Let’s face it – dating is hard. Being a single mom who dates is harder. But it doesn’t have to be torturous, and if done with the right attitude it can be fun!
I have spent my time dating as a single mom and I’ve had single mom friends who have dated. I’ve compiled a list of what to do and not to do when you enter the dating scene as a single mom. Please take the advice I’m giving – there is no need to experience your own Duh! Moments while dating….
1. First things first – realize that you are mom. No, DON’T wear your Mom Jeans, but you also don’t’ have to dress and act like a flighty 21 year old. Be yourself. Of course go out and get a cute outfit, touch up your roots, and make sure you don’t have any baby slobber on your clothing. But all in all you are a mom and any guy going out on a date with you should know that.
2. Don’t go looking for a Dad. Your kid already has a Dad. For whatever reason that Dad may or may not be in the picture. Just accept that your child was dealt that Dad and will adjust to his/her arrangements. Don’t start out with the idea that you are replacing one Dad with another Dad. You are just going out on a date. Take it one step at a time. If the guy is really a great guy, then it will all work out and he will step up to the plate when needed to fill the Daddy role.
3. Don’t show all of your cards as they are probably full of crazy eights! This is a date, not a confessional. We all have a past, it is what makes us who we are. BUT we don’t need to spill the beans on the first date. Yes, honesty is the best policy, but no one REALLY needs to hear your entire sob story. Let that come out over time.
4. Don’t bring your kids into it. Get to know each other first. Yes, eventually you will want to make sure your kids click with the guy, but there is no need to introduce them at the beginning – remember he is dating YOU, not your entire family.
5. Don’t put off dating until: your child is older, you lose 20 pounds, you get a new job, you find a good babysitter, etc. I know way too many women who put aside their social life for their children. Know what happens? Their kids grow up, leave home, and the ladies are stuck in their 40s, 50s, 60s, trying to figure out how to date. Like Nike says – Just Do It! Get out there and start to meet people. You aren’t looking for Mr. Perfect, you are just getting back on the scene and enjoying the adventure.
6. Do take care of yourself. In your previous relationship you probably put up with a lot of BS and sacrificed a lot of yourself. Don’t do it this time. Figure out who YOU are and what YOU need. Then go look for it and only settle when all of your needs are met. This is your golden opportunity, a do-over, a fresh start. Don’t blow the moment by falling back into your old pattern.
7. Understand that there are weirdo’s out there and protect yourself! (See my previous blogs about online dating). It is sad, but I have had far too many friends be the unsuspecting victim to nasty guys looking to take advantage of vulnerable women. (And, yes, my single mommy friends you are vulnerable). Look for red flags and listen to them.
8. Have fun! Really, this is a great time in your life. You get to experience the joy of motherhood, the good times of raising a child. AND you get to get out of the house, meet new people and experience the ‘other side’ - being single. Take advantage of your “off” nights. If you aren’t ready to jump into online dating then just go out with your girl friends, take a class, join a club. There is so much out there. Sitting home being a single mom is the worst thing you can do. You need to have fun and enjoy yourself so that you can be full of life and happiness for your kids.
9. Have patience. Yes, patience is important. The chance of you finding Mr. Right on the first time out is pretty slim. I’ve been single for quite some time and I’m still searching the galaxies for my Prince Charming. However, I know there is someone out there for all of us. It is just a matter of perseverance, timing and getting off of my couch!