Girl Talk: I Want To Be A Stepmom

I was having dinner with my friend Ryan* last week. He was telling me about a “really good date” he went on.

“So when are you going to see her again?” I asked.

“I’m not,” he replied very matter-of-factly. “She has a kid.”

I almost smacked him with my breadstick. Of all the unfair reasons to not to give someone a chance, that seemed the stupidest of all to me. If she had a crack habit, smelled like soup, or had long armpit hair, I would have understood. But a child?

When I turned 30 I made a decision to let go of any parenthood plans and just see where life took me. If all the stars align in the next six to eight years, I could be persuaded to reproduce. I could also be persuaded not to. If having my own kids is not in the cards, there’s another option that sounds perfectly appealing to me: I could be a stepmom.

Related: Dealbreaker: He Said I Needed Grooming

Ryan talked me down, explaining that he didn’t want the responsibility of financially supporting a child, the mess of dealing with an ex, or the fear of having to “break up with the kid” if things didn’t work out with the mother.

I considered his points. I thought about his reasoning. It was good of him to be honest about what he’s up for. He’s certainly entitled to his preferences. But I feel differently.

If I fell in love with someone, I would see his child (or children) as part of the package of him, — as a bonus, in fact. To me, fatherhood is no different than his hair color or the fact that he snores or is an Orthodox Jew. When I date, I strive to accept the entire person quirks n’ all — provided that they have they have solid core values. I hope for the same in return — I have funny looking feet. There are other things wrong with me too, but I won’t bore you.

Related: Dealbreaker: I Wasn’t Jewish Enough

A few years ago, I briefly dated a man with kids. We were not a match, but it opened me up to the option of dating single dads, a population I had never considered before. There was something comforting about having long phone conversations while he son slept in the other room, something touching about watching him fold little socks, something nurturing in the way he offered to “whip me up” some breakfast.

Not to mention, dads are just hot. I dare you not to get turned on by a man walking down the street with a baby in a Bjorn. Every woman knows that a box of pampers can make a plain man gorgeous. I’ve also noticed that single dads have qualities that the other guys I date sometimes, even often, don’t. They seem to possess a deeper understanding of love, commitment, and protection. They are more in touch with what they want in life. Fatherhood softens their hearts, puts them more in touch with their emotions. They are not easily grossed out, afraid of what comes next, and seem to understand what is essential in life. All very attractive qualities.

As a single woman in my 30′s, I don’t know yet whether or not children are in my future. I’m undecided — not because I don’t want kids — but because I can’t count on it happening. If you asked me when I was 25 if I planned on having my own kids, I would have answered yes without a second thought. Then life happened. Getting older happened. The blueprint of my future and my actual future were no longer the same.

Related: Girl Talk: My Biological Clock Is Broken

Here’s what I know for sure about my plans for parenthood: I don’t want to intentionally do it alone and I don’t want to add the pressure of my biological clock onto the already complicated process of dating.

When I turned 30 I made a decision to let go of any parenthood plans and just see where life took me. If all the stars align in the next six to eight years, I could be persuaded to reproduce. I could also be persuaded not to. If having my own kids is not in the cards, there’s another option that sounds perfectly appealing to me: I could be a stepmom.

Stepmom. For some, the word conjures up the image of a mean old crone with a hairy mole or a vain bitch who wishes you dead. I’m thinking more hip 30-something woman, former teacher, lots of love to give, emotionally mature, good boundaries, prepared to work through challenges that come along with the territory, doesn’t intend to replace your real mother, enjoys finger painting, make believe, and can help with homework. I’d be happy to apply for the job.

As if the universe heard my thoughts, a friend called me this week and asked if she could set me up with “a tall, funny, handsome architect.” Of course, I agreed.

“But he has kids,” she added tentatively. “Is that okay?”

Unlike Ryan, the news thrilled me.

“It’s more than okay,” I assured her. “It’s great.”

* Name has been changed

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Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

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