I used to joke that my first child changed everything, but after that the rest were simply a matter of logistics. It’s sort of true; the first time you do it, everything about your life changes. You go from only being responsible for yourself to having another human life entirely and utterly dependant upon you. If you mess up, they’ll die.
Second (and third and fourth) time round, though, it’s much easier. You realise that, actually, unless you mess up really badly indeed they probably won’t die. Feed them, look after them and they’ll not only survive, but grow too. All you need to worry about is making sure you plan properly, take enough nappies, baby wipes and food with you and you’re good to go.
I was thinking about this recently as a girl I was quite keen on turned me down for “logistical reasons”. She didn’t go into many details about this, but as we lived within normal realms of distance from each other and both worked in or around London there were few non-children related logistical reasons to consider. (And yes, she was definitely telling the truth about her reasoning!)
Children make dating difficult. I’m not going to lie and pretend that they don’t; they mean that much of your time is simply unavailable for dating. If you’re focusing solely on raising them and are not interested in finding someone for yourself then that’s great, but for those of us who love to be in a relationship with a great person it makes things challenging indeed.
But do they make it impossible?
As with so many things in life, the truth and facts bear far less relevance to the final outcome than emotions and opinions <cough-Brexit-cough>. It simply doesn’t matter if in reality it only means that things need to be slightly more planned some of the time; if the reason is children then all of a sudden it becomes too much work. And that’s if it’s only one or two kids – I’ve got four of the little blighters. Four logistical issues that need to be accepted and factored into a relationship.
It never matters how much I explain that I’m not looking for a mother for them (they already have one of those) or even a step-mother (I’ve got the whole single parenting thing nailed), all I want is a companion for me and someone who at the very least can be a positive influence in their lives without having any responsibility for them whatsoever. In a dream world, of course I’d love for my partner to be fully onboard and involved in their lives, but I’m not demanding that at all, let alone from day one!
If it were truly logistical issues then these can always be overcome. Schedules can be worked out, time can be arranged and activities planned. If you like someone enough then logistical issues are nothing. And if you don’t like them enough, well, don’t blame logistics! Just flat out say “I don’t fancy you” and move on. Using kids as a reason not to be in a relationship (especially when you have a child yourself, as was the case with that woman) is somewhat cowardly.
I know this probably points to a lucky escape in this particular instance, but it really does make me question things again. It makes me wonder whether I’ll have to wait until all of my children are old enough to move out before someone will take me on (which, assuming they all go to Uni and then don’t come home – not at all guaranteed – puts the timeline to 2032)? Or just until some of them move out? Or until I don’t need them to be looked after anymore? What is the magic point that having four children isn’t a problem for my dating life? Is there a magic point?!
I’m not giving up. I’m sure my unicorn is out there, ready and waiting with a flowchart, scheduling tools and a can do attitude to put logistics in their place. Someone who will see my kids and smile with me about their exploits, who will give them advice about putting on makeup and in return will listen patiently while they explain how to make slime. Someone who accepts my children’s places in my heart and in my life and who is willing to put in the effort to help me work out how we’ll make everything work.
Bonus points if she’s smoking hot, funny and is up for making my adult time fun as well as helping me as I navigate Daddy time.
Just got to find her now.