Dating a man with kids

I feed her once a day, clean the litter several times a week and return her occasional affection. I blame my maternal deficiencies in part on the fact that I was the family princess while growing up.Maybe I'm giving my parents purpose, or maybe I'm lazy and self—absorbed—not exactly qualities that make a person fit for taking on a child. He and his wife divorced when Noah was 1 year old, and we began dating shortly after. For a while, I could be just me, the same me I'd always been. Our relationship moved quickly; one minute, we were courting over meaningful conversation and too many glasses of wine, and the next, we were spending our Friday nights playing Chutes and Ladders and pleading with a 2-year-old to eat his green beans.

On the flip side, let's face it: No one wants a stepmother. Bob knew from the beginning that I wasn't sure about my own feelings about having children, but I think subconsciously he thought we'd be this instant family and that it would be easy for everyone to adapt. Daddy's house is the sort of place where no one thinks to lay a newspaper down on the vintage kitchen table before dyeing Easter eggs on it.

So, of course, Mommy's zoo has better animals.

Mommy's Christmas tree was also bigger, with better ornaments.

Mommy shows up in conversation whenever I try to do something nice for him.

The squeezable applesauce I picked up at Whole Foods? Bob and I have explained to Noah that I'm not Mommy, but I can still be his friend.

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