Dipping your feet back into the dating pool as a single mom is complicated and nerve wrecking— now throw a childless man in the mix and you’re digging deeper into unknown territory. I know that’s not what some of you wanted to hear but I have to be honest. For the average single adult this is a time to let your hair down and have fun right? Don’t get me wrong the same goes for us mamas but it’s a bit more complicated than that because we’re not just dating for ourselves, we’re dating for our children too. No I am not saying after one date this is the new stepfather to your child (relax) but I am saying to pay attention to the red flags early on. Luckily for you, you have me!
I am a mother to a toddler so trust me when I say I know what clingy is. You do not want to waste your time with a man that wants all of your time. We are already spread so thin with parenting so a man demanding to talk to us during all the times where we actually have some free time is definitely not “the one.” Do you really want to date someone who has the most annoying quality that your kid has? Free time doesn’t automatically mean you’re available and a guy that’s ready to date you will understand that.
I almost didn’t write anything here because obviously run if you come across a man child but these little boys disguised as men come in different shapes and sizes. Our priorities in life are essential as single mothers. We are grown ass women and we have grown ass women things to attend to. Do you really think a man that doesn’t know what he wants is ready to deal with you and your child? I’m still trying to figure out why my kid is crying after I handed him the same sippy cup he’s been using all week and minutes later realizing he wanted the mickey mouse one this time not the paw patrol one. Don’t waste your time trying to play mind reader for a grown man because your time is more valuable than that.
3. Lack of Patience
You’re probably thinking this is a trait you could use some improvement in and you’re right. However, you have to pay attention to how quickly the guy you're dating loses his patience with normal day to day things. Pay attention to how quickly the level of patience decreases when they’re left waiting for longer than they expected or how quickly anything annoying sets them off. Now reflect back to all the annoying things your child does daily and ask yourself if you feel comfortable with someone snapping at your kid for simply being a kid. Reflect back to a time where you were prepared to walk out the door and your child delayed that by more than 10 minutes. He’s not your happily ever after sweetie—you‘ll break him.
4. Zero Flexibility
Remember the days you could do whatever you wanted whenever you wanted? You can still do whatever you want but you just have to plan for it now. The level of spontaneity decreases when you become a parent. No I can’t go for a late night walk and count the stars with you and no I can’t drop everything I’m doing and take a weekend trip to the Bahamas. Any guy that gets upset because you don’t have the luxury of being spontaneous 24/7 isn’t ready to date you and damn sure isn’t ready for future cancellations because of your cute little crumb snatcher.
5. Violating Boundaries
Boundaries should 100% be set between two adults looking to date one another from the beginning. Those boundaries look a little different when you’re dating someone who is not the father of your child. I didn’t start dating because I’m looking for a replacement father to my kid or a knight in shining armor to protect me during the infamous “baby daddy drama.” Your new boo needs to respect these boundaries and if he can’t stay in his lane it will not work. He needs to understand you need a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear. DASSIT!
6. Bad Communication
Dating a woman with a child is not for the weak. It’s extremely important you both open up your mouth and let the other person know how you’re feeling at all times. As a mother, open communication is so important. I need to know what’s going on in your head. I need to know if you meeting my child is too much for you right now. I need to know if leaving you alone with my kid while I go to the bathroom makes you uncomfortable. While parenting a toddler I already deal with one sided communication so for a man I want to pursue romantically, I refuse to sign up for that. If he can’t be open and honest then he’s not the kind of man you want around you or your babies.
Dating as a single mother is complicated and you need to secretly test these men from day one. Are they worthy enough to meet your children? I once read that we easily turn red flags into red roses because we allow ourselves to see what we want to see. I guarantee when that behavior stops you’ll find a man that wants to pour love into you the way you deserve. After you find a man that you’re ready to let into you and your human’s life, you have to learn how to balance your time between being a mother and dating. Make sure to visit Mom’s Under The Influence for a deeper dive into time management for singles moms while dating. It’s almost the end of the Motherhood and Dating series for this month and you don’t want to miss out!