Dating as a Single Mom (Oh Boy!)
Hey Mamas! It’s been a while but I’m back and wanted to share some of things that I’ve been up to recently in hopes that it will inspire you and may even be something that you guys can relate to. Well here it goes, as some of you may have seen on my recent social media posts, I have officially been royally swept off my feet and carried away by a handsome, charming prince! Well almost. We live in Chicago so technically he’s not quite a prince, but in my eyes, he is my King! Before I begin to share my dating journey and the new chapter of my life called “Love,” I want to be candid and tell you guys first and foremost that I’m typically a very private person when it comes to dating and my personal relationships. In fact, I wasn’t even planning to talk about my beau on social media anytime soon because I didn’t exactly know what kind of response that I would receive. But, in this rare case, because he is so special to me and has become a moving, inspirational, and valuable part of my life I want to share my story and be open enough to let you guys in on a little piece of my personal life when it comes to dating as a single mom. The other reason why I decided to write this post is because I want other single moms just like me to know that there is nothing wrong with dating and finding happiness, and that we shouldn’t be judged or ostracized for it. We are grown women and yes, we may be mothers first, but that does not take away from the fact that we still deserve love and a good companion just like everyone else.
The Problem with the Dating Game
I didn’t think about this before I actually became a mom simply because it didn’t apply to me, but now that I’m in this situation I realize how complicated this whole dating thing can be. Back when I was a completely single girl without a little one running around, I had time to date and to entertain the idea of meeting people without all of the extra reservations and concerns attached. I was able to receive calls during random week nights to go out for drinks and make plans for last minute dates because I was young and living life without nearly as many responsibilities or a child to put first. But now that I’m a mom things are completely different. I can’t just wake up to a cute “Hey Good Morning Beautiful” text and stop what I’m doing to flirt without worrying about getting my toddler and I getting out of the house on time for daycare and work. And I definitely cannot sit on the phone every night for hour long conversations and then wake up in the wee hours of the morning for work as if I’m not exhausted and regretting having stayed up so late the night before. You see, the grown woman and the mother in me has way bigger priorities now that are unrelentless and won’t let up. Not to mention, babysitters are crazy expensive, but that’s a whole other story!
The Opportunity Cost of Dating: At often times this goes unmentioned, but dating is a sacrifice that always comes along with a price tag. It’s not free for either party to date when it comes to wining and dining, paying for outings, covering babysitter costs, uber rides, gas expenses, outfits, and everything else that comes along with dating. Just like a man is expected to pay for lunches and dinners, at times and when dealing with certain men, I’m equally expected to pay for babysitter costs, even when it’s not always in my budget to do it. But when you’re on a quest for love you find a way to make things work so that you can reach your end goal- finding true love and meeting your soulmate.
When the Timing is Right: Let me say this, my time is extremely valuable to me and because I’m so limited on it, I spend it wisely and consider where it’s being invested because after all, my time is the #1 thing that I can’t get back. I can make money back and charge things here and there to the game, but my time cannot be reversed. Because of this, I tried my best to date cautiously and with intentional purpose. It’s never been my desire to just meet up with any old random man that cannot add value and purpose in my life, but now as a mom I am definitely careful with my life decisions and the affect that they have on my son and I.
The Good Ones: Getting back to the burden of paying for babysitters when dating a single mom, we have to address the fact that some of these men are not stepping up when choosing to date a woman who is a single mother. It’s like as a man you clearly have to know that many single mothers are already struggling and many of us like myself, do not receive much financial support, if any at all. Then when we add babysitter costs on top of that just to go out on a date that may or may not turn into anything significant it makes it even harder to manage things in addition to our other expenses. Then not to mention if the date is awful, you have to deal with the fact that you literally just spent money paying for a sitter and now you have to go home tired, pick up the pieces, and play supermom all over again. Now this may sound unreasonable to some of you guys, but to be quite honest, I stopped going out on dates with men who would’t offer to cover my sitter costs at least by the second or third date. If a man that is interested in me doesn’t even offer to pay for at least half of my sitter costs knowing that I’m a single mom, then that’s a date that I don’t need to be going on. I’m all about men being providers and looking out for both my best interest and my child’s too. If you can’t do that and be considerate enough to help cover sitter costs, even if it’s just some of the time, then we probably wouldn’t work out longterm anyway because our level of thinking vastly differs and again, my time is too precious to waste!
