For the daters…the single parent

As I was sitting in the hospital at 4 am Saturday morning, after being awake for 22 hours it hit me.

Dating as a single mom sucks.

I had all kinds of wonderful weekend plans, but none of them were realized. Instead I spent the weekend (and the last two days) caring for my young one; neither of us sleeping much at all. There were several trips to the children’s hospital, the pharmacy, and the doctor. It has been a glorious battle, one that will continue for another week and disrupt another weekend of plans. But baby love is feeling much better and is smiling once again.

How does ANY of that tie into the subject of dating?

Here’s how…when you date a single parent these are the things you have to deal with.

You have to be able to cancel the plans. You have to be less spontaneous. You have to realize that when it comes to you and the date vs. the kids…the kids win every time.

You see it’s not that we (single parents) aren’t interested. It’s not that we don’t want to give you guys our undivided attention, but we have a responsibility to our family first.

As I said previously, if we even agree to a date with you it means we think you are worth the extra effort.

You should take it as a compliment…even if it doesn’t work out that we actually go anywhere.

There are some things that single, childless adults don’t understand. The biggest trial is the availability of time. There is none. If we are a single parent we are working full time and raising a family full time. Even if we are paying someone to help us with the raising of our family, our time is still consumed by the actions of what is going on in the day to day.

Many people are like me. We work to live and pay daycare. We don’t have the greatest work schedules…some…like mine…are royally messed up and free time is scarce, so we prefer to spend it with our children. That’s not a slight to the kid-less people, but a reality to us who have them.

So, this really leads me here.

When should you meet these little people that consume our energy, resources, and nearly every waking moment? Because we would like to spend time as a grown up, but we still need to raise our family.

To answer that question you must first be able to answer these questions…

1)       Where is the relationship going?

2)      Are you in fact “in a relationship?”

3)      Will this person still be a friend to your children even if you two decide to not continue in a life together?

4)      Criminal background check…anyone?

Okay, so the last one may be a bit extreme, but honestly, do you want a freed murderer hanging around with your children regardless of the circumstances of the “incident?”

Not so much.

I suppose to answer question ONE you need to know where you want the relationship to go first. Do you want a long term relationship or are you just looking for some action? In my humble opinion, you should figure this out before you even say yes to the date (I don’t always follow that advice). Not that you have to have a long term relationship with everyone you meet, but you should know WHAT you are preparing yourself for. Are you ready for the long haul or just a few weeks break from reality?

Let’s say you figure all the answers out to question ONE, so you are on to question TWO. How do you know you are in a relationship? I think it is juvenile to wait for the person to update their Facebook status. Generally I would say be direct and ask…but some people need more time to determine what they want and where they want to go. However in a relationship that simply started physical and you feel like you want more, you should lay it out there. Seriously, you never know what you will get if you don’t put all the cards out on the table and hope for whatever answer you are looking for.

If your date doesn’t agree, oh well, it’s not the end of the world. It won’t ruin your life. It won’t have much impact on your kids or your family. Going out on a few dates will help you determine the answers to questions one and two, and will get you further along the path to the rest.

Let things happen and live in the moment as much as you can. Don’t beat yourself up if the date or the person you are on the date with aren’t what you dreamed, but realize that God has a plan that will make it better. You never habe to go out with them again if you don’t want.

It’s just my opinion but when it comes to single parent dating and kids, keep your dates separate from your kids until you either know this is the one for you. It’s a matter of stability for the kids.

Do you want them to meet a new guy all the time if you are just going out on a date or two?

Nope. We need to give our kids guidance and be practical…at least as practical as we can be…I recently heard the story of a woman who met a guy and he moved in to her house the weekend they met (him and his kids) and now 10 years later have never been happier.

Love, passion, falling head over heels it makes us do all kinds of things.

We just have to be practical, but be ready when Cupid strikes.

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