It was wonderful having you home over the holidays and finally getting to spend time with your very sweet boyfriend. Forgive me for being such a mom here, but there is a subject I feel strongly about which has to do with that boyfriend, so indulge me.
First, here’s what’s critical: while boyfriends may come and go, picking a partner turns out to be the single most important decision women make in their lives. The right decision, a life of joy, the wrong decision and you will be looking for a do over.
I admit, at 20, I was far from thinking about a husband, much less a future father. Women had been recently “liberated” and the last thing I wanted to do was to get tied down. The guys who occupied my thoughts at that age were boyfriends for whom fatherhood was the last thing on their minds, too.
For your husband, I trust you will find a man is who is kind and caring, one who respects the woman that you are and the professional you hope to become. I know that you will think beyond today and try to find someone who will change and grow with you, and enrich your life with experiences and adventures.
But remember this: you are not only picking out a husband, but a father and while today and tomorrow, next week and next year this may not matter, I promise you, one day parenthood will loom larger than anything in your life. For while you can change husbands and you will switch jobs, and you may live in places you cannot even imagine, this is different. This decision, the man you chose to be the father of your children, can never be changed. This is forever so, listen up:
Does he suffer fools? Small children are foolish for a long time, teens are even more foolish. Parents need patience beyond anything else endured in any other aspect of adult life.
Is he deeply caring towards friends and family? It’s easy to show passionate attention while sexual attraction is at full tilt. Does he bring a deep love to the other relationships in his life?
Choose a man who is not, himself, a baby so that he has the capacity to baby the real ones when they arrive. Trust me, you will need all adults on deck once your kids hit their teen years.
Selfish in helping you? Forget him, as he won’t be any different when you need help with diapers, nighttime wailing – and that is just during the challenging newborn stage.
Does he take care of you when you need the extra care, maybe fetching chicken noodle soup and doing your laundry when you are sick? He will be the type to rock your feverish child and entertain an inquisitive toddler for hours on end.
Something could happen to you. None of us likes to have this morbid thought, but if the worst were to happen, could this man raise your children, give them the love and care they need and help them to know the mother they missed?
Does he make you laugh? Raising children without laughter, there should be a law against that.
So if at sometime in the near future, with this young man or another, and you think he possibly looks like a husband to you, consider this: will he be a father to them? He may be the man of your dreams but do you want him to be the father of your children? With Daddy, there is no do over.
Read more posts on Grown and Flown.
Parenting doesn't end as our kids leave home. Grown and Flown: Parenting from the Empty Nest reflects on the entire arc of childhood, through the teenage years and including our children’s departure for college. We examine all aspects parenting from thoughtful discipline to over indulgence, from when to be there for them and when to back off.