You never thought you’d be attracted to a woman who has kids, but love thought differently, and you’ve fallen for a single mom. What are some things you will want to be mindful of so that this relationship is a good one for both of you?
Dating a single mom is different
If your previous relationships have been with women who have no children, this new dynamic can take some getting used to.
The single mom will not be available for an impromptu weekend getaway, and should her child feel unwell, your great plans to take her out dancing will be cancelled at the last minute.
She is going to be involved with parent-teacher conferences, immunization schedules, and staying up all night with a feverish kid. She may have less energy. Her time for you will be a bit more limited than a woman without children, and she may seem torn in five different directions from time to time.
On the plus side, she has skills acquired from her parenting: empathy, patience, multi-tasking and great time-management.
She also knows what she wants and knows how to ask for it.
Get ready for a less-spontaneous girlfriend
She won’t be able to stay out late “just because” things are going great.
She’s got a babysitter waiting to be paid and released back at her house, and as such her dates with you run by the clock. That said, schedule your nights out with her according to when the child is with their dad, and you can stay out all you like (or return home early for some adult-style fun that doesn’t involve watching ‘The Lion King’.)
She may like you a lot, but her child is her priority
If you have a problem with jealousy, nor not being seen as number one in your woman’s life, you should not date a single mom.
Her child will always be her priority and always come first.
If that isn’t the case, that is a red flag and says much about the kind of mom she is. You don’t want to date that kind of person.
Meeting her child: let her set the pace
You may be head over heels in love with this woman and eager to meet her child. Let her decide the right time and place for this important meeting. She knows her child best and will know when it is right to let you into their life.
If she is taking her time with this introduction, it isn’t about you. It’s about what is best for the child so don’t take it personally. She also may wish to keep her dating life separate from her family one, and you should respect that.
Once you have been introduced
Take things slowly here.
Children are smart and intuitive and know if you are trying to compete with the dad. So hold back, be present, but let the child come to you. You can encourage this not by bringing presents (they’ll see through that in a second!) but by being a great listener to their stories.
You can help prompt them to open up by asking gentle questions, like “What’s your teacher’s name? What do you like best about her?” and really tuning in to their response. Children love to be the centre of attention so make sure you put down your phone and really be there when they are talking to you.
Let her handle the discipline
You are not the child’s father and should not be involved in any disciplinary actions with her child.
Even if they are driving your crazy.
You can, however, make it known that you do not accept that type of behaviour and they need to stop, just as you would say to your own children. But you should not be the person to deliver the time-outs, the warnings, or the consequences to bad behaviour.
You must certainly never raise your hand with her child, no matter how insolent they are with you.
Let her deal with her former husband
She’s divorced, certainly, but she still has a link with the father of her child, and will for a lifetime.
Let her deal with the ex-husband. You can be there for support, and be a listening ear when she needs to rant, but keep your advice to yourself. You can offer what you did in a similar situation, should you have one, but your best role is just to listen, not give guidance.
As the divorce gets further and further in the rear-view mirror, this drama should die down.
Be a good emotional support person
You’ll soon see how strong your single mom girlfriend as, as you watch her raise her child, work, and take time for herself and for you.
One of the most helpful things you can do for her is praise what she is doing. Being a single mom is not easy, and she will appreciate any recognition from you.
Be a good physical support person
A single mom may not have the skills needed to perform the heavy maintenance needed from time to time around the house.
Does she need some help emptying out the cellar, preparing for a garage sale, or putting up her curtain rods? She’ll appreciate your physical strength for those kinds of tasks, and offering to do these things will allow you to be an active participant in her well-being and the well-being of her little family.