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Dating With Children: Stress Reducing Tips for Single Moms

18 Jul 2014 – 07:52 PM EDT

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Dating is tricky enough as it is, but dating with children? For many single moms, it’s the equivalent of performing brain surgery while preparing Thanksgiving dinner! But by keeping a few important points in mind, you can get back into the dating scene without unnecessary stress on yourself or your kids.

Dating when you’re a single mom requires additional care. Most single moms are juggling between parenting, working, and running a household, so flexibility and knowing how to quickly filter out those who are incompatible is key.

How To Choose A Date.

Be careful who you allow into your life in such an intimate level, especially since children are involved. As a parent, your focus shifts from the outward concerns to internal questions such as: “Is [name] emotionally and mentally balanced?” “Is [name] a good role model?” and “Is [name] financially stable?” You’ve worked hard for you and your child’s life. Make certain the person you invite to share this very personal space is a good fit: mentally, emotionally, physically, & spiritually.

What To Share With Your Child.

When you first start dating, there’s no reason to share this part of your life with your children. Remember, you’re a parent dating with children. Not a parent dating FOR your children. Simply letting them know you are spending time with a friend is enough for now.

Tell Your Date About Your Child.

You’re a proud parent and that’s a fact. Share this with your date in a natural manner (e.g. “My son gave me this necklace”). Hiding it until later will give the impression there’s something to worry about. If this causes your date to pull a vanishing act, count your blessings. They weren’t right for you anyway.

When To Make The Child-Date Introduction.

Until you are in a fully committed, serious relationship, avoid introductions at all costs. Some children will quickly bond with your new relationship with an open heart while others will feel anger & resentment. Spare your children the unnecessary anxiety and possible disappointment while the relationship has not yet progressed to something more serious.

Balanced Bonding Time.

  • With your child: One on one time is important, especially now that you are dating. Many children fear the “new person” will steal their mom away. Spending quality alone time with your child will help lessen the chances of them feeling left out & forgotten, while maintaining a strong parent-child bond.
  • With your date: In order to keep your relationship strong you and your date will need alone time too. Hire a babysitter and go out dancing, enjoy dinner, a concert… have a good time together. Bond with your date and keep your romance going.
  • With your child & your date: Don’t forget to have some light & friendly bonding times with your child(ren) and your date. Go out for a movie, visit a zoo, a carnival, or hang out at the beach. If the child feels included, and your date feels you are capable of balancing your time & attention in a healthy way, things will go much smoother for YOU!