I’m Tyrell Gatewood. Shari’s husband. I love everything about MommiNation and I’m happy to be the first guy to do #DaddiInvasion. If you haven’t already you should read Shari’s first two post here and here.
Now for my perspective….
2007 was a transitional year for me. I graduated The University of Texas during the recession and had to face the fact that I didn’t know what was next. I expected to be a professional athlete, it was the only thing I knew at the time. Not sure how’d I’d get income or where I would lay my head some nights, the one thing that was certain was I had two young children. Beautiful and vibrant they were my only ray of sunshine, they looked to me every day for love, protection and security. They were literally my pride and joy. I coined them my external heartbeats. Even though that time period was the toughest in my life, my kids and I formed an unbreakable bond. I swore to myself I would never turn my back on them.
Having my kids at a young age at times I felt like we were 3 kids. I was growing up as I was raising them. To be honest they were somewhat raising me. I was on and off their custodial parent but I always kept a guilt about them not knowing a family lifestyle. I came from a single mother upbringing where structure wasn’t the priority, we simply did as we pleased. Parenting in the sense of discipline and planning for what they would be like as adults wasn’t on my mind, their smiles were the only thing I cared about.
When I started dating Shari I joked with her that I had postpartum depression. She was the adult companion I needed, considering I spent every second with my kids and had no adult interaction. On the weekends my kids would go with their mom or my mom and I would go to Austin for my adult time. It was my fake life away from reality. She became my heartbeat and best friend…
As Shari said in her blog I too never thought of her being my kids future stepmom. I, like most young men, was going through the motions. Not cool, I know, but true. Knowing my kids lived with me, in hindsight I wish I made the effort to bring them to Austin to be around Shari also, but I didn’t. I’m one of those people that didn’t mix my worlds. I felt my dad world was just for me and the kids to enjoy judgement free. While my adult time was just for Shari and I. I was living and enjoying my double life, thats fire.
Although most dads with children from previous relationship(s)tend to leave their kids primary housing up to their significant other, from the fear of ruffling their feathers, I wasn’t with that. When the idea of the kids moving to Austin with me presented itself it wasn’t optional in my mind. It was short notice, no doubt. But it was the notice I had! I could tell shari wasn’t happy but I figured it would work itself out. Similar to a man finding out his significant other is pregnant, you may wonder if you’re ready and if the timing Is right but in the end you know it’s God’s plan. By the time the kids got to Austin, Shari got right to it, she got their rooms situated, and a slew of other things. My wife is easy to read though and I could tell she wasn’t over joyed. Thinking it would be easy, i was only optimistic and thought this is nothing. I got it..
With my parenting structure and my kids mom parenting structure my two eldest literally could do as they pleased. The things that Shari would complain about just weren’t a big deal to me and still aren’t. Figuring out how to juggle everyones needs and wants isn’t any easier on me just because they’re my kids and my wife. Its exhausting trying to please everyone. Just think, every issue on both sides has to come through me. And to add to that I have to balance my wife’s annoyances with my co-parent whose actions are completely out of my control.
I’ve seen some of comments in the original blogs where people would say they were uncomfortable with Shari calling my kids, my kids. I get it and different strokes for different folks. Im not against it but I don’t think of it as a necessity though as long as she treats them right. In some ways she treats my eldest better than she treats our kids and I know it’s not the easiest task. I don’t want or need their moms husband to call them his kids but I have the same expectation of him as well. I’ve said a million times I wouldn’t want to be a step parent and I salute step parents everywhere, but a word of advice from the bio parent understand that it’s hard on them too and try to be patient. Put yourself in their shoes and handle things the way you’d want it handled if the shoe were on the other foot. Let’s be real, you too could be one life changing circumstance away from having someone step parent your child.
Signing off your homie