Dear Miss Emily:

We have been dating 9 months. Three kids. I was over my boyfriend's house last night when he asked me to watch his kids for him, while he went somewhere. I agreed....but it seems like every time he leaves me with them, I get frustrated. I guess its because he is separated from his wife and she is seeing someone else and he is seeing me. But when I watch them, I get frustrated because they have to leave and go home to their mom, and I don't want to tell them they can't do something, or get stern with them when they will just go home to their mom and tell her I was mean. She will then call my boyfriend and yell at him. I just don't know where I stand sometimes, or how to handle this sort of situation. When he got home I was grumpy. Because I was thinking about this, I love his kids to death, but he got mad at me because he seems to think that his kids irritate me. So he drove me home, right then, and said he would come over later. Which he didn't. Now I'm mad that he didn't come over so I could explain. I called him and he told me that he didn't come over because he didn't want to argue with me. What should I do? Should I be mad? How do I explain that his kids mean so much to me..and they don't irritate me??? I don't know what to do...I need advice. Thank you.

----------------------Miss Emily's advice--------------------

Here's my advice, don't babysit the kids. The situation is too touchy, and you can't be expected to walk a tightrope around them or for your boyfriend because he's in an awkward situation that drags you into it, as well. You have your own place, he has a home with three kids and a wife whom he is, legally, still married until a divorce is final. You're a fool if you think you can suddenly become Mary Poppins to these kids, and be all things to all people. No, I feel for you and the expectation that this man has put upon you. See the kids when you know your boyfriend is not going to leave you with them, and explain why you want this, at this time in your relationship. It's not unreasonable. But what is unreasonable is for him to think you can handle a delicate situation perfectly, and you feel guilty that you can't. If he doesn't understand, find someone who will. Now, if nothing I wrote here, sinks in, try this: Release yourself from the anger of knowing his kids have a mother whom they love, and your boyfriend still has ties to the ex. When you are alone with the kids, reassure them that you are not their mother, have no intention of playing mother, but hope for a friendship. Then, read books on child psychology and development to understand a child's mind, and create games and techniques to draw them in. These kids are not to blame for their parents breaking up. Kids are like sponges, and they also enjoy anyone who sincerely pays attention to them and can get involved in their "kid" world. Hope I shed some light on your problem.