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Why Kids Shouldn’t Be a Deal Breaker (Or: 5 Reasons Step Kids Are Awesome)

Feb 13, 2017

The night I met my husband, Jesse, was one of those meet-cute, love-at-first-sight kinda nights. I thought, “This is too good to be true, but if it is true, he might be my husband.” That is, until he told me he had two kids, at which point “this could be forever” turned into “this could be fun.”

It only took two weeks to get used to the idea of step-kids. And now, two-and-a-half years later, I’m ashamed to admit that that idea ever gave me pause.

Being a person in her early 30s in the year 2017, I have a lot of great friends who are single but don’t necessarily want to be. It hurts my heart when they dismiss a man or a woman because he or she has children from a previous relationship. Here are five reasons why:


Myth: 

You’re a saint for “taking on someone else’s kids.”

Truth:

You actually get as much (or more) out of step-parenting than you put in.

Becoming a step-parent means a whole new set of duties: discipline, meal prep, bedtime routines etc. But what you get back from kids — who are, more often than not, loving, open and non-judgmental — is as much (probably more) than you put in. You won’t have been a part of the first few years of their lives, but you’ll still get the awesome soccer games, the Christmas concerts and the morning cuddles — the feeling of being in a real family.


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Myth:

Baby-mama drama (see also: baby-daddy drama).

Truth:

Relationships with birth parents can and should be healthy, respectful and productive.

There are, of course, exceptions (breakups can be painful and traumatic), but you should be able to get the lay of the land before getting too deep into your relationship. Does your partner have a respectful and kids-first approach to his or her relationship with their former partner? If so, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be capable of the same thing. Remember that it’s bigger than you: it’s about the kids. It’s even possible to foster real friendships. Exes and their new partners can feel like extended family — mine do, which is something that our entire family is grateful for.


Myth:

There must be something wrong with your partner if it didn’t work the first time.

Truth:

A partner who already committed to a family is a partner who isn’t afraid of commitment.

Assuming that you want a family, you shouldn’t necessarily see red flags if someone’s already been married. Some relationships just don’t work. But the fact that he or she committed once means they probably want the same things that you do. And they’re likely wiser and more selective for having the experience, too.


Myth:

Having other kids will be difficult when we have kids of our own.

Truth:

Having other kids WILL be difficult when we have kids of our own, but it will also be incredibly helpful.

Before our baby boy was born, I joked with my husband that no matter how hard it was, at least in four years, our oldest could babysit. I still look forward to the day that happens, but, jokes aside, older children can help tremendously with child care. There’s no magic number (kids mature at different stages), but the right eight-year-old, for example, is fully capable of feeding a baby a bottle, comforting him and entertaining him. Having big brothers will enrich our baby’s life in so many ways. But selfishly, it can also give mom and dad a break to clean the kitchen or just veg out and watch TV.


Myth:

My partner won’t have enough time, energy or love left over for me.

Truth: 

Having kids makes your partner energetic, loving and great at time management. 

I have no doubt in my mind that my husband’s children absolutely shaped the man I’m married to. Kids do that. They also made him a kickass daddy — I relied on him utterly when the baby was born, and being able to defer to him on points of parenting was a huge relief. Moms and dads who have had to go it alone for periods of time are capable, firm and grounded. Jesse wouldn’t be Jesse without his kids. Period.

Article Author Julia Lipscombe
Julia Lipscombe

Read more from Julia here.

Julia Lipscombe is an Edmonton-based freelance journalist and former staffer at FLARE magazine, NOW magazine and the Edmonton Journal. Julia is an arts and lifestyle specialist, and these days mostly writes about parenting, music and weddings. Alongside her husband, Jesse Lipscombe, she co-founded and runs the anti-discrimination campaign, #MakeItAwkward, which encourages people to speak up and speak out against racism, homophobia and hate of all kinds. Julia and Jesse are parents to three beautiful boys: Chile, Tripp and Indiana. In her ever-diminishing spare time, Julia likes to swim, bike, run, drink wine, and listen to lots of albums as a member of the Polaris Music Prize jury. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.

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