Dating A Single Mom

She’s stunning. She’s sexy. She’s smart. She’s single. The catch? She’s also a mom.

By Jonathan Lerner

ooner or later, every guy will ponder this question, “To date, or not to date” someone with children. Before you answer, here are the realities.

Is dating someone with kids really that much different? Heck yes, especially
It’s even more challenging when you don’t have kids and she does.
if you’ve never done it before. It’s even more challenging when you don’t have kids and she does. Great googily-moogily! That’s not to say dating a single mom should be avoided. Quite the contrary, there are tremendous upsides—especially if you like children, enjoy making a difference and have a strong sense of family.

The pros
Single moms are generally more responsible, straightforward, less promiscuous and serve more home-cooked meals. They’re also more likely to take it slow, will be more understanding about giving you time off (because she needs it, too) and if she has a son she will know cool stuff about sports, super-heroes and street-sledding—and you get to play along.

The cons
Single moms are much less spontaneous. Everything from dating to sex revolves around her schedule. Moms are moms 24/7. There is no “off time” and consequently, any date, trip or sleepover is subject to cancellation. Her children — and, rightly so — always come first. You will never be the number one or two priority. If you can’t handle this basic truth, dating a single mom can only end disastrously.

The kids
Everything you say or do (or don’t do) has rippling affects on mom and her children, and vice versa. So not only must you pass mom’s dating canons, but each kid’s criteria, as well. Depending on age,
It’s always better to meet her kids later than sooner.
relationship (if any) with dad and past experiences with mom’s beaus, be prepared for a rollercoaster of responses—everything from instant adoration to “you’re not my father.” This is why most moms won’t introduce you to their children straight away. Don’t press. If your relationship is still casual, wait until it isn’t. It’s always better to meet her kids later than sooner. Remember: If things don’t work out, you’re not just breaking up with her, but with them, too.

Group dynamics
Easily, the hardest concept for guys without kids to grasp is just how complicated it is to raise one child, let alone more. Often overlooked during the first blush of single mom lust are the eventual realities of school, car pools, kid events, pets, career, babysitters, the ex, his new girlfriend or wife, her kids, their new kids—ai yi yi! If you’re not prepared to play, don’t step up to the plate.

The final factor
Still, the deciding dating dynamic should always be: Does she have time to date? You can ask, but a better indicator is how much, if any, help she has with her kids. It is extremely difficult to date a fulltime mom compared to one who, in theory, gets every other weekend off. If you plan on a dating a parent, be prepared to act like one. Choose wisely.

Jonathan Lerner is a freelance writer who frequently contributes to Happen magazine.
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