Flirting With Disaster: Motherhood, Men and Mayhem

November 13, 2012  |  

He smiled. I frowned. He licked his lips suggestively and winked. I flashed my wedding ring, rolled my eyes and walked away – with my daughter in tow.

Ladies, is it me or are men getting bolder and bolder with their flirting nowadays?  Now let’s be real.  Whether you are married or single, it always feels good when a man acknowledges that you’re attractive.  It strokes our egos to know that we’ve still got it.  But even though I may be flattered by the attention (especially if he’s cute), I feel very uncomfortable when men flirt outrageously with me in front of my child.

I’m happily married and plan to stay that way, so flirting for me is a big no-no.  But even many of my single girlfriends tell me that they are turned off when men flirt too aggressively with them in front of their children.   And most of my friends agree that although they may want to flirt back, they do so very gingerly when their children are around.

Some women think, “What’s the big deal if I flirt around my kids?  They’re kids.  They won’t know the difference.”  I totally disagree, and so do many relationship experts.  A growing body of research shows that children form their views on self-worth and how to relate to the opposite sex by observing their parents.

But you don’t even need expert advice to know that how you conduct yourself around your children is critical.  Without the help of a child psychologist I can think of a few relationship lessons that our children learn from us just by watching how we respond to men that we meet:

  • Discipline vs. animal impulses.  It’s instinctive to react positively to every handsome man that gets you hot under the collar.  But when our children see us using discipline and discretion about how we react, they learn to do the same.
  • Respect.  If you get drawn in by the “Hey, sexy!” or “Lemme holler at you.” line in front of your kids you may be teaching them an inadvertent lesson on how women should be valued.  When your children only see you give positive responses to men that approach you respectfully, they learn to value themselves.
  • Fidelity.  Are you married or in a committed relationship but still entertaining random approaches from men?  Or are you flirting with man after man with your kids around?  Well, you might as well be teaching your children how to cheat in their future relationships.

So ladies, let’s use discretion before we smile, wink back and give away those phone digits so quickly when our children are around.  Remember those little eyes are on you and they are making mental notes.

Mama, how do you handle the advances of men when your children are around?

Words by Yolanda Darville
Yolanda Darville is a mom, writer, communications strategist and blogger focusing on philanthropy and empowering women.  Learn more about her on her blog .

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