There are many things in my life that changed after I had my daughter, both because I’m young and also because I’m raising her alone. I was prepared for many of these changes, but others truly surprised me. They’ve all been hard to adjust to, especially when it comes to my dating life.
- I thought that being a single mom would make dating impossible. It wasn’t something I was focusing on or worried about for a while after becoming a mom. I gave myself time to adjust to being a parent and gave my daughter time to adjust to the world around her before I started dating again. I had assumed that it would be difficult to meet guys and that they would be hesitant to date me because I’m a single mom. I also thought that it would be impossible to juggle parenting and relationships. Although being a single mom does make dating different and a little more complex, it isn’t impossible. In fact, being a mom has almost been beneficial to my dating life because I don’t waste my time with people who don’t deserve it.
- I’m hesitant about going out with someone new. In the past, even though I’d been hurt by exes and been in toxic relationships, I was still always willing to give potential partners the benefit of the doubt. I’m inherently trusting, sometimes to a fault, but I try not to let painful things that have happened and deceitful people I’ve encountered in my life make me jaded. That being said, after having my daughter, I became very cautious and choosy about agreeing to go out on a date with someone because it meant a night spent away from my daughter. I’m only willing to sacrifice that precious time for people who truly deserve it.
- A lot of guys assume I’m looking for a serious relationship because I have a child. When potential partners learn that I have a daughter, they often automatically assume I’m looking for a serious relationship or for someone to step in as a surrogate father. Although I have never been against being in a serious relationship with the right person, becoming a mom didn’t change that. I’m a strong, independent person and I don’t need a guy for a happy life.
- I get annoyed when plans change last minute. I used to be all for spontaneity and it never used to bother me if people had to change or cancel plans last minute. In fact, I loved the thrill of last-minute adventures. Now that I’m a mom, it drives me crazy when people change or cancel plans last minute because when it comes to children, planning is everything. When I plan to go out, I have to get a babysitter and make sure everything is prepared for the night. I also can’t go out on last-minute dates because it’s usually not possible to find a babysitter at the drop of a hat.
- Getting ready for a date takes a lot longer and requires a lot more creativity. This is another reason why plans changing or being canceled on last minute is so frustrating. I no longer have the luxury to shower whenever I feel like it, take hours to do my makeup, or change my outfit a thousand times. I usually try to get ready during my daughter’s nap time, but sometimes I have to be more creative, putting on my makeup while making funny faces and singing “The Wheels On The Bus” over and over.
- I no longer put up with BS or entertain guys that aren’t up to my standards. I’m not saying that I used to have low standards or would date just anybody, but I’ve definitely gone out with a few losers and guys that didn’t treat me well. Now that I’m a mom, I don’t have time to worry about whether or not some guy is going to text me, and if he asks me what I’m doing when it’s already late, he doesn’t get a reply. If a guy wants to date me, he has to be willing to make plans to spend time with me and be straightforward. Relationship games are not something I have the time or energy to play anymore.
- The kinds of dates I’m interested in have changed dramatically. I still enjoy going out to bars every now and then, but for the most part, I’m much more low-key than I used to be. Being a single mom— and a parent in general— is amazing, special and rewarding, but it’s also exhausting, both mentally and physically. At the end of the day, I’m usually in the mood to relax with a glass of wine and watch an episode or two of a TV show. I don’t want to stay out until four in the morning or go to an extravagant dinner—I just want to chill.
- There are some qualities I require a potential partner to have that I didn’t consider before. For example, I need a guy that’s self-sufficient and who can take care of himself. I already take care of a tiny human and myself, I can’t be responsible for another grown adult as well. I also won’t date someone who is insecure or needy because I don’t have time to reassure them constantly about my feelings. If I’m going to date someone, he needs to not only understand that my daughter will always come first but encourage it. I also won’t date someone who isn’t flexible because our plans might have to change with little notice depending on my daughter.
- I refuse to teach someone how to be a good boyfriend, but I don’t expect everyone to understand what it’s like to be a parent. I remember a time not too long ago when I had no idea what being a parent was like, and to be quite honest, I’m still learning (and assume I will be for the rest of my life). I won’t date someone who needs to be taught how to be in a relationship or how to be a good partner, but I do realize that it’s difficult to grasp what being a parent is like until you have a child. I’m willing to explain certain things, but I refuse to date someone that needs to be babysat and shown how to act in a healthy, positive relationship.