After I wrote this post and read (and cried and felt disheartened by) all those websites that made out like dating a single-parent was the worst thing a guy could imagine, I tried to write a list of my own. On why
I'm such a catch you might actually want to date a woman who is also a single-mom. But I couldn't quite pull my serious face on long enough to write a serious list - carries a ready supply of snacks (if raisins in those little red boxes are your kind of thing)? Will probably be really impressed with your toy collection? Has an in depth knowledge of Pixar movies? Can assemble a Transformer singlehanded and thrives on zero hours sleep? Clearly I know what rocks a man's world, no?
Complete lack of seriousness aside, I know there are good things about dating a single-mom. We're talking about a person who has been through it all and come out of it stronger (and only slightly jaded and cynical). Someone who probably knows what they want - or at least has been in a crappy relationship long enough to know what they don't want. She has her own money, knows her own mind, has probably come to the conclusion she doesn't really need a man, and is therefore choosing to be with you, because she wants to. No doubt, they don't quite realise their own strength and courage and are fiercely independent. You get the best of both worlds - all the good stuff about being in a relationship but without the drama, insecurity or co-dependency. If you both decide that you're going to be part of the kiddo's life then you get a whole lotta joy that comes with being a part of a family - but avoid things like sleepless nights and the unending parenting worries.
I haven't been doing this single-mom thing for long, and I'm even less experienced with this dating thing. Maybe I'm not the one to be telling you what dating a single-mom is like - because like every other woman, single or not, mother or not, we're unique and so are our situations. Unique, special, messy, fucked up and beautiful. I often get e-mails and comments on my writing, saying lovely things like how I summed up what someone was thinking, they couldn't have written it better themselves etc. So I can tell you what dating me looks like, and maybe someone will relate and or
run screaming empathise.
1. I have two nights a fortnight when my kid is with his dad - if I'm using that time to go out with you it means I like you more than I like the idea of 'me-time', bubble baths and sleep. The rest of the week I co-sleep, which means if I'm letting you share my bed know that I am giving up a whole night of blissful, lie in the middle of the bed, uninterrupted sleep for you. Also, since I have to work around visitation, 3pm on a Wednesday afternoon is sometimes an entirely appropriate time for a date.
2. I don't play games. I don't have the time, energy or headspace. My time is precious and so is my heart. If I like something, someone, I will say so, you will know it. If you piss me off, you will know that too. I'm forward and a chronic oversharer, I have this thing about living honestly with myself and somedays it all looks a bit crazy, but I'm always being myself (and I'll try to reign in the crazy at least at first).
3. I may not play games, but I will test you. It's not as scary as it sounds, if you're being tested it's because I like you enough to want you to pass, I just need to check you're not about to turn out a total jerk-off. Chances are you won't notice, so just be yourself and I'll handle any anything you wanna throw my way too (illegitimate children, wives in the attic, latent alcoholism and chronic OCD kind of thing).
4. I mostly make decisions based on signs from the universe, instinct and striving to do the best for my kid. Things won't always make sense to other people, but I have faith in my craziness.
5. My phone is always always on, because no matter how much fun we're having I always have to be available to my kid. Along the same lines, I will often receive a message, get distracted, cook dinner and build a city from Lego before I remember to reply, it's nothing personal, but if you get an instant response I'm either keen on you or my kid is napping.
6. I absolutely loathe being told what to do. I spent entirely too long in a controlling relationship to let anyone tell me what to do, say or think.
7. The above only applies in situations other than the bedroom. Just fyi.
8. I have lived with a guy for pretty much my whole adult life - I am an expert in compromise, diplomatic decision making and finding the good in people. That said, I now live in a world where my word is the only word and I quite love it - so if you move stuff in my fridge or touch my remote control you're getting ditched faster than you can say 'control issues'.
9. This is the longest time I've been single since I was 16 years old - I am woefully out of practise in being cool and impressive around people I think are cool and impressive. I get nervous easily, which throws off my spatial awareness and my sense of humour - so if I act like a dork, spill a drink on you and make jokes about daddy issues it's because really I was hoping to be charming and alluring.
...oh, and the most important thing you should know about girls like me? Anything you say or do on a date can and will be blogged.