My #1 priority: My son will always come first. I know that every Mom is different and some of us are more involved and hands on when it comes to our kids than others. I’m one of those moms that puts Noah front and center of everything that I do. No matter who enters into my life, Noah will always come first and be my #1 priority. Because my son has special needs, there is a lot more that goes into taking care of him and ensuring that his daily needs are met. With that being said, when it comes to dating, I cannot just make spontaneous last minute plans or spend every day of my time with a man. I have too many other things going on and once again, unless you’re adding value in my life, you will have to be content with the fact that there may be times when you have to come last, especially when it comes down to you vs. my child. For some men this is a hard thing to accept because just like us, they want to be nurtured, loved, catered to, and put at the top of our to do lists. But lets face it, when you’re a single mom, you cannot always be there for everyone and do everything all at one time. There is a structure and order of things that we have in place to keep us on track and organized.
Setting the Expectation: I am not going to bring you around my children prematurely. I know that my little one is cute, but just because you’re interested in me does not mean that you get to meet my son too early on. The last thing that I ever want to do is confuse my son or set a bad example for him or jeopardize him having a positive upbringing. When I first became a mom, I had to accept the fact that I am raising a young man who is watching everything that I do. I am his visual example. So if he sees me constantly bringing different men around or always out on a date, what kind of message am I creating for him and how do those poor decisions make me look as a mom? This goes back to my point on dating with a purpose. My idea of dating may be a bit old school for some, but it works for me and has led me to meet the love of my life. I date intentionally and with a purpose because my ultimate goal is to one day be married and not be a single mother forever, but instead a wife with a complete family to call my own. So with that being said, if I bring a man around my son it’s because I see him as a man that is going to be long-term and an instrumental part of both of our lives. This man is not a booty call or some decent guy to have happy hour drinks with. The man that I bring around my son will be ready and prepared to have the both of us in his life and will love my son just as dearly and unconditionally as he loves me.
Why is it so awkward for single moms to date?: Here it is! The moment you guys have been waiting for. Can someone please explain to me why it’s so awkward and such a taboo subject when it comes to single moms and dating? It’s like once we become mothers, we are thought of as these undesirable virgins who have no sheer interest in enjoying the company of a man, going out on dates, being affectionate, being intimate, and doing things that normal adults do? Why are we all of sudden summoned to just be a mom as if we are not allowed to have feelings for anyone else outside of our children. Who ever said that single moms weren’t allowed to date or were only allowed a piece of happiness through their children. Let me tell you guys something. I don’t care what people say or what anyone else tells you, everyone deserves to be happy and as long as it’s for the right reasons and with good intent, they deserve to have someone to call their own. As humans we’re not designed to be alone or feel isolated from the rest of the world. It’s okay to love and it’s perfectly normal to receive love in return. Speaking for myself, I may be a mother but I am not dead! I may have a special needs child, but that does not make me immune from being an adult and enjoying the same things that any other adult would enjoy. Just like single fathers, I too enjoy companionship, dating, and meeting new people with the intention of having someone special in my life. That shouldn’t make me a bad mother, an irresponsible woman, or anything less than the mature grown woman that I am all because I have desires and needs just like everyone else. Needless to say, don’t ever allow anyone to make you feel that you shouldn’t date just because you’re mother. Honestly, if we want to get really technical about it, a date or whatever your experience was is the reason why you have a child in the first place (LBVS) so why do we have to move backwards and act like we don’t deserve that same happiness.
Have you guys ever thought about the fact that when men date as single fathers no one says anything or gives them push back when they meet someone. It seems like people are supportive and almost applauding when it comes to men finding new love and moving on from their past relationships, even though they are fathers. But when women move on from their exes and take a chance on dating as single mothers, we automatically earn this badge of judgment and have to do the walk of shame like we’re immune from the dating game. Please miss me with these double standards and gender-shaming rules that make absolutely no sense. I repeat its okay to date and you are not doing anything wrong just because you’re a mom. Get out there, get your feet wet, have fun, and be purposeful in whatever your intentions are.
