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Variety is the spice of life is a saying that implies that different people, things and experiences are what make life exciting and worth living. When you think about it, relationships are an intricate part of the spice of life because they bring about new lessons, insight, ideas, and changes. Every relationship someone engages in requires time for nurturing and growth, no matter what type of association it is. However, in the hustle and bustle of daily routines, we have the tendency to mismanage the time we give to those we are involved with, particularly those of us who are single parents on the dating scene who struggle with balancing parenthood and romance. Finding ways to ensure that your youngsters/teenagers needs are met and developing an intimate relationship while maintaining your sanity can be a difficult task, but it’s not impossible. Keep these simple standards in mind:

Keep your child’s needs and concerns as a priority.

As a parent, your child’s needs automatically come before yours, and definitely before someone you’re dating. While you do deserve quality adult time, know and understand that your child deserves for his/her needs to be met, and as the parent it is your job to put them before date night.

Always have quality time and activities planned with your child.

Time well spent with your offspring is valuable for the both of you because before you know it, they will be an adult. So whether it’s watching cartoons, eating ice cream or reading a book with them, make sure you designate and spend quality time. As long as they feel like you still make time for them (and not in a chore type of way), a child can be accepting of your decision to try and date and possibly of the new love interest in your life.

Designate quality time for the person you’re involved with.

Set times for calling and dates that work with both of your schedules. Always be flexible and understand that circumstances can change for the both of you in a flash, but always put forth a thoughtful effort.

Communicate openly and effectively with your mate.

Effective communication is the key to any productive relationship. Making your significant other aware of your schedule (with or without your child) and listening to theirs will provide them with a sense of inclusion and will allow you to create time for each other to meet everyone’s needs.

Make time for yourself.

Always preserve me time to ensure that you are rejuvenated so you can do what’s necessary for you, your child and your romantic interest. You are only one person and you don’t want to stretch yourself too thin, because if you do then you won’t be of any good use to anyone.

Be anxious for nothing!

Don’t rush your time with your kid to be with your love interest, and in turn don’t rush the time you’ve designated to be with someone else… unless of course it’s an emergency and you have to get back to your child. The time spent with both parties is valuable so make it worth their while and yours.

If you’re going out, ask a relative or friend in advance to take your little one out for a night on the town too.

This way everyone will be out enjoying themselves! Set a time to be back and be sure to beat your child home and ask him/her about their evening. Or if you are the parent of an older child, allow them to hang out with friends for the night (out of your house of course, unless you feel that you can trust them like that). That way they’ll have something fun and productive to do while you’re enjoying quality adult time.

Parenthood is a blessing that no one should take for granted, but in the scope of things, adults must spend time with themselves and others to create a sense of balance for their life and others around them. Being a caregiver and dating can be a wonderful experience for all…if you allow it to be. However, we must know where our priorities are, establish and keep standards for ourselves, our child or children and the people we are involved with.

What are some standards you’ve established as a single parent dating? Did they work for you?

Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin.

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