OK, work-wifey.) who met JD for the first time this summer recently admitted that she was really nervous. And that got me thinking about what it’s like for people to meet my most perfect child, who is the center of my world, after they’ve known solely me.
Chrissy. She’s a writer, a fashion market editor, and a woman. Long hair, loud, funny, likes margs and sushi and watching movies on the couch. When she’s with her girls she dances on tables and drinks bubbly. Flirts with men. You wouldn’t know there’s Legos on her bedroom floor and a box of frozen confetti pancakes in her freezer. That her iCal is packed with 5-year-old bday parties.
She’s a mommy and brags about her kid—but has never been a mommy-in-action to some. It’s a mystery. The two faces of Chrissy, people have joked.
It should be as easy as it looks in the movie, Jerry Maguire. The child should say, in a squeaky voice, “The human head weighs 8 lbs.” The guy should fall for the kid before he falls for the mom. The kid and the guy should spend “the morning after” eating Apple Jacks (because that’s rational). The kid should kiss the guy goodbye before he takes his mom on a date. Secret Garden should play throughout every moment of this.
Hooray for Hollywood, but real-life is less theatrical.
Take my girlfriend, Jemma. Not even a guy.
“I was nervous driving to your house. It was weird to see you this summer at your pool with JD. Suddenly you weren’t Chrissy from the magazine, who wears cute outfits, is loud and silly, orders lunch with me, and runs around on photo shoots dressing models and pinning clothes. You were … Chrissy-the-mommy. Still loud and perky, I loved meeting JD, but you were different. You were the sunscreen police. You were shadowing your child as he walked around the pool. You were cutting up fruit and poking holes in juice boxes; playing with all the kids. You were tying shoelaces 20x in less than one hour at the park. You were telling him to ‘stop running so fast so he wouldn’t crack his head open.’ You were a mom and from that day on, I’ve seen you differently, not in a bad way or a better way, but as someone who has a whole other life I didn’t truly understand, even though I imagined it a million ways and had seen photos of JD.”
This was really helpful to hear. As I dive deeper into dating as a single mom, I often wonder if guys choose to keep things more about me, because meeting JD changes … everything. I’m not just some woman in a cute dress, drinking wine, and dashing across a dark street in heels.
I’m a mommy who often wears her otherwise, long, cascading hair in a ballerina bun, leggings, Uggs, a little hoodie. Cherry chapstick is considered makeup and I dine where there are place mats my kid can color on, or cook “colorful” meals—tell my kiddo to eat in a pattern: Chickie, Brocc, Rice – Repeat!
No longer is life a bubble of work, or a fun date, or specific person. It’s about my child and all that he means to me, which is everything. My attention is now shared. My attention is first for him—second to everyone else. This isn’t me guessing how things might play out—this is from true experience. JD and me are a whole different ballgame than … just me. It’s a whole new animal.
I can see how this might scare people. I get that. OK.
Here are my tips:
- Don’t tell your child someone special is coming over.
- Don’t wig out the person meeting your child by making elaborate plans. Lay low and do something everyone will enjoy, like a day in the park or museum crawl. Get some ice cream. It’s a kid’s liquid courage.
- Don’t be affectionate in front of your child if you’re introducing him to someone you’re dating. Ew.
- Don’t warp into someone else. If your kid is acting up, put him in timeout, or do what you would normally do/don’t be weirdo supermom—just be yourself, which might be hard since you’re not used to fusing these worlds. At least it’s unfamiliar waters for EVERYONE.
- Share your attention, but remember, your child is used to YOU. Mommy-mommy-mommy! The adult meeting your child is too, but, adult is the key word.
- Relax, have fun. People are people. Get outside of your head.
- Be ready for your kid to fart. Talk about poo. And quiz whoever on the names of the Ninja Turtles. Burping will happen too. Yeah.
- Don’t be insulted if whoever meets your kid doesn’t come back. Your kid is cooler.
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