The word on the street is that very few childless men are interested in dating single moms because of the “baggage” aspect. Personally, I have never had this experience during my short-lived single life, but I can definitely see how having kids can be a no-go for men (and some women for that matter). However, the truth is, if you are a male over let’s say 35, the chances of you dating a single mom are much higher. People get hitched in their 20’s and have some babies. Then they divorce or break-up and become single parents.
Since you are reading this, you’re probably curious about what it’s like dating a single mom. You’re probably preparing yourself and wondering if it’s worth a shot. The reality is, there are positives and negatives to dating a single mother and I outlined as many truths as I could think of so that you can decide for yourself.
The great things about dating a single mom
Single moms are goal driven. We’re going places. We have little people to impress and nothing is going to stop us from kicking ass in life. No one is more determined to succeed than a single mom. We are independent women, so we don’t need men to help us succeed. What this means for us means for you? Well, we’re less “needy” than our non-mom counterparts. We don’t need your money, we don’t need your time. We may need you to kill a spider or fix the toilet, but we don’t really require much “maintenance”. We got other things to do, like parent-teacher meetings and grocery shopping.
We’re pretty easy going. We’ve gone through our fair share of dealing with “shit”, literally. Not much shocks us or disgusts us. We just go with the flow and deal with anything that is being thrown at us. For example, I recently crashed into a classmate of mine in the parking lot of my university because I was so tired and wasn’t paying attention. It didn’t even phase me. If I can get through one month of neonatal intensive care unit (my twins were preemies), labor, divorce, a fender bender is nothing to be worried about. My classmate that I crashed into did not share my point of view. She was a non-mom and she actually called her mom for help.
We possess and express an extraordinary type of love for our children, unconditional love. Unconditional love is when you love someone without limits, without conditions, completely and utterly. We love our children no matter what. When a worthy man comes along, we may express that unconditional for him. It’s a lovely feeling knowing you are loved that much, without limitations. You have the chance to be one with another individual.
When dating a single parent, you learn the ins and outs of family life. What it takes, what matters and what’s not even worth the effort. You will learn to appreciate the little things in life and let everyday disappointments go. You will experience the indescribable feeling of joy through the eyes of a child along with hurt when they hurt. You will learn what’s really important in life: family, love, and health. How a simple trip to the candy store can bring so much joy to a child and how much worry is felt when a child gets sick or hurt. It’s all these things that add up and form a “family life”.
Why dating a single mom is hard
Free time? Ha! Yeah, that’s like non-existent in our everyday lives. Between jobs, daily chores, childcare, and various miscellaneous responsibilities, we seldom have any time for fun. So, what does that mean for you? Don’t expect consistent, spontaneous dates. It’s just not possible. In addition, we often share parenting responsibilities with baby daddy, which pretty much controls our lives. Sometimes these parenting schedules are as simple as rotating weekends where the kids are with their dad every other weekend, while the remaining days they are with mom, which only leaves every other weekend for dates. Sometimes it’s a bit more complicated like a 60/40 split (60% with mom, 40% with dad). Either way, maintaining this schedule is mandatory, especially if it was agreed upon by both parties as part of the divorce.
Some divorcing couples have dating rules that are a part of the parenting plan. For example, no sleepovers with “boy toy” for a 6-month period, children are not allowed to meet “boy toy” until he has met their father, or not being allowed to live together for a certain amount of time (6 months, 1 year, etc.). This is an example from my own parenting agreement from when I divorced that was made for the safety of the children. No parent ever wants to have to deal with a boyfriend or girlfriend of the other parent who is a bad influence. We all just want what’s best for our children.
A potential problem you may experience is baby daddy drama. If he’s around, accept the fact that he will most likely always be around. Like forever. You will probably be forced to meet him sooner or later. This may cause some problems for you, especially if he’s an asshole, if you have jealousy problems, or if there was a rough past between the two of them (ie abuse). The majority of time divorced parents or exes, in general, do not get along. Try not to get involved unless you are asked to get involved. Do not give your opinion, unless you are asked for your opinion. Just a tip.
Our children mean everything to us. It’s vital for you to understand that they will always be our top priority. Accept it because you will never have the number 1 spot. I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but it’s the reality. We do everything for our little people. Your job as the stranger is to make nice with the kids! Play with them, interact with them, form a relationship with them. You don’t have to pretend to be “daddy number 2”, just show us you actually care. It means a lot to us because our kids are a huge part of our lives. There’s no better feeling that one brought on by watching my boyfriend play with my kids, read them bedtime stories, make them waffles for dinner, or take them to the playground. It makes my heart melt and makes me love him that much more.
My personal experience of dating a childless man
I once dated a dude without kids and it was not at all easy. He was really needy. He tried, he really tried to be understanding, but he failed. Although he never admitted to it, I felt like the entire relationship he viewed my kids as baggage. He seldom went out of his way to interact with them and I don’t think he knew how to do it. It’s as if he didn’t see the whole package, me as a whole. He viewed me only as his girlfriend and overlooked the mom. I was also going through my divorce during the time and trying to work things out with my ex. He just didn’t get how difficult it was for me and the fact that my kids’ wellbeing came first, no matter what was happening with their dad.
I remember one time in particular. We were going on vacation and the plan was for me to spend the night prior to departure at his house because we had an early flight. Well, my ex-husband hadn’t purchased car seats yet so he needed my car while we were gone. We would switch cars at the time because I had the car seats, but he also wanted access to his car while I was gone so he asked me to keep his car in my garage. I told this to my boyfriend at the time and asked him if he could just pick me up the morning of our flight. He flipped. He was pissed because my ex-husband was being “difficult” and “controlling”, while it was him that was actually being controlling. I was trying to maintain as much peace as possible with my ex-husband, for my own sake and for that of my children. Needless to say, I quickly ended that relationship. He was the baggage I did not need.
I can definitely say that he learned a lot from our relationship. After we broke up, he took it upon himself to read relationship books in order to figure out where he went wrong. He started seeing a therapist and did some soul searching and attempted to get me back. After we broke up he began to appreciate the importance of family. He started spending more time with his nieces and nephews, I believe in an attempt to be viewed more as “a family man”. It was too little too late. I had moved on.
I’m not gonna sugar coat it, dating a single mom is difficult. It requires quite a bit of patience, flexibility, and understanding. The truth is, although you may think we come with baggage, from our perspective even childless men have baggage. Single moms typically prefer to date single dads because they are more understanding. The bottom line is that dating a single mother is not for everyone especially not for your typical alpha male because of the fact that you will never come first and you will never get all of her attention. That’s a difficult concept for some men to accept. However, if you think you are ready for this, dating a single mom can be very rewarding: she will inspire personal growth in you and teach you valuable life lessons that you will never forget.