I wake most mornings at 5am and lie there for an hour or so worrying. The topic of today's worry was the effect on my son of being raised (partially) by my current partner. There are a lot of things about his dad that I really liked. We had a lot of shared values about the big things like faith, honesty, integrity and love, the medium things like diet and exercise, and the mundane like table manners and etiquette. When we separated, the one thing we could agree on was to do our best to raise him together, and to make him our priority. It seemed simple at the time. Life had become unbearable together, we could not give each other what we were looking for, and we would go it alone. (As you know no sooner than the 'ink was dry' on our verbal agreement, he made a priority of dating, and I made a priority of working full time and looking after a toddler, getting some sleep and not going mad. Connor's dad was too sick to take a major part in his upbringing at that point - but that's another story).
Soon I realised how alone I truly was, and how I had next to no support, my family live far away, and all my friends were very transient. Some helped me out by picking connor up from daycare, occasional babysitting, but one by one they all moved on.
Then I met my new love. He was a breath of fresh air, he was relaxed, successful, enjoyed food, and most of all loved me, and cared for my son. His values seemed good, very different, but good.
The focus of his values are; The big ones; work hard, give back to society, and look out for yourself and your family, because nobody else will. The medium sized ones; there is no need to feel guilty about anything you do as long as it is not illegal and nobody gets hurt, life's too short for boring stuff like exercise, religion causes wars. What's the point in wasting time on fancy recipes, cook-in sauces/ takeaways save time and do the job - food in belly. The small ones; no need to be prudish about farting or belching in your own home, let it out.. be it at the table, in front of the TV wherever, what's the harm in eating ice cream straight out of the tub then putting it back in the freezer when you've had enough? - lighten up.
A slightly more incidious one is playful lying. Through his games he has taught connor all the basics of good lying:
(1) Denial - me eating sweeties? No!
(2)Just say no - I have no idea where that sweetie packet came from no, nada, not me
(3)Offence - don't accuse me of eating sweeties!!! I was just eating a carrot
(4) Accuse someone else of lying - you must've eaten the sweeties
(5) Gas lighting - I think you're imagining that you had sweeties
(6) Collusion - don't tell mummy
Now maybe all 4 year olds lie, and playful sharing/hiding of candy is fairly harmless, but in my predawn worries I saw this as a workhop/test bed for the bigger kind of lies my partner carries off so effortlessly. Connor should never lie, and there should be nothing he can't tell mummy about. Though his father may be a improvident, ineffectual and self obsessed, he would never cheat, lie, disrespect other's beliefs, morals or personal space, or cross the boundaries of good taste.