How To Date A Single Mom: I’m A Package Deal

July 28, 2014  |  

It isn’t easy dating as a single mother because, like most parents will tell you, it can be hard to leave your children while you go out and attempt to have a good time and not feel guilty. While you’re throwing back expensive drinks and laughing with your friends, your mind wanders to the little precious one you left at home. On those nights, you want to just enjoy the evening and take a break from your obligation, but the truth is – you can’t. It is inevitable that when someone buys you a drink, approaches you to make small talk you will bring up your pride and joy. Most people talk about their jobs, the trips they’ve taken, but you? You’ll talk about how great your kid is doing in school and the cute thing they did last night.

Depending on how people react to these conversation points will show you if you can continue chatting or if you should look for the nearest exit. It took four years before I found the person who didn’t make me feel bad about that. I never saw myself being a single mother, it’s just isn’t one of those roles I imagine anyone prepares to take on. It’s one of those happenstances in life that simply occurs. One day you may be coupled up with your child’s father and the next, just like that, you aren’t anymore. Then you’re no longer just single again but now you’re single with a little extra person.

Very early on in my singleness, I knew that there would come a time when I’d have to date again, when I’d get back on the proverbial horse and head back out there into the dating world. What I wasn’t ready for, were the types of men I would encounter along the way–those who instantly wanted to become daddy to my daughter, which they were not asked to do by her or me. Then there were some who wanted to pretend she didn’t exist. But then there was the one that acknowledged her presence, didn’t want to force his but allowed a relationship to develop just as organically as any other. It was that man, who when asked to me marry him, I said yes with a smile powered by joy.

The thing that made dating difficult as a single mom was finding someone who understood I was a package deal but that I was not actively seeking a replacement for my child’s father. At the age of 29, I have found that quite a few people are parents, what I find the most interesting is that the dating pool for women with children is not as wide open as it is for men who are parents. More often than not, men are vocal about their preferences for not dating a woman who has a child. With a variety of reasons they proudly and loudly declare their allegiance against women with children. Part of the problem is some men are stuck to the antiquated idea that every woman they take on a date is planning their wedding from the moment appetizers hit the table. Newsflash buddy, we’re here for the good time, too. Sure we have a little more responsibility than someone else or maybe our dates are fewer and more far between but it is not our goal to come home with a new daddy for baby each time we leave the house. Like any woman we are looking for some to love us for who we are, as mothers yes, but most importantly as women who deserve that gesture.

The most common question asked by single mothers who date is, “When do you know it is the time to introduce your new friend to your children?” For the most part, I believe this is a personal choice but there are few things I think are pertinent in every situation. Prior to introducing your children to anyone, ensure that the person you’re with will be around for some significant amount of time. If he or she is simply someone you are enjoying spending nights with or don’t truly see a future with, then leave your kids out of the equation. Save yourself and them the pain of having to explain what happened to so and so when the inevitable occurs.

Secondly, if possible, see what this person is like when he or she hangs out with other children. Be they relatives, children of their friends, or strangers you happen to come across, take note of how they engage with kids, their behaviors and demeanor. Are they easily irritated, struggling to hold a conversation, or awkward? Then it probably isn’t the best idea to bring your kid(s) into the situation because they have already shown they aren’t ready. Truth is, not everyone can handle the responsibility that comes with having to share their significant other with someone else; a someone else who is more important than them and who never goes away. And to be honest, that isn’t a condemnation but a truism and another way of weeding out who isn’t for you.

When I got engaged, after giving me congratulations, most people asked me how my daughter felt about it. To be honest, I’ve been blessed to find a man who truly accepted me for who I was and embraced my child like his own. When I was dating, I was adamant about informing my potential suitors that I was a package deal and if that wasn’t ok, then we weren’t going to work. I want to give all of the single and looking mothers out there the assurance that there is someone for you and your baby. And big ups to the people who are willing to walk into someone’s life and accept all of them, because in the end, aren’t two hearts better than one?

Read more at where the author, Leslie, talks pop culture, motherhood and everything in between.

Find Leslie on Twitter @Hautemommie and on YouTube on “Let Leslie Tell It.”

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