The Dating App Disaster: My Experience with Dating in the Digital Space
The funny thing is, when I started this year off I wasn’t looking for a relationship or trying to dive head first into anything. I was solely focused on being a good mom and adjusting to life as a single mom for the first time. It wasn’t my intention to meet anyone right off the bat or even entertain the whole dating thing because deep down inside I knew that I wasn’t ready. You see my life can get overwhelming, crazy, and beyond hectic at times between managing several businesses, running after an active, non-stop, mind of his own toddler, working a demanding full time job, and still trying to set aside a little time for me. Who really has time to date? As if my days are not tied up enough already. But after a few weeks, human nature kicked in and I wanted to see if there was possibly someone left out there for me. So I joined a dating app (Nope I refuse to say the name of it so please don’t ask LBVS). Long story short I began going out on dates and entertaining the dating scene to see what was out there and I have to admit that I wasn’t exactly impressed. Was it exciting to get out there and feel this sense of confidence to know that I still had it? Yes! But when I look back was it really worth all those costly babysitters, repetitive interview questions that people always ask when out on dates, and all of the time that I sacrificed just to meet someone? No.
I went on my fair share of good dates and bad dates. I met some really really nice men and I also met some that were a complete waste of my time. But regardless of the outcome, I wanted to put myself out there to give this thing called love a second chance in hopes that it would give me the return that I was looking for.
Fast forward, I grew tired of being on a certain dating app because it seemed like no one else’s goals really matched mine. I joined another dating site hoping for a better outcome but still no luck. So I gave up. I got so tired of constantly messaging complete strangers back and forth and sharing tidbits here and there about my life. I no longer had an interest in sharing anything about my background, my life, my relationship goals, my ideal characteristics in a partner or any of that jazz. I just wanted to break free from all of it and move on as a single women not looking for something, but instead, Waiting for God to send me someone. So I slowed down and ended up meeting someone when I least expected it. They always say that good things happen to those who wait. And that’s what I did!
Seriously Babe? At a children’s birthday party??: When I first met JT, we met on a dating app. He was nice, he was friendly, he was very respectful and he was very interested in getting to know me. The problem was, I had ran across so many men online that ended up being a waste of my time that I no longer had any more of my time to give. So by the time JT had come around I was less than enthused and didn’t really have the energy to put forth the effort into getting to know him because at the time, I felt that he was just another online distraction that I didn’t need. So I stopped responding to messages and hid my profile on the dating app. I told myself that I can do this the natural way and that I didn’t need my iPhone and some app just to meet people and eventually cross paths with my Mr. Right.
A couple of months went past and before you know it August was here. I was enjoying my summer and it was one of the very rare Saturdays that I didn’t have to work. So I took my little one Noah, to my friend’s son’s birthday party. I remember this day like it was yesterday. It was such a hot day and I was literally scorching because the party had taken place outside. Of course, my busy little Noah was running all over and keeping me on my toes so I spent most of the party running after him and playing the kids party games. I was finally sitting down at a table with a few of my girlfriends and then all of a sudden in walks this very handsome man. The first thing I thought to myself when I saw him was how handsome he was. He was so cute and he had this beautiful genuine smile that couldn’t be missed. He also had on all white and he just looked so clean and polished. So I whispered to my friends that he was cute. He walked past us and went over to say hello to my friend’s older brother (the birthday party was being hosted at my friends older brother’s house). Maybe about an hour or so later, I was in the kitchen cleaning up after Noah’s g-tube feeding and JT walks over to me. He asks, “Hey, is your name Genesis?” Shyly I replied, “Yes.” He then proceeds to say that he believes that him and I met on a dating app not too long. This was the moment that my entire jaw could have dropped and I was so embarrassed lol. My friends mom was in the next room along with a few of my girlfriends and I just didn’t want anyone to overhear us and realize that I ran into a man that I had briefly met online, at a birthday party of all places. Of course my face was beet red and I was nervous because this sort of thing doesn’t happen all the time and of all places, at my friends sons birthday party? A party I take Noah to every year, but had never crossed paths with JT. But Hey its life and things happen when they happen right?
