You know how people say that variety is the spice of life? They say this because it’s true! No one has the same background. We don’t have the same aspirations. We don’t even experience things the same way. So naturally, when we go through a divorce or the loss of a spouse, of course, it’s going to be hard. However, the bounce back is going to be different for everyone. For single women who have children, it is going to be a little harder than we’d like.
If you think about it, when we cultivate a relationship with someone, it requires time and effort for it to become something substantial. Even for those relationships that don’t quite turn out as we’d hope, it is going to have some kind of impact on our lives. With kids, those relationships aren’t just ours, and they aren’t going to affect our life. They are going to affect our children’s life as well.
It’s important that, as a single parent, you take the time to nurture your relationship with your children as much as you work on creating a relationship with someone new. It’s that delicate balance that many single women struggle with. While variety may be the spice of life and no two situations will be the same, we have some tips on balancing dating and being a mom that you can apply to your own life.
Always Make Your Child First
Parents automatically make their children their first priority, as they should. However, when some folks are dating someone new, they get so wrapped up in this new relationship that they focus all their time and energy on that relationship. You can’t do this! Yes, you do need and deserve adult time with someone special, but you have to acknowledge that your child needs your attention and care first and foremost. If your date doesn’t understand this, then perhaps you are with the wrong person.
Always Spend Quality Time with Your Child
When you spend quality time with your child, you are forging a connection with them. You’re reinforcing that mother/child bond that is crucial to their development. By spending quality time with them, you’re letting them know that they matter to you and you love them. Now, this quality time doesn’t have to cost money, and it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. It could be watching a movie together, coloring and chatting, or even playing together at the park. As long as you’re able to make time for them and make them feel special, your child is probably going to be more accepting of your decision to date.
Make Time for Your New Partner, Too
While you have to make time for your child, you should also make sure you make the time to spend some quality time with the person you’re dating. You don’t want your new partner to feel like they are a second thought. Keep in mind that your schedules may not always sync up and you may have to be a little flexible, but then so should he.
Keep Lines of Communication Open
To make your relationship work, you have to communicate with your partner. This means cluing them in on your schedule, your child’s schedule, and take note of theirs. This is going to help you plan for dates, but it’s also going to help your partner feel included in both of your lives.
Make Time For Yourself
The only way a relationship with someone new or your child is going to work is if you’re in the right headspace to do that. How do you be in the right headspace? By making time for yourself, of course. Be mindful of what makes you happy and what keeps you sane. Carve some time out of the day to do these things—even if it’s just enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning before you wake the kids up for school. These little moments to yourself can make a huge difference.
Never Rush Quality Time
When you’re spending quality time with your significant other, your children, or even yourself, never rush yourself so you can move on to the next. By rushing the time you spend with someone (or yourself), you’re not giving them your full attention and giving them the feeling that you would rather be doing something else. You don’t want to stretch yourself too thin! The time you spend with the folks you love should be just as important to you as it is to them.
Ask For Help
If you’re going out on a date, instead of hiring a babysitter to come to the house and watch your kid do their homework, enlist the help of family members to take your child out every once in a while. For example, if you’re going to a fancy dinner and dancing, ask a family member (or even a friend) who has kids the same age if they would be willing to take the kids to an arcade or a kid-themed restaurant (if they agree, be sure to return the favor!). This way, your kids aren’t stuck home while you’re out having fun — they can have fun too!
The balancing act between being a single mother and dating can be a challenge, there’s no denying that. However, it isn’t impossible. With a bit of prioritizing, being open, and even asking for help, it can be done!
photo of a couple on a date courtesy of Shutterstock