What’s it like to be married to a father of four

Hi, I’m Dasha, author of the amazing book “Don’t Chase Love – Cut to the Chase”. I’m doing a series of articles on relationships and in the last couple of weeks I’ve given you an insight into mine. If I’m trying to teach vulnerability, it’s only fair to show how it’s done. This is the seventh and last article.

In the picture, you see my husband with his youngest. So cute! Isn’t it? He always lightens up when he’s with his children.

When his son was here, I would read to him, learn songs, dance, gather pebbles in the yard, watch cars out of the window together, take out the aquarelle colours and get the paint all over me, not just on the paper. Or he would help me cook, he always wants to help.

I’m a stepmom now.

How wonderfully strange.

A stepmom of not one or two or three, but four children. Three are now in their tweens and the little one will soon be four.

I admit, when I first met JB, I wasn’t sure what to do with the fact that he had four children. If he wasn’t so fantastic, I probably wouldn’t have given this a chance.

The first question when we met for the first time in the Ice Bar in London, was: “So, four children, ha? What, you don’t believe in condoms, or what?” We laughed and in time he explained. Of course he did, but for some mysterious reason they didn’t work…several times. Coincidence?

It’s a fact that if his ex hadn’t tried to hurt him by withholding access to his children yet again, especially once she realised he dared to reach out for some happiness with me, we would have never gotten the time together and the chance to bond.

If she had done the contrary and pushed his children on him as much as possible, our magic would have never taken place, because JB made it very clear that I will not be meeting his children in the first year. I understood that.

Between my full time job during the week and if he had to have the children every weekend, we simply wouldn’t have seen each other ever again and I would have walked away because I was at that point in my life where I finally had some proper boundaries and wouldn’t have waited for a man.

I have mentioned this a couple of times in different articles or my book but I just love how some people who try to hurt others, actually manage to achieve the exact opposite. So to all wrongdoers out there – be careful what you’re scheming, because it might just bite you in the ass.:)

Despite the time that was given us, I was struggling with the classical conundrum of ‘I should be my man’s first priority’. But that’s not how it works and JB made that also abundantly clear. The children came always first, no matter what. That hurt.

I had to make a decision.

The thing was, I liked Jean-Brunel actually because of the way he was with his children. I didn’t get to meet them, but I would hear him on the phone to them, he would send me videos and pictures when they were visiting him, or he would call me and I talked to them a bit and could hear the liveliness and happiness that was going on around him.

You have to see him, when he’s with his children! I have never in my life seen a more caring man. Before I even met them, I had the feeling I knew each and every one of his children, he talked about them all the time, in agony, because he couldn’t be with them for months on end.

So I thought: I like him because he’s such a great father. I like him because he was the same way with me. Yes, this will mean his attention will be on them when they’re in our lives, but if he had been the kind of father who walked away from his children – could I even care for him then? Of course not.

Here is what came out of that crisis. I decided that I liked him and that as long as I was with him, I would make his children my priority as well. Period.

What does that mean? It meant that all our planning, where we would live, what we would build, which jobs to take – everything was done with his children in mind, without knowing if he would ever see them again.

After a year, I finally got to meet them. They have so much of their father in them, it’s amazing. It was a relaxed meeting, going wall-climbing inside, with JB’s sister and step-daughter and her children joining as well. His little son wasn’t with us of course.

We’ve moved from London to the Midlands because we had to find an affordable place big enough to accommodate all four kids (not knowing if they would ever get the chance to be with us), so only after a year of fighting in court to be able to see them, I finally saw them again and we had them for a couple of weeks during the summer and then a couple of more weekends until their mother started the usual drama again.

Just for clarification, Jean-Brunel wasn’t trying to get full custody of the children, he just wanted to be in their lives, be able to see them at least on weekends. Of course if he got the chance to have them full time, he would take them on in a blink of an eye.

What can I say? We haven’t seen them since January and I miss them. Even in that short time, I got to see a glimpse of having the joy of having his children around.

I avoided being a mother too soon. I wanted to sort myself out before even thinking of having a child. Then at 40, when I finally figured out how to be happy on my own, I couldn’t be bothered to think of starting a family, even if I met the perfect man.

And then I’ve met Jean-Brunel, the perfect husband and father, but truth to be told, I would have been most content if I could have had him all to myself, completely. It’s only natural. I was 40 and had too many plans and life could finally start and be enjoyed, starting a family seemed like having to delay living my own life yet once more.

So if anyone is getting any ideas that I saw becoming a stepmom as a replacement for not having had children of my own, you’re sorely mistaken. Why would anyone want this much responsibility over night when I could have just buggered off to Mexico and go swim with the turtles again? Hey, I speak six languages, have quite a few skills of my own…starting a new life in paradise wouldn’t have been a big thing for me.

Luckily JB’s children were more than ok with me and I really liked them as well. Of course it’s a lot of effort and all your attention goes to them, 24/7, but the experience is really rewarding. Every child deserves proper care, it doesn’t matter if it was mine or anyone else’s.

I know, I know, I haven’t had them more than some weekends or a couple of weeks at a time, but it seemed fairly easy to me. I loved teaching them how to do things around the house or how to cook or to shop. We went swimming, played Monopoly and cards and chess, had lots of laughs and hardly any drama whatsoever.

This is where JB is the master. As loving as he is, he has this innate authority which all the children respect like hell. Typical Batman, lol. He doesn’t ever get loud, he never shouts. The tone in his voice will do. Even though you can’t push me around, it’s easy to parent his children, because JB handles any little crisis beautifully and without much fuss.