We began to chat and shared our personal experiences with online dating. As we spoke more I realized that we had quite a bit in common and both seemed to be looking for the same things, so we exchanged numbers and agreed to meet one day soon. Maybe about a week or so later he called me and tried to make plans. We were supposed to meet at spin class and I was looking forward to it but I was exhausted and ended up not making it (life dating as a single mom). A couple of weeks past by and he invited me to attend a birthday party that he was hosting at his house, but I ended up moving into my new home that weekend and couldn’t make it even though it sounded like fun and I really wanted to go. Fast forward to about two weeks later, I invited him to attend my house warming party. And then he called and we spoke for a while about dating, our lives, our experiences, and what we both were looking for. He asked me out on a date that week and the rest is history. Although, JT and I didn’t connect right away and make plans immediately after meeting initially, I’m so happy that everything happened in its rightful time and place. I believe that there were some things that I needed to learn and accomplish first before he truly entered into my life and I entered into his. I also believe that there is always a reason and season for everything. This year has been nothing but a blessing and nothing short of amazing for me. Yes, I did start this year off as a single mom, but I am ending it as a better, more improved, more structured, more mature, and much stronger version of me! I gained my superhero cape this year and I am never taking it off! My experiences have led me to where I am today and because of those experiences, God decided to put someone in my life when he felt the time was right and when it was on his terms, and not on mine. This year I went through my season of endless grind and hard work to build a better tomorrow for Noah and I. My second season was a season of encouragement and inspiration when I watched my hard work and perseverance finally pay off. And now I am in the season of love and purpose because I have been blessed to finally receive the same love that I have put forth for someone else. For years, I have poured love and dedication into others, and now I have someone pouring love and dedication into me. And it feels amazing!
Finding Love When I Least Expected It: When I first met JT I was not looking for anything in particular or expecting some grand introduction. I just simply went to a summer birthday party with my son so that he could have a good time and celebrate his friend. But when I left, I didn’t know it at the time, but I had met the love of my life. Over this short time, JT has become not only my significant other and hopefully my husband one day, but also my best friend. He is very supportive of my plans, my goals, my dreams, and my passions. And most importantly, he treats my son as if he were his own. Together, we inspire each other. We uplift one another. And we guide one another to become our best versions of ourselves and live a purposeful life under God’s plan. We also pray together and pray for each other. One of my favorite things about JT is that he sends me faith-based podcasts and scriptures from biblical versus to help inspire me and encourage me to lead a positive day. He is a man that leads me by faith and he puts God first in his life (sounds like a Keeper!) That for me is love and that is something that is always worth the wait! Although my dating experience this year did not quite start off on the best note, I am so grateful for all of those awful dates and time that I wasted hoping to find someone because now that I waited for God to send me someone, I can appreciate my partner and my relationship so much more! Dating is not easy and just like anything else in life, it takes time. It takes patience. And it requires your willingness to want to do it and put forth the effort. Dating is also not for everyone at the same time and just because you may be single at this time does not mean that you are broken and less than whole. If you are currently a single mom, I highly encourage you to take this time out to truly focus on you and your personal goals. Use this alone time to reflect on your past experiences and the many lessons that you have learned to prepare you for tomorrow. Use this time to practice self-care and self-discovery. Find out what it is that you really want out of life and identify the things that you need to do in order for that vision to come into fruition. Sometimes, we need to enter into a season alone so that we can grow adequately and flourish for the next one to come! I have had my season of singleness which had allowed me to prosper and grow, and now I am experiencing my season of love and purpose. I hope that all of the single moms reading this post will experience this too. It’s never too late to fall in love and when God has someone that he designed for you, trust and believe that it’s for you! Be patient and wait for it, it will mean so much more when you do!
Until next time Mamas,