Two words that will stir up emotions inside you that you didn’t even know existed: “Daddy’s friend”.
A gut-wrenching feeling you have when your child comes home from their Dad’s and tells you all about the lovely time she had with Daddy and Daddy’s friend…who after some questioning you find out is a girl, not a small girl but a girl like Mummy.
This is something that I have experienced recently and while I tried to keep a smile on my face, listen to her adventures and remain enthusiastic on the outside, I was actually dying inside.
For anyone who hasn’t experienced this I tried to think of what to compare it too, but honestly there’s nothing and for those of you who think you’re prepared for the time your child comes home and tells you about the ‘friend’, trust me you’re never prepared.
You have to understand that there was no jealousy about this woman dating my ex, all the best to them.
it was more about the fact that some other woman had been spending time with my daughter and doing all of the ‘family’ things that I never got to do. I often avoid going to places where families will be doing family stuff because it’s too sad to deal with.
Initially I was angry with my ex because he hadn’t been adult enough to talk to me about his ‘friend’. I was angry that I’d been side-swiped and taken by surprise and obviously I made no attempts to interrogate my child or act like a crazy lady for five minutes. Okay, maybe I did both. However, once I’d got over the desire to know this women’s height, weight and shoe size and once the feelings of shock, anger, sadness and every other emotion had subsided I asked myself this:
What do I really want to know about this woman?
The most important thing for me is that my child is safe and happy. So, I want to know whether this person will keep her safe? Unfortunately, when you separate as a family you learn to accept things that are outside of your control, something that is not easy. I have learnt to trust my ex to keep her safe when she’s with him, this also means the people that he chooses to spend time with, whether I like them or not is a different matter. Luckily, because my daughter is a chatter-box and likes to tell me and everyone else about every tiny scratch she has, I am reassured about this one and I’ve also had no reason to believe otherwise.
I want my daughter to be happy and to come home smiling, telling me about all the fun she’s been having. I know it might cut like a knife, but I don’t want my daughter to feel like she can’t share everything with me. I want her to know that I am interested in every part of her life. Being a parent is about sacrifice, whether it’s sacrificing sleep, food, quiet baths or peeing alone.
For me that also means sacrificing my own feelings to make sure my daughter is happy and so far, Daddy’s new ‘friend’ seems to make my daughter happy.
I also want her to be looked after, this is different to safe. I want to know when I’m not there that this ‘friend’ or any other ‘friend’ will care about her enough or love her enough to look after her when she falls over or feels poorly, with cuddles and kisses.
And really, this is all I really need to know about Daddy’s ‘friend’.
Throughout the separation from my ex I have had to deal with the aftermath of many things, things I went through over the course of my marriage and things since, but I have always tried to remain neutral about him when talking to my daughter and never said anything bad about him. My view is that it’s not her fault things happened and all she knows is that she loves her Dad and he loves her. So, whether I like it or not it’s my job to support their relationship in the best way I can. To be the grown up and to be the person she can rely on to be there no matter what happens with her Dad, his ‘friends’ or anybody else.
I’d also like to think that maybe one day I could be a safe, fun and caring ‘Daddy’s friend’ to someone else’s child.