Dating as a young single mother

It's not about being in your 20s or your 30s or your 40s; it's about keeping it together during a living room performance of 9. It's very likely he will be a large part of her life for at least the next 18 years, so get used to it. Babysitters are people too, and good ones are a hot commodity. If she told the babysitter she'd be home by 11, make sure she's home by 11! Goldfish crackers and Band-aids are never far away. Hand sanitizer, Chapstick, a small dinosaur, some crayons, or a flashlight?

Through my circle of friends and single moms I meet through this blog, I often hear cries of horror about the thought of single mom dating. What man in his right mind would date someone with so much baggage? Whether the single part was by way of divorce, breakup, death or choice, it was a big deal, and that changed you. I have lunches to make and doctor appointments to schedule. Busy single moms have fewer lonely nights to fill, fewer dinners eaten alone.

Ask about what she loves about being a mom, ask about what her kids' interests are, admit that you've never seen 3. At least not until you're all functioning as a family unit, which takes time, honesty, and patience, and possibly some therapy.4. Do make her a mixed CD and enjoy watching Netflix together after the kiddos hit the hay. Throw everything you know about scheduling out the window.

Liking her kids isn't the same as raising her kids. Be ready for rapid-fire spontaneity or an ironclad calendar. There is nothing more beautiful than a joyful child.

It's probably best you move along if either of you wants something long-term.2. Instead of pretending you know what it's like, ask questions and be humble. It's also a real question that single moms actually hear. Don't be surprised — or rude — when she hasn't heard the latest from Beyoncé or seen any movies.

You might have a really fun time with your nephew at Christmas, but this isn't the same as cleaning up vomit at 3 a.m. Planning time for mascara is hard enough; popular culture becomes the Great White Buffalo.

I went out with a girlfriend in Montclair, NJ, to a fun place called Just Jakes. It was a little deceiving, sure, but I thought telling the guys I was a single mom would influence their answers—and I wanted raw thoughts.

Glazed old-fashioned might be the closest thing to a Bloody Mary you both can get. Speaking of Bloody Marys, hangovers aren't an option anymore. Be supportive if she complains about him, but whatever you do, don't talk badly about him in front of the kids (it's actually included in many custody agreements; don't make a sticky situation stickier). She can't just see how the night goes and stay out as long as she might want. Handling what life serves is her modus operandi — she's been handling it since before you came along, and she's prepared to handle it if you leave. Pamper her because you admire her Terminator strength to always keep going.13. If you want to whisk her away for a romantic weekend, offer to help with the parental logistics so she's relaxed on her trip, not distracted with worry.

"I tell clients that having some time for 'just themselves' is important," she says.

"Time with friends, time spent on activities that don't include kids or work, and time alone are all important." If you don't have time for these, your schedule may be too busy to fit dating in -- for now.

"Perhaps a better question than when is why," says Christine Baumgartner, relationship coach at The Perfect Catch. Expecting dating to fulfill all your needs is unrealistic and might attract (or cause you to accept) people who aren't right for you.

"In my coaching practice, I suggest that single moms do the inside work to get really clear about their wants, needs, values and beliefs and get in touch with their intuition," says Kerri Zane, single-mom lifestyle expert and author of It Takes All 5: A Single Mom's Guide to Finding the Real One.

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