6.1.14

Daddy thoughts 5- New home, past feelings

Recently, my son has expressed feelings about not liking his new home, wanting his parents to reunite, and to leave for what he considers “home” We are adjusting to the new home that houses myself, my child, and my partner. It is not as easy as I thought it would be for him, but it’s not horrible either.  It takes time to adjust.

Moving in with a girlfriend, boyfriend or step-parent is not easy. I remember as a child both of my parents remarried and both of my new step-parents were European American or white. It was not easy at first. We disagreed on things like music. My Dad’s wife did not really dig hip hop too much. I listened to all kinds of shit. Radical rhymes, misogynistic, violent, and peaceful raps. I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t feeling LL’s “big ole butt”. I get it now, but to me, I thought “why is she telling me what to do?”.  We never really resolved the music issue, because she liked Mariah Carey and I detested Mariah (at the time).

And there was a time when I could not get used to my mom’s husband because he just acted so differently. For example, when we went to a restaurant; if he did not approve of the food he simply sent it back or told them “I’m not paying for this” or “I won’t eat this”. Growing up with just mom and dad this was a no no! People might spit in your food, screw it up more, etc. but really, I just had never heard someone speak that way. I was taught to be extremely humble, to be quiet on certain things and food in restaurants was one of them. I thought to myself “who does he think he is?!”.

In retrospect the difference in music taste, I thought was a distaste for Black Music, was not. Just a difference in appreciation, a hint of patriarchy (women’s body parts vs women’s minds), and some miscommunication about what a 10 year old should hear. Not sure what I’d say to my son about “big ole butt” if he wanted to listen to it. And, with my step-father I realized after subtracting white privilege from the equation that I too could speak up for myself or voice my opinion. Humbleness is important, but I can also speak up “with” respect. I probably would just steer clear of restaurants I dislike if the food was bad, but the example could be used in other places. As for my son and my partner, he gives me most of his disagreement or attitude. And for now I prefer that because it is my job to parent him and discipline him. But, I chose to introduce my son to her because she loves children, is comfortable with him, and treats him with respect and love. And, I know he really likes her too, which is a relief.

Still, I remember what it was like to think my parents breaking up was my fault. I was only 7 when my parents divorced, but I remember the last few years were tough. I thought that somehow my existence had broken their bond. I grew to hate making decisions about who I wanted to spend my time with. At Mom’s or Dad’s? Like this or that? Agghhh, I hated it. It made me feel uncomfortable, and it still does now sometimes. But I know that they did the best they could looking back on it. I wonder what I can do to make my son feel loved, comfortable, and heard. He and I are so different emotionally and attitude wise. I was often too scared to speak up to my parents as a kid. I’m glad that he lets me know when he is unhappy or dissatisfied. I just want him to be happy and to know that even if his mother and I live in separate homes, we are still a family.  My solution so far has just been reassurance, lots of talking and getting it out, and dealing with it right there when he brings it up. Any of you experienced this as a kid or as a parent?

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