Let’s talk about dating. Most of you reading this are probably married and struggle to coordinate a date night in the middle of a hectic work schedule + drop offs/pick ups + errands + sleep. So now I’m gonna throw in yet another variable — how about FINDING someone to date + the actual dating. Like having to get to know someone that could become your child’s parent. No pressure. For the purpose of this here blog post, let’s assume the dating app of the week has produced someone worth going on a date with … this is where it goes from here if you are a single mom:
- Well, the guy has to ACTUALLY ask you out. This might sound obvious, but over the past three years that I have been single and a mom I’ve been “matched” with over 50 guys. I have been asked out by three of them. What is the DEAL?! It’s flashbacks to high school and college … when you KNOW you like someone and that they like you and the social pressure is too much to actually date. But with online dating the social pressure isn’t really there, so what gives?
- Then you find a babysitter. This is usually the easy part. But I will be honest, I hate using paid babysitters for first dates. ‘Cause there is nothing worse than paying someone to watch your kid if you come home from a BAD first date. The date was awful AND I paid to be there. Just so you know, when dating as a single parent the guy might buy you dinner, but he will rarely if EVER pay for your sitter too. Lame.
- Then there are all of the safety aspects in play. I never EVER give out my address to someone I meet online. I either drive myself or uber to the date spot. This also helps if you need to make a speedy exit. AND I screen shot the guy’s dating profile and send it to no less than three friends with all of the details of the date. This is just smart, single mom or not.
- Now for the actual date. Tricky thing, I don’t advertise being a single mom on dating sites. This is for a few reasons, the biggest is that I don’t want to be targeted by a creeper who wants to prey on a single mom. We have ALL seen “About a Boy.” And, although I would LOVE to date someone as handsome and rich as Hugh Grant’s character, let’s not date someone who thinks he can manipulate me emotionally because I’m a single mom. This all makes for a pretty heavy first date convo.
Funny side story: One time on a first date, I had not yet dropped the “mom bomb” and ran into a friend who greeted me with “Hey how are you? Where’s your kid?!” “Hey, this is my date who doesn’t know I have a kid yet … great seeing you.”
- So, you drop the “mom bomb” and hope for the best and expect the worse. Now, if I was a single guy that could scream red flag … I try to remember that my situation isn’t as red-flaggy once you know me. But dating is all about the getting to know you, and Mr. Tinder is under no obligation to go on a second date if he is weirded out that I have a kid. Not to mention, if you are weirded out that I have a kid, I probably won’t agree to a second date.
- Then the goodnight. This is when I usually say thanks and make a quick exit, good date or not. If the date has gone well, I immediately began to think about whether or not this guy is dad material. Now, if I was single with no kids that would sound like CRAZY TALK; but it’s not actually crazy if you’re already a mom. Think about it, one good date that leads to a second date forces you to actually wonder if you are ok with this guy being “Dad” immediately.
I’ll be honest, I don’t really have a formula or plan for when and if a suitor meets my son. And up until Henry turned 2, it wasn’t as much of an issue because he was too young to understand the difference between a boy mommy went on a date with and any other of my adult male friends. As we are deep into age 2 and fast approaching 3, the game is changing. Henry is beginning to understand interpersonal relationships, so I will have to be more vigilant. Luckily, I haven’t made it past a first date in over a year.
Aside from the thinking about your date as a dad from day one, dating as a parent is SUPER freeing. I get to be as picky as I want and it’s completely justified. I swipe left like it’s my job, and I know what kind of father Henry lacks which has helped me define what kind of men I want in his life going forward.
If you need me, I’ll be searching for the next great dating app and watching “One Fine Day” on repeat hoping that play school drop off can be my meet cute.