Let’s face it–being a single parent is not easy in general, let alone trying to date as one. There are many challenges out there in the dating world, and it gets even more challenging if you have to adjust your schedule to somehow include also finding the time to date, while also balancing the schedules and needs of your children.
Before I got re-married, when I was a single mom raising two young kids, I personally found that it was a lot easier to date someone who also had kids of their own– someone who could understand that a text at 5:00 p.m. saying “Hey, are you free for a drink?” was rarely (if ever) an option. Spontaneity is only a distant memory from your formerly single life pre-children. This is why dating someone with kids makes things much easier, as they understand that sometimes you need to cancel last minute because your child is sick, has a school project they need help with, or the babysitter needs to leave early–and they won’t take it personally, think you are a total flake, or that you are just making up an excuse to blow them off. Let me just note that this was what my own experiences led me to conclude, but clearly this is not applicable to everyone, nor is it a hard and fast rule. There certainly are exceptions– and some single folks out there without kids will be empathetic to your plight while they are dating you (and to your perhaps, sometimes unintentional ‘flakiness’), due to the superseding needs of your kids.
When writing your profile, you should be honest about being a parent, and that you are looking for a partner who has children that are also a main focus in their life–someone who understands that your children are a top priority. Look for people who share similar interests– someone whose lifestyle would complement and mesh well with you and your family.
Aside from dating and other challenges out there for single parents, another challenge faced by many is finding the right way to have an honest and open discussion about separation, divorce, and in some cases, about re-marrying and having stepfamilies. One of the ways you can address this is by having your kids speak to the right professional (e.g., school guidance counselor, child psychologist/ therapist or social worker). There are also different support groups for kids out there (such as “Banana Splits”), designed to help kids relate to other peers whose parents have separated or divorced. If you do some research, you can also find many articles of interest written by the experts on how they recommend handling these sticky situations. Unfortunately, many parents find that they are at a loss for words in how to approach the topic with their own kids, or how to answer their questions after initiating this conversation.
I tried doing all of the above suggestions, and some of them were very helpful. However, I found that there were not a plethora of children’s books out there discussing these difficult topics, and that my own children were a little confused and felt that they were the only ones out there who were going through this. This situation is what prompted me to publish the Freeda the Frog™ children’s book series, which was designed to help children (or “tadpoles’) going through various experiences, to help them recognize that they are not alone, and to answer some of their questions.
There is a lot of juggling involved in trying to date while having kids, and this certainly brings a different dynamic into the dating world– a totally different dating world than the one you experienced prior to having children. In the meantime, have fun dating, and give yourself a pat on the back for finding the time for yourself to date, while also doing a tremendous job as a single parent and ‘Froggie’ to those tadpoles.
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