Thursday

Your Partner or the Children? Making the Wrong Choice will Cost You

So you have moved on with your life since you and the father of your children couldn't manage to stay peaceful enough with one another to make a relationship work.  Now you are dating someone new and you find that free time is getting a little more difficult to manage.  He wants to spend more time with you and so does your children.

It seems easy enough to just plan days accordingly and hope that he understands that the children come first.  However, put yourself in his shoes for a moment, "I am expected to move out the way sometimes for children she had with another man."  No matter how nice we say it, that is what we are asking a new boyfriend to do.  The more fathers and children you have, the more difficult it is for a man to wrap his head around that one.

What tends to happen in relationships like this, especially if the father is often present in your children's lives, is both men will have concerns about one another.  You will find yourself having to manage both men and try to make them feel comfortable about what is going on.  On one hand, your ex doesn't want any man influencing his son and/or daughter.  On the other hand, the new man is trying to find his place in your life.  Throw extended relatives in the mix and you will be working overtime!

When the pressure in a relationship intensifies due to children misbehaving, an ex is jealous, or the boyfriend is acting distant, what some women will do is put the new man before everyone.  This would make sense, to some women, because he wasn't the one who hurt her in the past and unlike the children, he is giving more than he is taking from her, so why not?  The problem is everyone starts to notice that the new man is taking center stage in the woman's life; therefore, she has a whole new set of problems on her hand.  The children and other relatives will start to dislike the new man and want him gone.  The ex will hope for the worse and might add a few not-so flattering comments in you and the children's ears.

At some point, the poor woman who was only trying to find happiness will instead, find herself in a position to have to choose children or man.  The ex may have to do the same in his new relationship too since his girlfriend might be giving him some problems.  Both parties will have to find solutions that will help everyone manage their new families.  They will both need to keep in mind that new girlfriends and boyfriends may put on a good act when it comes to the children, but secretly hope that the other parent decides to have the children more often and/or live with him or her.

Blood is thicker than water, so the old adage goes. Unfortunately, "the water" may lose, especially if he or she is looking for ways to push the children out the door.  Constant complaining, tension, and hollering at the children are clear signs that the new boyfriend or girlfriend just isn't cut out for step-parenting.  But can you blame him or her particularly if your partner is young and childless or older with grown children?  There is selfishness, irritability and impatience that the new partners may have to overcome.

So let's just say that a parent does choose a new partner over children, then what?  Consider what may happen in the future to this parent's relationship with her children.  There will be wounds of rejection that the children will have to heal from.  A son and/or daughter may resent the parent for leaving them with the other parent now that he or she has a partner.  The child, who will one day become an adult son or daughter, may not bother to open his or her doors to their mother because of her choice and even worse disallow her from getting to know his or her family. 

Think of those around you who may have been rejected by a parent, are they battling with all kinds of issues as a result?  Are you? Choose wisely.

Nicholl McGuire

Wednesday

When They Aren't Your Children...

Some of us have grieved a child we either lost due to death, legal battle or some other way and it hurts!  We may welcome other people's children into our lives or stay clear away.  Only God knows the pain we feel!  It hurts sometimes to see someone with their children and here you are all alone with maybe a picture or two in a wallet or cell phone of your own child.  Sometimes you wonder how did you get to this place in your life that you are more important these days then raising your child, but it is your current reality, and how you deal with being away from your child or children is all up to you.

I am that woman that has been with children at home on a daily basis and then eventually had to say goodbye for a number of reasons sometimes for a short period of time and other times longer.  After I managed to get comfortable in my lifestyle, I allowed other people's children to come into my life until the time was convenient again to see my own children. 

It can be such a relief to your soul to talk to a child or do something nice for her or him that brings a smile on his or her face.  But I won't say that it doesn't hurt sometimes.  I think of how my sons might react to that nice toy I bought someone else's child and then I may feel guilty or get angry that my own children aren't with me.  I am learning slowly that instead of thinking of someone else's child as a replacement; it is better to just look at the time you are spending in the presence of other people's children as a gift of service similar to what you would do if you were doing volunteer work.  No one can ever replace your child and no one is asking you to either.  The beauty in spending time with someone else's child is you can give what doesn't belong to you back and never worry over the child like you do your own.

Every mother needs that time to recharge.  She needs to look back at the time she had been spending with her own children and learn from it.  There is so much we can do with free time that suddenly comes out of no where.  Oftentimes we covet it when we are around our children.  We wish that we could be that woman who doesn't have to tote children around.  We think of those moments of peace she has just to do something simple like try a new hairstyle or paint her fingernails.  Now it's our turn and we might as well make the most of it until that day we meet our children again.

Nicholl McGuire

Thursday

Keeping It Inside Will Drive You Crazy

I have been asked this question over different times in my life, "How could you leave your children with their fathers?"  Whether I left my children to go to the store, vacation, work, or during a break up.  My answer to that, "Why not?  He is the father you know and besides he takes good care of them."

