If you are on the dating scene and are looking for a lady, chances are you will encounter a single mom on your search. It is now estimated, by single parent watchdog Gingerbread, that 17% of children worldwide live in a single parent household, 88% of these households being headed by a woman.
Research conducted by Gingerbread also suggests that in the US, 84% of the 13.6 million single parent families now have a woman at the helm.
Being a single mom comes with a plethora of demands on time, emotions and finances, and dating a single mom means that you may inherit these demands as part of the deal.
If these statistics, don’t send you running for the hills, allow us to guide you through the peaks and troughs of how to date a single mom.
Why a single mom?
We honestly don’t think we’re exaggerating when we say that a single mom is kind of like a modern-day superhero. Not only is she raising another human being single-handedly, she is also juggling a work life, social life and dating life. That’s a lot of lives in the hands of one woman.
Dating a single mom can be a very welcome breath of fresh air and can help you to re-define everything you thought you knew about women. If you are going into a relationship with a single mom thinking she’ll want to be romanced, think again.
A single mom has been there, done that and bought the t-shirt. She really doesn’t need a knight in shining armor to come and save her. She’s already done that herself, thank you very much. She’s coping very well without you and will cope again if things don’t work out between you.
Studies have shown recently that single moms are considered hot property on the dating scene. Dating coach Emma Johnson explains the following.
“Single moms who take responsibility for their families, who are awesome moms, and successful in their lives are extremely desirable to successful, attractive men.”
And we couldn’t agree more. A single mom has already demonstrated longevity, resilience and the ability to love unconditionally through thick and thin.
What’s not to love about that?
The decision to date a single mom is not one to be taken lightly. You need to think long and hard about a number of factors. You also need to be able to answer the following question honestly:
Am I mature enough to take this on? If you have answered yes, then read on.
What you need to know
The daily routine for a single mom can be chaotic and unpredictable at the best of times. As well as caring for her kids, she will be working, trying to run a household and making time for you. Even on paper this list makes our heads spin. Be sensitive to the fact that sometimes a single mom just wants to take a break.
She will need time for herself, and you must respect that. If she is burnt out, spending time together may be a waste as she will be physically and mentally exhausted. When she gets a rare moment away from the kids and work, give her some space to recharge. Yes, even if it just to sink into a hot bath or read a book on the sofa.
Expect plans to change
We all know that kids, by their very nature, can be unpredictable. It is virtually impossible to know what they will do, say, think or feel from one moment to the next.
This means that moments before you are about to go out on a romantic date with a single mom, her kids might have other ideas. When dating a single mom, you need to be prepared to be flexible. Accept that things might always go to plan. Organizing a date with a single mom, can sometimes feel like planning a military operation.
There are a number of factors to consider: babysitting, contact numbers and ensuring that regimented routines are adhered to.
Karla Modesto echoes this point when she states, “I do not have the luxury of dropping what I’m doing and heading out. I have to get a babysitter and schedule how long I can be out and when I need to return. The clock is always ticking for me.”
Just remember, patience is a virtue.
The Ex Factor
Yes, the single mom you are dating has an ex who is the father of her child/children. You have a very simple choice here. Either accept his presence and move on. Or you can dwell on it and drive yourself crazy with jealousy and resentment.
We know which one we would choose. It is important that children get the love and support from both of their parents, whatever the personal circumstances might be. There will be times when she will see her ex. For instance at school events, birthdays and Christmas, but that doesn’t make you any less important in her life.
There is no competition here; she is with you, not him. Show her how mature and secure you feel in the relationship. She will be grateful for the security and understanding.
When trying to establish how to date a single mom successfully, you might want to re-think your version of romance.
Long gone will be the days of late nights drinking trendy cocktails at a bar or spontaneous weekends away. Instead, you should look forward to burger lunches in a soft play areas or Disney marathons on a Sunday afternoon.
While this might not be romantic in the traditional sense, there’s a lot to be said for someone who will accommodate someone else’s kids. It may even earn you some serious brownie points with Mom.
Avoid applying unnecessary pressure
It is likely that you will be curious about her kids and be eager to meet them, as they are such an important part of her life. While this is natural, it can also be a source of major conflict.
It is important to allow a single mom to decide for herself when is the right time for you to meet her children. Making her feel pressured to do so could cause serious damage your relationship.
Remember that introducing someone to the most important people in your life is no mean feat. She needs to be 100% about your relationship before she makes such a big decision. Step back and allow her to take the lead on this. You’ll thank us in the long run.
You will ALWAYS come second to her kids.
This is an obvious one, but still one worth mentioning. Rebecca Malachi suggests that, “Spending one-on-one time with your little one creates a unique bond which will be stronger than the one you would have if you were a nuclear parent.”
The bond between a single mom and her child is unbreakable and for this reason, among many others, her child will always be her priority.
If you crave attention 24/7, then dating a single mom may not be best for you. If she chooses to stay in to watch a movie with her children instead of going to see you, that is her choice and you need to respect that.
