Finding Love While Balancing Parenthood
Parenthood is difficult enough; add dating to the mix and you may begin to feel a bit overwhelmed. Fear not, you will be able to find love as a single parent. There is just a lot of organization that goes into dating as a single parent rather than a single person. You need to be more concerned about your time. You not only have a job, a child, and dating you need to be sure to space out your priorities accordingly. Another obstacle is childcare. It is fine to take your child just about anywhere, except to a bar on a first date. Finding reliable childcare that is also flexible will be a hurdle you need to jump. There is hope for single parents to find love, their roads may just have a few more bumps and detours in them than others.
Single parents have one thing different in their dating equation than other single people…the “parent” part. Single parents are not the only person in the equation when they are dating. It is them as well as their child or children. Depending on the age of their kids will determine the type of obstacles that dating with kids will bare.
Childcare will be one of the challenges that dating as a single parent will warrant. Unless you have a live-in nanny (which is not likely) you will need dependable and flexible childcare. Kids are typically in school from eight in the morning until around three in the afternoon. This is a decent amount of time to squeeze in a lunch date if your schedules allow. Dating as a single parent means you need to improvise. So rather than a steakhouse evening date you may need to meet up for a lunchtime salad instead. Either way however, you get a good conversation and time together. This is not to say that you are settling for a lunchtime date, it is just that is when you are childless and able to see a gentleman caller. Weekends are another tricky time for dating. If it is their exes weekend for custody then you are wide open. Make sure to plan your weekends wisely to be sure to squeeze every ounce of time together out. You also need to make time for yourself so don’t overbook with dates all weekend long because self-care is just as much a part of this as anything.
For those of you that are single parents with family close that may be a good opportunity to have fun weeknight dates. If your parents live local and can take care of after school duty and bedtime then you can have a casual evening of drinks and dancing. With that being said, the sexy dates may have to wait a bit longer than you would if you didn’t have children. Dating sans children you could leave your house at the drop of a hat to grab drinks or meet up for a quick meal. That is not the case anymore and whomever you choose to start seeing you will have to explain all of this to them so they don’t feel shorted or blown off when you can’t make a date or event without proper planning. That may seem less sexy and impulsive to have everything planned out ahead of time but that is the reality of it all.
Time management is a challenge for anyone. But for someone with a lot more on their plate than the average dater it is even more of a challenge. When you have children your children have activities, friends, appointments, etc. You name it and your kid needs you for it. Baseball practice carpools, PTA meetings, flute lessons, and doctor appointments. All of these are part of your life and you need to manage your time accordingly to fit in time for you and time for dating. First and foremost, know that online dating is probably your best shot at organizing and controlling your dating life best. This way you can easily browse potential suitors, talk online at anytime, (for example while you are waiting to pick your kids up from various activities), and you can also precisely plan dates for when you have no obligations as well as a sitter for your children. There is so much more that goes into dating when you have children that not all people will understand. Creating an organized environment for love may sound silly but it will be effective.
Navigating your life with an ex husband or wife can be trouble enough when you enter the dating world when you are without children. For those of you that have to deal with custody of your children with said ex is another battle. With proper communication anything can be navigated. When you start dating again, no matter how “over” you and your ex are he or she will probably feel a hint of jealousy in the beginning because it is human nature to feel that way. You have children together and that is a connection you will share with that person for the rest of your natural born life whether you want to or not. When you are fresh in the dating game try to plan your dates when your ex has the children so that you can have the freedom to meet new people without having to worry about getting a babysitter when you are just starting out and not sure how things will go. Another tip you can use when dealing with the challenge of an ex while newly dating is also to not switch your days around to fit a new dating schedule, this will cause him or her to think you are prioritizing your social life over your days with your children. Keep a schedule and stick to it. They do not need to impede on your life anymore than necessary. And being honest also helps. Keep the lines of communication open with both your ex and your new beau. Let them both know what is going on so that nothing gets lost in translation because you must remember that at the end of the day the safety and happiness of your children is what matters most.
After having children you may feel “old” or “used” however you want to put it, you feel different dating as a parent whether you are 25 or 45. A child ages you not only mentally and emotionally but physically as well. Be sure to keep up self-care so that you love yourself. Loving yourself is the most important part about dating at any age with any number of children. If you love yourself then you open the opportunity up for others to love you as well. Having a child does not put you off the market and it also does not mean that you wasted your “best years” raising kids so now no one will want you. It is not true that men only want tight young things and women only want six packed lovers. There is someone for everyone and you will get a chance to find love again if you put yourself out there and know that you are NOT less. You are MORE, more experienced with life because you have a family. You have gone through different experiences than the people you may date and that will make you see very fascinating. Own your role as a parent and know that it is part of you, not ALL of you. You are still a happy and smart person regardless of the fact that you have kids. Dating is fun and not just for non-kid having young people. You can date at any age whether you have kids or not. People also don’t write of men or women with children like you may think. As long as you are honest about your life with the person that you are dating they will fall in love with the person that you are and eventually fall in love with being a part of your family someday.