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.
Tip #2: Where to Begin Looking
Although I waited a few years to seriously pursue looking for a love interest again, I must admit: I am a die-hard romantic! I am one of those people who loves everything and anything to do with falling in love! Although my marriage ended in divorce, I will always have a place in my heart for my ex-husband, and to be honest, that feels really good. I’m happy that I spent my post-divorce alone time enjoying romantic novels and plays, soaking up other people’s love stories, and even daydreaming about my future charming love interest. It sure beats being bitter and angry!
I really had no plans of when to start dating until a situation was handed to me on a silver platter, or should I say in a bin of organic eggplants! Nearly two years ago, my 12-year-old son and I were grocery shopping on a cold, gray day in early spring. I was wearing jeans, had my hair pulled up with very little makeup on, and looked a bit disheveled. Out of nowhere, a gentleman approached me and asked me if I had ever made eggplant from scratch. The conversation went on from there for a good 20-plus minutes. Next thing I know, he asked me if he could leave his work phone number with me in case I’d like to get together and have a nice Italian dinner! Enter my 12-year-old son who was casually observing all this next to the bananas. My son came over and I introduced him to my new friend. They shook hands and my son said, “I hope you like children because my mom has eight of them!” Without missing a beat, Mr. Eggplant said, “I sure do, I’m a college professor and child psychologist!”
This exchange was exactly what I needed to get back into the dating game again. It was unexpected yet comfortable and playful—right up my alley. We dated for several months, but he relocated to a University in England so it was short-lived. After getting my feet wet with the Professor, however, I knew I was ready to give love a try again.
Most women my age are using online dating sites, but that wasn’t for me. Others try coffee shops, wine bars, blind dates, their kid’s sporting events, church outings, or even dog parks. If you have a gal pal that’s going through a similar situation, you can lean on each other, but when you’re squeezing all this in between your career and caring for your kids, find an avenue that you’re comfortable with rather than obsessed with.
Tip #3: Sharing Your Dating News With Your Kids
When I was ready to start dating again, my oldest was 22 and my youngest was about ten. I had teens that were dating at the same time as I was! I didn’t have to say much because my son came home and announced I had met someone who seemed to like fresh vegetables and had given me his phone number. My youngest daughter giggled and my older kids thought it impressive I had scored a possible date while running around in old jeans and a ponytail. I did take that opportunity, however, to let them know I felt ready to be on the dating scene again, and asked them how they felt about it. Much to my delight, they were supportive and talkative about the topic. Chatter of perhaps meeting someone with a private plane or who had season tickets to The Red Sox were part of the banter, but it opened the gate for me to feel comfortable going out with someone other than their father.
Tip #4: Pace Yourself
Once you believe you’ve met your perfect match, you really have to find the balance between your kids, work, and love. It’s so exciting to be falling in love again! Your stomach has those quivering butterflies and the rest of the world can totally come to a screeching halt. However—meals still need to be made, boo boos still need to be kissed, and bills still need to be paid. In short, the rest of your life still needs to happen.
Even though you may be falling fast and hard, stay true to yourself! Of course it’s natural to get swept away when someone new enters the picture and pays you lots of attention and is enamored with your every move, but don’t forget how much your kids adore and need you as well. My kids had me to themselves for several years after my divorce, so when I did find true love again, I knew I had to consider their feelings as well as my own. My motto? "Slow and steady wins the race." (More on that in my last tip.)