You’re officially ready to jump back into the dating game but wait…you’ve forgotten how. Don’t worry, after years of parenting and being focused on your children, it’s perfectly normal.
And as hard as it seems, you’ll learn to get better at juggling romance with all the responsibilities and tasks of being a single parent. Of course, there are a few things you can do to maximize your enjoyment of a new romance while not taking away from the time and attention you shower on your children.
Here are tips on finding a balance while having your fun dating!
Focus on you
You love your kids; your world revolves around them. This is so natural that it’s easy to fall into the trap of defining yourself solely as a ‘parent’ or a ‘single parent.’
But when it comes to dating, it’s time to focus on you again. This is one part of your life where what you like and need matters the most. After all, you’re not finding someone for your kids, are you? You’re finding someone for you. Remember that.
If your new love interest is a single parents as well, this will be much, much easier since they’ll be in the same boat. To spend quality time with your new partner, make plans way ahead of time for a weekend get-away or a romantic night away from the kids.
This way you’ll have plenty of time to hire a reliable baby-sitter, work around any important events for the children (i.e. soccer games, drama performances), and have plenty to look forward to while going through your daily chores.
Leave the kids at home
When you’re meeting a new date, leave the kids at home – both physically and mentally. Of course, you’ll always have your kids in the back of your mind, but a date is a chance for you to get to the know your date and for the date to get to know you, not your kids.
That being said, don’t leave them out of the date conversations! Be absolutely honest from the beginning about being a single parent. There’s no reason to go on and on about your life as a single parent on the first date, but it’s good to mention the fact that you are one early on.
Make your own rules
People have an array of opinions when it comes to what other people should be doing. Ignore them. Those opinions apply only to the people who hold them.
As long you are balancing your time and keeping your priorities straight, feel free to make your own rules as to how to enjoy your life as a single parent.
If you want to date, do it! Want to let your hair down and go dancing? Again, do it! Single parent or now, you’re still you. Go do what you enjoy.
Be there for your kids
You’re busy with work, life, dating and kids. While they’re all important, you already know what comes first: your kids. So show them that they are your top priority by keeping lines of communication open. Always.
Your kids might have a variety of opinions about your love life, your dating prospect, their place in your life, etc. Whereas whether you take their advice or not is your decision, it’s important to hear what they have to say and make them understand that you care what they have to say.
Your kids could feel insecure or threatened by the thought of you dating again so don’t sacrifice your alone time with your children for the sake of dating. When schedules conflict, opt for your child’s sport or school events.
And lastly, remember that your kids have their own stuff to deal with and never use your children as dating confidantes. As a single parent, life often gets too hectic to socialize. If you find yourself in a situation where you have no friends to confide in, make a concerted effort to find like-minded adults before you start dating. Even if you don’t have adult friends, stay away from over-sharing details of your love life with your children.
Maximize your time investments
It’s important to be there for your children when they need you, but are there things you are doing that you don’t need to be doing? Be honest with yourself and look at how you are spending your time. Many single parents have difficulty dating again because of a psychological block in which they use their kids as an excuse to leave their comfort zone. If you’re spending your time on activities that your children don’t need nor want, maybe it’s time to factor these out of your schedule.
They say fools rush in and when you’re playing with both your emotions and the emotions of your children, you don’t want to be a fool. Take it slow, become friends first, and really take your time getting to know the other person before entering into a romantic relationship.
This is recommended in any relationship, but especially for single parents, you want to get to know your date inside and out before you invite him/her to be a part of your children’s lives. So take the time to become friends first, enjoy your date’s company and then build on that. Leave off on asking your date to assume any parental roles or introducing your date too quickly to your children.
Wait to introduce your dating prospect to your kids
However old your children are, they may have difficulty dealing with the emotional toll of meeting multiple dating partners. Children can’t be expected to understand the ups and downs of dating, so it’s best to keep them out of your love life until you’re sure about a dating prospect.