So here is the first of many candid, real talk sessions where I talk completely transparently for all of you to judge me and share candid, unprofessional pictures on the topic at hand. These “real talk” sessions will not be posted on my blog feed so you must be signed up for my newsletter to get the special link access every week!
I polled you all on Instagram and there were so many questions that you had for me. One of the questions that kept popping up over and over was, “What is your experience with dating as a single mother?” Now, I can tell you, I do not have all the answers and I am not an expert by any means as I have only dated two guys since my divorce for the long term, not at the same time of course, and while I have so much more to uncover, I have learned quite a bit from each relationship thus far.
Is dating as a single mom harder?
YES! I am looking for different things than I used to in a man. In college I focused on a partner’s potential for success, attraction, spontaneity, and drive. Now, as an adult single mom, I need dependability, honesty, respect, financial stability, and most importantly, the ability to love my children and accept my family, to name a few. I do not seek these things because I lack in these areas, I desire a man who can stand on the line with me and match me in the qualities that I can offer to him. It will take a special kind of man, but I am very optimistic!
When can you introduce your children to the new guy as a single mom?
If I am honest, I am disappointed in my judgement here but hey, I am learning as I go. My boys met each of the men in my last two relationships and they were instantly attached as far as a friend POV goes. They constantly asked to be around those male figures. I realized very quickly that while they have an AMAZING father that fulfills the dad role completely, my children may seek to have more of a family structure from either of their parents. They are very accepting of those that I love which means I need to protect this accepting innocence at all cost. Just as a split hurts me, it could also instill abandonment in my boys.
I have recently been spending a lot of time with a super great guy but the kiddos will not be a part of any future relationship until I know in my heart that the man is “the one.” I am not saying that I have to have a ring on it, but I AM saying that me and the other person will have had to have a talk about spending the rest of our lives together. Then we can take the relationship to the next level, which is meeting my precious boys. Not sure I can put a timeline on it, I guess when I know, I will know!
Do you feel like you will ever find true love as a single mom?
Absolutely! I have not given up the dream of one big happy family and living my life with “my person” or should I say “our person” since he will need to be the right fit for my boys as well. I am a firm believer that he exists, so I am taking my experiences with others may it be my boys, the man I am dating, or friends and family one minute at a time. No need to rush it, when it all feels right I will know.
5 Tips for Dating as a Single Mom from my Experience
1. KNOW YOUR IDENTITY & WORTH
Being a mom is a thankless, yet amazing job. You are constantly working to support your small family, teach your children, and give your littles the best life possible which unfortunately can be at the detriment to your identity. Your sole focus and reasoning behind everything that you do revolves around your kids so when a man comes in to your life and you give a slice of time to that person, you are allowing them to see you in a more vulnerable state than if you did not have children at all. This is a very scary thing but can also be a very beautiful thing if it is done with the right person.
Lucky for me, identity through motherhood has never been a problem but personal worth has been. As a single mom you long for your partner to be proud of you and find worth in you. You feel like you selflessly do so much, and I am not complaining by any means as being a mother has been the greatest gift I will ever be given, however you want a partner that can appreciate your ability as a mother and woman. To me, I correlate this with worth, if I feel appreciated because of my identity as a mother and as a s strong woman, my personal view of worth to my partner is heightened. Remember, I am only speaking from my point of view and am not saying that this concept is right at all. As a matter of fact, personal worth probably should come from within and before having children it did for me, but my role as a woman has changed and so my views on relationships with those that I love have as well.
2. CONSIDER YOUR DEALBREAKERS
So this is the “red flag” theory. If you see any red flags, do not overlook them! Boy am I GREAT at overlooking red flags. With both of my relationships since my divorce I saw red flags within the first month but I have been known to keep the milk past the expiration date. I know, I know this is easier said than done, you make excuses for the other person because there are so many other things that are nice but the fact of the matter is, a red flag is considered a deal breaker. There may be quirks that aren’t necessarily red flags but if something is said or happens that makes you stop dead in your tracks and question if that is a red flag, IT IS! This is important in any relationship but is especially important as a single mom because you own it to your kids to be the happiest version of yourself. Imagine the depravity that you will be delivering to your children if they never see the happiest side of you? When I am happy, I am goofy, upbeat, playful, want to go and do things to make memories with my kids. They deserve this side of their mom. Not the uneasy, apprehensive, unsure version. Figure out your deal breakers before dating, write them down, and do not change them for anything. I have a list of deal breakers and both relationships hit deal breaker level within one month but I totally overlooked. LESSON LEARNED!
3. THE KIDS ARE ALWAYS THE PRIORITY
I have never had an issue personally with putting a man in front of my kids. In fact, I am very forthcoming that my boys WILL respectably come first. Be sure the person you are dating understands this fully. The minute I feel like a man is putting his foot between my boys and I, I vamp and you should too!
4. YOUR FUTURE MEANS MORE THAN JUST YOU
I cannot say this enough, it isn’t YOUR FUTURE, it is the future of your small family at hand. When thinking about being single after divorce and trying to navigate the uncharted waters of dating with children, I realized that my needs in a man were completely different because I am tasked with finding the person whole can help to build a happy future for not only myself, but for my children. When it comes time for the introduction, have a seperate list of red flags for your kids and observe. I have only made my red flag list for my boys last week after observing their behavior and the behavior of past partners. There were things I liked and didn’t like but couldn’t process them on the spot and needed time to observe what I wanted in a relationship for my boys. We are not looking for a father figure here, more so a male figure that they can look up to. One who has values that I want my boys to imitate because believe me, they will imitate and soak up everything that happens around them. Making sure that my boys always feel loved and like they are part of a family that would do anything for them is my top priority.
5. FIND THE FIT
And this is us, quirky, random, full of life and content. We don’t need disruption. In fact, we don’t need anything as momma (aka ME) is taking care of business, running the household successfully financially, teaching the boys through quarantine, keeping a clean living space and all that jazz. We want the perfect fit. Someone who naturally without effort fits into our life. It may sound selfish but I have done enough changing for men in my past. I love me. I love my boys. I don’t plan on changing a thing from here on out. FInding the fit for your family is essential. If you find yourself changing to make someone love you then you are in the wrong relationship. You will become exhausted, lonely, and unfulfilled. Find that fit and avoid all of these things… trust me!
So that wraps up round one of Real Talk! I welcome any comments to my email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will attach them to this page for all to see! Also, if you have any topic suggestions or questions for me to cover, also email them to me there. I will be featuring weekly straight to our inbox!