As I consider the idea of dating again, I ask myself, are there any helpful rules or guidelines for dating as a single mom? In all honesty, I was never really the dating type. I met my ex-boyfriend in college; I had a few flings, and casual “baes” most of my young adult life. My ex and I were in a 6-year relationship, from 21-27, which was prime “casual dating” age. But since I was committed to him, I never got to experience the college dating scene. We ultimately broke up, and soon after, I started dating my daughter’s father. He and I had known each other for almost a decade and were friends for a while, but we “unofficially dated” for a few years, before I got pregnant. So, my entire 20’s was consumed by two individuals. As I creep into my 30’s… SHIT! I am thinking about officially, “dating”.
Now, when I say dating I mean, going on dates with individuals, getting to know people, nothing mutually exclusive, but with hopes of finding a potential mate I could settle down with in the future.
Dating, in general, is tough, but adding a child to the mix seems like a nightmare. Now that I am a mother, so many questions run through my mind as my friends push me more and more into the shallow dating pool. I feel more pressure than ever to put myself out there and meet men; because I know I’m not going to find my husband sitting on my couch in my pajamas all day. I am struggling with the whole dating concept though now that I have a child, and have her best interested in mind. Is there a manual on how to date when you find yourself in my situation? I searched high and low and haven’t found anything that works for me, so let’s create one together! There are so many questions I need to be answered, and you probably do too. So I’ll start and I hope that you will add your struggles, concerns, and tips below!
Struggle #1 – When is it the right time?
I keep going back and forth about timing. Is it too soon to start dating? Mainly, I feel guilty thinking about leaving my child with someone else so I can go on a date. The nerve of me right? My daughter hasn’t been away from me for more than a few hours; she’s my right hand, I take her everywhere. Granted, a solid date may only last a few hours, it just doesn’t seem right to me. Maybe that’s me subconsciously making an excuse, or maybe mommy guilt is a real thing, I don’t know. And with my mommy guilt consuming me, I probably wouldn’t be able to enjoy my time out anyway. So now I’m torn on if its too soon. Is there a right time to start dating again? And will the mommy guilt ever go away?
Struggle #2 – Where can I meet an eligible bachelor?
No offense, but where can I find a decent man these days? Honestly, I work from home, so there is no potential work bae. I graduated from college years ago, so no college sweetheart story. And I look a hot mess going to any grocery store because I have a tiny terror, and I can get away with it. So, where can I meet a good man anyway? I feel like I am too young to explore E-Harmony and Christian Mingle, my type probably doesn’t hang out there anyway, and I’m too old to be on Tinder swiping left, or right or whatever. I had such a lively social life before becoming a mom, but now that I don’t get out much, I am struggling to figure out how I can meet a good man. Ladies, where do all the good men hang out?
Struggle #3 – When do I bring up I’m a mother?
So, now, hypothetically speaking, I have a date. When do I bring up the mother part? First date? Third date? Before we even initially meet? Is a fair warning better? Common courtesy would suggest I throw that curveball at the beginning of the game right? As a mother, I don’t have time to waste, and I’m sure men don’t either, so should I mention it from the very beginning and see if that is a deal-breaker, or should I unpack my baggage a little later on? Dating someone with a child is a different type of commitment, and I know some people would rather not date someone with kids. But then again, maybe, that’s not a conversation you should be having on a noncommitted first date? Too soon, or is sooner really better?
Struggle #4 – When should I introduce him to my child?
Okay, so we’ve made it through the first few dates. And here comes my next struggle; when should I introduce him to my child? I’m a very private person, so my first thought is do I even have to introduce them? I mean, obviously, once we’re engaged, they can have a lunch date or something, just kidding, but seriously, when is a good time? I’m concerned about it always being too soon, but I want their vibe to be right, so maybe before we get too serious? I’d be devasted if I fell in love with a man, and my daughter hated him, then what? So, I wonder, where is the sweet spot? Is there a timeline for these single mom struggles or am I on my own here?
Being a mother adds so much additional pressure to dating, and makes a tough situation even tougher! Would you agree? What are some of your concerns or experiences? Although I do have some real reservations about reentering the dating scene, I’m also excited about the possibilities. Together, let’s design a new creative path to exciting dating for single mommies everywhere.