Love and marriage,

Love and marriage,

Go together like a horse and carriage…

Most men don’t care that I am a settler, even though I may be considered “settler light”, sorta like diet coke. Living in Efrat isn’t exactly a hill top community and is closer in demographics to a small town on the outskirts of New York than to a caravan wielding settlement.

It also doesn’t matter to men all that much if I am black or white, religious or secular, thin or fat, employed or on welfare. When it comes to personal preferences, the sky is the limit.

What matters most to men who I am dating is that I have kids.

Yes it’s true. I am a mom of five, adorable, sweet as can be, children. I am not just saying that because I am their mother..ok fine, so don’t believe me!

Initially, men are shocked or hesitant to date me when they hear that I have five kids. The funny thing is that afterwards, it seems to matter less. For example, one man whom I dated for awhile and was uncertain if he wanted to date because of my kids, later told me that one of my greatest assets (besides my ass-et) is definitely my kids. At one point he even said to me, “Go keep yourself busy, I want to hang with the kids.”

To me they aren’t just a number.

Five. Five. Five.

Ok, maybe they are a bit numeric.

To me they are individuals with personalities, needs, fears, quirks, hopes and dreams, not to mention great senses of humor. All of us together make up our Mason harem.

Mason ltd.

Mason conglomerate.

Mason-ville.

My kids have a special place in my life seeing as they can make me laugh wholeheartedly like no one else. Just last night when we had an emergency drill in our city, my 6 year old held onto my legs while I leaned out the window to try to close our shelter window. And then he gave me the thumbs up and said, “You see Mommy. I saved your life!” I laughed and laughed and so did he.

The other day I told my daughter about this guy who told me he was looking for a wife, “ages 18-99″. My daughter looks at me and with a straight face says, “Mom, that’s too bad because I know of this amazing woman, but she is 100. Ask him if he’ll reconsider.”

To a man, they are a number. It’s a fact. A man thinks in practical terms and to him I am one of the worst deals he could make. It’s like those deals: buy two, get one free. Whereas in my case, it’s one for the price of six.

Mind you, let’s not forget that it’s a two way street. Who says that the kids want some strange man coming into their safety zone, their comfort area at home where they are used to hanging freely together, able to run around in their underwear, dressed in superman capes, feeling safe in their own little personal utopia. Besides the once-in-awhile pestering of their mother (she’s such a nag) to clean up their toys, take their dishes off the table and put their clothes in the laundry, all in all they have a nice protected life at home away from the invasion of the outside world.

Who says that all this would be the same if  a strange man, who just so happens to love their mom, barged in and invaded it all?

You wouldn’t believe how many divorced singles there are out there in the dating world who are just so hesitant to mention that they have children. There is practically no desire for transparency in this issue, and it bothers me.

Single parents know that having children will put a damper on their possibilities to get a date with someone they are interested in. And just like many of the facts that people hide when dating including their age, the number of kids is high up on the list of things hidden at the back of their closet. Many single parents look at dating as a way to have some mommy/daddy adult time which includes some personal attention from a representative of the opposite sex. They don’t see the need to share details openly. Others figure that once the love kicks in, then they will decide to share further details about themselves. Both attitudes suck.

Since it is mostly the women who have custody of the kids, the men have an easier time logistically going out and being free to date. The scheduling freedom can’t hide the fact that even if a  man is a free agent, and has all the time in the world, a woman still knows (unless she is a fool) that with kids comes the responsibility of his monthly payments to his kiddie mortgage, aka  mezonot: child support.

That’s not to say that it doesn’t happen. I am definitely able to think of many a story where people remarried with kids and sometimes it worked out and sometimes it just, well, crashed.

One man I know whose wife died suddenly was left with two little girls to raise on his own. This loving woman came along and with love and caring she took them into her heart and they created a new family together. For many years she didn’t have a biological child of her own until finally after 12 years of marriage she finally did.

Another couple I know got married, each coming into the marriage with 5 children of their own. They learned to support each other in front of the kids but to be able to show them how much they loved them all. Once again, a plethora of love and selflessness ended up creating an even happier and healthier home than they could have ever imagined.

And yet another man I know, married a woman with kids, his kids already grown up and out of the house. Her kids were problematic and undisciplined and it was no wonder that their mother was unable to stand up for her husband or to create order and respect in the home. It ended, after ten years, in divorce, with the man feeling used and upset at the years he gave and subsequently lost. He felt discarded and unappreciated for all the efforts he put in to helping her with her unruly children.

One of my close friends whom I respect greatly married her husband later in life, having been mostly focused on her career, and raised his girls as well as their own son who suffered from some handicaps, also with love and devotion. It definitely helps that she is a person who is giving and caring and yet able to set borders and to avoid becoming a doormat. She was able to be tough and loving with all of the kids equally not letting anyone guilt her or step all over her in any  matters where keeping the family unit together was concerned.

In a society where the nuclear family is much more than “The Game of Life” station wagon, there is no need for the horse and carriage to go together or for marriage to necessarily follow love closely behind. We face a myriad of personal choices, decisions and interactions when looking for the ideal mate, that otherwise would not ever have been a part of our initial partner search many years before or the first time around.

Do we even fit into the car?

I guess my main concern is, “Will we all fit into the car?”

 

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