He makes it look so easy! LOL

And then he says that it IS easy. He just embraced any responsibility in no time and I always have to gawk at the picture when he was in his early twenties, with one small child at either side and a baby in his arms, all of them just a year or two apart. And he did it all back then, worked, took care of his children, cooked for them, studied and finished college. How? I mean…how? If I hadn’t seen proof, it would have been difficult to believe.

When I see him in action around his kids, he reminds me more of The Flash, not Batman. So funny. He wants them to be safe, at all times, he jumps to their every need…and so do I:).

They are so lucky to have a father like him. He is still fighting for them, the court still dragging their feet to make a final decision.

One thing struck me right away when I first moved to the UK 13 years ago. The way teenage mothers are being supported financially IF they don’t have a father around, which is one of the many issues of the systematic attempt of a country, trying to divide families under the disguise of ‘help’ for teenage mothers. Just another thing which needs to be solved and is being exposed while we are fighting for #blacklivesmatter because in this particular case, the court, social services and police are blatantly being racist. I’m sorry, but do you really think if JB was white, they would need over two years to deal with his case?

How should a grown person ever learn and have the chance to develop, if the court (which is kind of the parental unit of our system) doesn’t impose boundaries when they are needed and is imposing punishment too severely on those of different colour? Which is what is happening here but unfortunately I’m not allowed to go into details until this court case is resolved. So stay tuned for a later article, because once this is dealt with, I will unleash my opinion in its full glory.

Remember when this government was shouting Brexit? Yeah, well, you see… Whenever a government is shouting too loudly about something, you need to look what’s happening behind the curtains.

And I looked. I literally went online and looked at the new laws that have been passed every day, quietly in the background. Laws which were making the poor even poorer, the families even more desperate and divided. You want an example? JB made me aware of it. Universal Credit.

How is Universal Credit a bad and sneaky thing? Simple. Before, the state would pay the rent for anyone on social benefits, directly to the landlord. Now, the people who haven’t been taught how to handle money properly, are being given the lump-sum of money for rent and everything, in one hit, and the people are supposed to pay the bills. And as they fail to do so because they’ve tried to ‘solve their problems’ by shopping or drinking too much, they will get kicked out of their houses, becoming more and more vulnerable and helpless.

Don’t think even for a minute that this wasn’t thought through by the system. All this serves a purpose. A purpose which is being revealed bit by bit, some of it was already revealed in the emergency statement of the current government where they have stated how there will be no further elections till 2023, the police can do with us as they please, in short, being at the mercy of the whim of people who have blatantly shown, they do not have OUR best interest at heart.

I do apologise. I didn’t mean to get political in this article. But that’s just it, isn’t it? Every aspect of our lives is being fucked with by the decisions the government has imposed on us. (Pardon my language but that’s how mad it makes me.)

And why? Because we let them.

That’s right! It’s our fault. Look, this is what I do every time I’m in a crisis and trying to repair the damage others have done to me – I take the blame on myself. Why?

It’s absolutely useless to blame your parents for your current problems or to blame the government. Blame is such a lazy tool which we only use so we can feel good and vindicated for one brief moment, and then we’re back to square one. It just doesn’t allow you to find a constructive solution which would allow you to move on.

So what did I do in my own case? I looked at my issues, it was clear they stem from the abuse in my childhood. I also looked at the system and what choices it gave me. Given that there is no free childcare or education for example, I made a constructive choice – in order to give myself a chance to heal, I decided against having children.

Or another simple example – I didn’t want to be stuck working in the office all the time. What did I do? I decided against having my own flat which would have swallowed half my pay check, decided against buying stuff I don’t need, endured living in flat shares and saved up, so I could take a break every now and then and do something I loved.

And JB? He decided to become active in politics himself, trying to get to know it and find a way to change things, including the court system or how social services don’t have the budget any more to actually go to the homes of the parents and observe the children with them, in order to be able to make an informed decision. They used to do this, now they can’t and therefore nothing can get decided in a timely manner.

Everything in our lives is being decided by a couple of very selfish people and because we are not involved in politics enough, ALL OF US, we are paying the price.

#Blacklivesmatter is trying to show us that we DO have the power, that we DO have to speak up, be active, protect each other, support each other, fight for each other, or this is going to get not only worse, but beyond the point of return.

Here is a little tip how you can be in politics without being IN a political party even – just find out when your local council is meeting, and then attend. And try to find out if they are trying to ‘pink slip’ meetings, because when they do that, they are basically saying, the public doesn’t need to know about certain discussions. Which I think is appalling! Who gets to decide what the public shouldn’t see or hear?!

Those in power need to be observed. By us. Every day, every time. NOT by reading the newspapers which are being controlled by those in power, but by going directly to the council members, by going directly to the site where laws are being passed. And every time, we see something wrong, we decide to boycott any commerce on a certain day.

WE have the power and people are waking up to it. The French have known this for centuries. Why do you think they are on strike every other week? They do it to remind themselves as well as the government, who ACTUALLY has the power. We need to train that particular muscle and keep training so we never fall back into complacencies.

Ah well, these are the discussions in our house by the way, one of many.:)

Meanwhile a wonderful father like JB is trying not to despair because he knows that if HE does even one step wrong, the police won’t hesitate to throw his ass in jail, even though he is the one who is trying to protect his children and give them the love and care they deserve.

While we’re waiting what will happen on that front, we are trying to prepare the perfect place for his children. We keep building our companies, try to exchange every thought and idea, take care of the house, of some food shopping, the garden, of our friends, our neighbours, our town, through personal or political engagement.

Meanwhile there is a world of movies we try not to miss. Or the time with each other.

Never a dull moment in our house :).

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