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6 Ways to Manage Dating and Motherhood

Dating while juggling motherhood can be a tricky balance. Mighty Mommy shares 6 tips to keep in mind when you jump back into the dating saddle while still raising your family.

By
Cheryl Butler,
Episode #469

image of a mother going on a first date

I was married for 25 years when my husband and I divorced. Never did I think my “happily ever after” would take a turn down the road of divorce, but eight kids later I found myself in my late forties and newly single. Quite honestly, the first couple of years after my divorce are a bit of a blur, but despite my personal heartache, I had eight kids that were adjusting to our new family life and were depending on me now more than ever.

The newness of divorce can be quite surreal. There were many days when just going through the motions was a real accomplishment. I focused on three things—my kids and their continued well-being, managing my full and part-time jobs, and learning the ins and outs of creating an amicable relationship with my ex-husband for the sake of our kids and my own inner peace.

Nearly six years later, my new life is now my norm. We have created a positive post-divorce environment for our kids (now ages 12 through 25) and believe it or not, we actually have fun and enjoy our family. I’ve settled in to a very hectic career as both a full-time development assistant and freelance writer, have sent more kids off to college, am now a mother-in-law, am crazy in love with our eight-month old Golden Retriever named Dixie...oh, and I've started dating again!

Dating was the furthest thing from my mind after I got divorced. I mean the thoughts of starting all over again was both frightening and hilarious. Imagine a date arriving at my home and being greeted by my eight kids! Let’s just say my life was already quite busy and very fulfilling, so finding a new love interest just wasn’t a priority. But recently, that all changed when I met a nice guy in the produce department (you can’t make this stuff up) and he gave me his phone number. I won’t bore you with the details of this particular situation. However, the experience was actually quite pleasant (I could tell he was a gentleman by the way he selected fresh eggplant) and it launched me into the dating scene once again.

Dating while juggling motherhood can be a tricky balance. Here are 6 tips to keep in mind when you jump back in the dating saddle while still raising your family.

6 Tips to Dating While Raising a Family

  1. Knowing When You’re Ready
  2. Where To Begin Looking
  3. Sharing Your Dating News With Your Kids
  4. Pace Yourself
  5. Introductions to Your Kids
  6. Be Your Own Best Friend

Now we’ll check these tips out in more detail.

Tip #1: Knowing When You’re Ready

As I mentioned previously, dating after I divorced was the absolute furthest thing from my mind. I had enough to juggle caring for my family and working two full-time jobs to even be remotely interested in looking at a dating site to try and find a second Mr. Right. At that time, the perfect companion for me was our family’s middle-aged black lab and a great novel that I could escape into alone.

In addition, I also knew something else—I wanted to spend some time doing a bit of inside work on myself. Being married for 25 years and caring for a large family didn’t leave me much time to blink never mind sit and contemplate where my strengths and weaknesses were in the relationship department, so I decided that I would give myself a nice, long honeymoon period to figure out the positives and negatives that I carried as a woman, mother, writer, and of course an ex-wife and hopeful future partner to someone I could really grow old with.

My therapist at that time reminded me that I was now moving from being a “we” to a “me.” I loved that advice and took it to heart for several years after my divorce. We all have different needs and timetables, so knowing when you’re ready to get back in the saddle again will not be the same for you as it was for me, but I truly cherished the time I had alone, learning to know and love myself all over again. This time period also strengthened my relationship with all of my kids and (believe it or not) with my ex-husband. Living strong and confident is indeed a very attractive quality to sport.

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