The Woes of Single Moms Who Are Looking to Date

It’s tough balancing the responsibilities of being a mom and finding love in the dating world. Below are some of the common trials that we face.

single mom dating

There is no denying that balancing dating and home life can be a tricky task for anyone, let alone a single mom. Raising my son on my own, I learned a few tricks and many valuable lessons throughout the years that helped me survive the dating world.

We all have busy lives, and having children only adds to that. They have soccer practice, piano lessons, school, school projects, homework, laundry, they need to eat… the list is endless. When my son was younger and my friends and family started saying, “You should get out there and date!” I would simply say, “I don’t have any time to date.”

Between work and my son, there didn’t seem to be any time for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son more than anything and I have loved taking care of him and spending time with him, but that meant no time for me, or so I thought.

We all know that our children are the most important thing in our lives, but what about us? We matter too. Too often we set our own desires aside for our children, but what we often forget is that our children suffer when we are not happy. There are ways to balance our happiness with our desire to keep our children happy. We can still have that active social life and be a great mom at the same time. This was the hardest lesson for me to learn.

A few things to keep in mind when dating as a single mom

Below are some of the lessons I learned when I finally decided that dating can actually be squeezed into the schedule of being a single mother.

#1 Let go of the guilt. There is no need to feel guilty about dating. You deserve love too! You give love without hesitation, and it is up to you to allow yourself to receive love back. If you are anything like me, you may have family members, like your mom, for example, telling you that you should be home with your children, not out “running around” *that’s the term my mom liked to use.* Forget about all those negative comments, you deserve to take time for yourself.

Giving yourself something does not mean you are a bad mom but quite the opposite. It will show your children that valuable lesson that took me far too long to learn: the person you should love the most is yourself. Only then, can we truly give honest love to anyone else, including our children. While you’re at it, indulge in getting something that’s solely for yourself, like a new dress or shoes for your date?

#2 I recommend not introducing your children to everyone you date. Let’s face it, it may take a few lemons before you find the love of your life, I know it did for me. When I first started dating, I would let my date pick me up at home, only to be followed by the inevitable question from my son the next day: “Who was that, mommy?”

After fumbling for an explanation a few times, I learned that it was much better not to introduce my son to who I was dating. So I decided to meet with my date in a neutral location instead. Looking back on it now, my son must have wondered who the strange men were. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t date much, but those first few must have been confusing for him. Valuable lesson learned there. [Read: 10 guys you shouldn’t date if you want true love]

#3 Timing is everything, plan ahead. When you are planning your date, think of something for your children to do to keep them occupied. Have them go and visit their favorite aunt, grandmother or other family member you trust them with.

Ask your friends too, they may want to plan their own date nights and, if they are a single mom like you, may want to trade off on date night. Try this, for example: you have the kids on Friday night or one weekend, so your friend can go out on a date, and then you take your turn. This way, you can have that guilt-free date and your children will be so happy with their activity that they forget to ask, “where’s mommy?”

Planning your date ahead of time might seem like an impossible task at first, but think of it like something you are planning for your children, I am sure you will find the time then. I know I did.

#4 Communication is key. I took a lot of flak from family members and friends for this one, but I believe in being honest with my son. I think that, in any relationship, whether that relationship is with your children or your significant other, communication is key.

Ok, so there are limits to what we share with our children, but letting them know that you are dating or that you have a social life is perfectly acceptable. I used to tell my son that I was going out with a friend. That was enough and it let him know that I was having fun just like he was. He didn’t have to worry about mommy.

#5 Step out of your comfort zone. So you love being in your comfy, mommy clothes and spending time with your children. It’s an easy way to not have to face the dating scene, but what message is that sending to your kid? Embrace the woman you are, and remember you are not just a mommy, you are a woman first. Get out of those mommy clothes, put on something sexy and you may just create a new comfort zone for yourself. [Read: 15 simple ways to stay sexy at any age]

#6 Don’t give up. Once I had let go of the guilt, planned for my date, bought something special to wear and let my son know I was going to have dinner with a friend, I was ready for my first date. It was a blind date. As this was my first date, I had no idea what to expect from a blind date. That was the best part of that date. If I had known what was coming, I would never have agreed to go.

It was a friend from work who set me up on this blind date, and she assured me that he was something special, one who was worth the effort. I believed her. I fell for it.

I made plans for my son, so my date could pick me up at home. I bought a new outfit and shoes and learned how to put on makeup. I was never used to wearing makeup, so this was a new treat. I went through the whole nine yards. I was so excited, scared and nervous all at the same time.

At seven o’clock and right on schedule, the doorbell rang, I opened the door only to find a man dressed up in skintight leather pants, a leather jacket, complete with long fringes, slicked back hair and his shirt open almost to his navel, complete with many gold chains.

I had no idea what to say, I was stunned. I was tempted to just shut the door and hide, but I didn’t. I figured my friend set me up, maybe he is a great guy and I should not let appearances get in the way. I decided to go to the restaurant with him.

I should tell you that I come from a very small town, where it is difficult to go anywhere without someone recognizing you. I was terrified that this was going to be one of those times. Does that make me an awful person?

Back to the date, here’s what happened: I endured a whole two hours of a nonstop diatribe of his life. That was all I could take, I simply said I wasn’t feeling well, and after watching him count out his half of the bill to the exact penny, I took a cab home. It turns out that my “friend” thought it would be a funny experience for me to have on my first date. I laugh about it now, but what a night! [Read: 8 useful ways to get out of a bad date]

Through that date, I learned not to give up and to enjoy each and every date for what it is, without just focusing on finding the ONE.

Let’s face it, the end goal is to find the love of our lives, and if your children are young enough and their father is not in the picture, to find a great father figure or role model for them. Being open and honest with yourself and your children is the best way to balance dating and your home life. Let go of the guilt of giving yourself something you want, and step out of your comfort zone.

[Read: 9 things that shouldn’t be overlooked when dating a single parent]

There are so many great things to come out of dating when you are a single mom. The first, of course, is that you may just find your soul mate, but you will also come to find that your children appreciate you more.

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...