I don't care whether a mother is leaving her children an hour or five years, there is a good reason why she needs to leave.  I think too many of us are quick to condemn, but far too slow to show some support (no wonder why some women can't keep friends, but I digress.) 

You see, sometimes we have to take a good look at what exactly does the title "mother" mean to me?  For some women, they are step-mothers, mothers-to-be, and mother-in-laws and they aren't too happy about those titles.  They know what they can and can't tolerate.  Sometimes we think that by saying, "You are a good mom" or "What you are going through isn't as bad as what I went through..." is encouraging, but that isn't always the case.  It is because of statements like this, that some women freeze up and choose not to reveal how they sincerely feel about motherhood.  They may have wanted to pour out their heart and cry a good cry to a relative or friend, but because of a certain comment, question, or expression they clam up and instead out comes, "Thanks, I try to be a good mom."

Keeping anything inside that is plaguing your mind on a daily basis will hurt you.  Let me repeat that, keeping anything inside that is plaguing your mind on a daily basis will hurt you.  Ever wonder why some women end up in the insane asylum?  Maybe the idea of staying-at-home with children isn't working anymore.  Maybe the relationship with the father has taken a downturn and there is no hope for the relationship.  Maybe you desire to come up higher spiritually, but routine is keeping you stagnant.  Whatever the "it" is that keeps coming back to the forefront of your mind and making you feel like you are going crazy, do something about it!

I think of so many moms who just settle with "whatever," because it looks good on the outside.  It looks nice to have a man in the home.  It looks good to wear the latest fashions.  It looks good to put the children in private school.  It looks good to participate in all the church and school activities.  It looks good to say, "My child is doing this...my child is doing that..."  But behind closed doors, you are going crazy!  People who are close to moms who want to look their best, although they are going through a test, see the signs, but mom knows best.  Didn't mean to rhyme, but you get my point?  Stressed mom is gaining weight, popping pills, getting up early and staying up late.  She is easily irritated, yelling at everyone, and frequently making errors.  The frazzled mom is blaming everyone for everything, but her overwhelmed self!  In time, that woman who once "was a joy to work with" is now a pain in the you know what!  When you ask her, "How are you?"  She either says, "I'm fine..." or "stressed."  But she keeps going anyway.

When we know someone who is driving herself crazy with all her activities or if we are guilty of driving our own selves insane, then we must learn to take that pause.  Sometimes that pause may mean going back to the drawing board and reinventing the wheel or getting rid of it altogether.

Nicholl McGuire
Author of When Mothers Cry, Amazon.com


Tuesday

Stay-At-Home Mother: Dad Will Appreciate You More When You're Gone

So some of you mothers are feeling used, abused, misused, and just don't know what to do.  You live in a house or apartment with a man who says, "I make the money!  What else do you want from me?"  You in turn say, "Is it too much to ask, can you take the kids out sometime?  Give me a break!"

I experienced what I call "family burn out" on numerous occasions and sometimes my plea was heard, but sometimes it wasn't.  Maybe I was burned out from talking to the kids all day and just wanted the man of the house to make some time to talk to me.  Sometimes there were moments that I needed some help with chores.  Other times the kids wanted me to play with them, teach them, read a book, and do other stuff while dad sat and watched TV or surfed the Internet.  I started to back off from doing so much with the children while dad was home a long time ago.  The stay-at-home mother had learned how to allow dad to take over when it came to handling the children.  I began to back off first during evenings and then on weekends.

A good idea only works for so long before you notice that other areas in your relationship begin to fall apart.  You may try something else to keep the man and children interested.  You might even step up to the plate even more.  However, sometimes nothing seems to work.  Before long, you are questioning why exactly are you a mother, a wife, a lover, the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker?

No man will ever appreciate a woman, the mother of his children, until he knows what it truly feels like to be all alone with the children!  He will begin to understand why she repeatedly warned him about giving the children candy and snacks before dinner.  Why it's so important that the children have a breakfast, lunch, dinner, quiet, and bed times?  Why he should consider spending more time giving the family needed attention and less time watching TV?  Why sometimes he has to put off his needs and tend to the children's needs first? 

If you have been burning out lately from your family obligations, take a moment to see what might you need to do differently to restore those positive feelings back that you once had for your family.  Communicate your thoughts when you feel comfortable to your partner.

I can tell you from my own experience that you can't do it all alone, you need the support of your partner and/or relatives and friends.  If he too is experiencing feelings of family burn out, then hopefully he will say so and together you both can create a plan that will alleviate some stress.  Notice the key word is "together," not apart.   However, if your partner doesn't recognize your need for some relief and refuses to see that he too needs some space, most likely your relationship will begin to take a different turn and it won't be positive.  But first things first, allow daddy to stay home with the children, clean up and do some other things without your sticking around.  Take advantage of your free time, you earned it!

Nicholl McGuire
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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media

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