Being jealous or angry in any way may be a red flag for her. Be understanding. As is the new norm, her life revolves around her kids and what makes them happy. It’s unreasonable to expect that this should change simply to fulfill your own needs.
Where to go and what to do?
When trying to work out how to date a single mom, it is vital to consider that her kids will be part of your journey. If you have ready to start spending time with her and her children, congratulations.
A single mom generally knows what she wants or doesn’t want from a relationship, if she has any time, she certainly won’t want to waste it on a relationship that is heading nowhere.
But now the small matter of where to go and what to do with her and her kids. This is a tricky one, as you will want to entertain her kids while at the same time spend valuable one to one time with your partner. Here are some ideas that will hopefully give you the best of both worlds:
1. A Movie
The cinema is the perfect opportunity to occupy the kids for a couple of hours while you and mom snuggle in the dark.
It might not be the most private setting, but two hours or cuddling, hand holding and cheeky kisses, can be romantic and quite exciting. Embrace it. Plus, it gives you the perfect excuse to go and see that Pixar film you’ve secretly been dying to see.
2. A Theme Park
A theme park is another great choice as it will allow her to let her hair down and really have some fun with you and her kids. You can show off your bravado by trying you luck on the scariest rollercoaster.
Even if your stomach feels like it might drop out of you, you might earn the respect of her kids and it’ll put a smile on her face.
A bonus to this is that a day at a theme park usually wears kids out and so by the time you arrive home, they will be out like a light and you and your date can have some alone time, as long as the room has stopped spinning by then, of course.
Bowling is a classic, it will allow you to be silly and perhaps show off your prowess to impress your lady. If you lack the skills you need and end up knocking only a handful of pins down, that’s okay. This will allow you to be silly and laugh at yourself.
Someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously is a must when kids are involved. Sucking at bowling might be the ideal opportunity to demonstrate this quality. Playing the fool is endearing and will make you seem like less of a threat to wary kids.
4. Staying in to build a fort/ bake cookies
Staying in to build a fort or bake cookies is possibly the best thing to do on a Sunday. The informal and familiar environment will mean defenses will be lowered and both you, the kids and mom will be fully relaxed. A recent study by Dr Oetker, the baking company, found that, “more than a quarter (27%) of people asked say their fondest childhood memories are baking with their parents,”.
This will provide a priceless opportunity to create memories with your partner and her children. It may also provide the foundations upon which trust can be built.
Food is a universal means of breaking down barriers and cookies are a great excuse to get messy and creative in the kitchen. Showing her how playful you can be will make you seem all the more appealing.
Dating a single mom can mean that you learn things about yourself you never knew before. You might see qualities you never thought you possessed, emerge from the wilderness and become a true part of who you are.
In Cody Jefferson’s article about his own experience in dating a single mom, he states quite categorically that: “While it’s not “easy” and is a 24/7 learning curve, the greatest decision of my life was to take out a single mom.”
Being around single mom and her kids can teach you lessons in patience, trust and putting someone else’s need before your own. Even if the relationship doesn’t last, these lessons will remain a part of you forever.
While there are a number of things you should always try to do when dating a single mom, there are also things you would be advised not to do:
1. Don’t give a single mom parenting advice. Never. Ever.
If you want to feel the wrath of a single mom, then offering her parenting advice is the surefire way to achieve this.
You must remember that you are new on the scene, you don’t have kids of your own and quite frankly, when it comes to her kids, you don’t know what you are talking about. It’s best if you leave this one to her.
2. Don’t be jealous of her relationship with her kids.
You’re a grown up now and you shouldn’t feel that you have to battle for the attention of a single mom over her kids. Let’s face it, there’s only going to be one winner and it isn’t going to be you.
Her kids are first on her list, they have been from the moment they were born and will be until the day she dies. Be happy with second place and don’t sulk; she already has kids, she doesn’t need another one.
3. Don’t expect that you will assume the role of ‘father’.
It is likely that a single mom will want to develop a relationship with you and build a solid partnership. If her children’s father is still on the scene, then there is no need for you to assume anything here.
It is best for you to concentrate your energy on your relationship with her and if things work out, when the time is right, you can discuss the role you might play in the lives of her children.
4. Don’t force her children to like you.
The probability that your date’s children will warm to you straight away is very slim. You are a stranger and they do not know or trust you. This is a very natural reaction, especially from older children, so there is no need for you to force the situation by trying too hard.
Just relax and let the relationship develop slowly. Trust takes time to develop and even then, it varies from relationship to relationship. They might be wary of you and consider you a threat to their existing family unit.
If you don’t know how to approach the situation, talk to your date. No one knows those kids better than her and her advice will have their best interests at heart.
Dating a single mother can be a journey like no other dating experience you have ever had before. While no one is promising that it will be straightforward, it will be an adventure if nothing else and you will discover things about yourself, we bet you never thought you would.
A single mom likely recalls feelings of being let down, hurt and feeling alone. This could make it difficult to trust someone enough to let them in.
If you are patient, understanding and trustworthy, however, these barriers should dissipate. From here, the next exciting chapter of your life can begin.
Just hold on tight- this one might be bumpy.