How to Date as a Single Mum
For many busy single mums, just thinking about going on a date is enough to make you want to curl back up on the couch in favour of sleep. After all, once upon a time, you had all afternoon to get ready and a full night ahead to do as you pleased. Now, it’s hard to get out the door without mashed potato on your top and the babysitter can only stay until 9:00 pm.
In any case, there just aren’t that many single men hanging around the toddler’s section at the park. Even if there was, would they want to ask a single mum, like you, out on a date?
The answer is, resoundingly, yes! But, you already know they’re not likely to find you at the park and, unless Prince Charming has started making house calls, your couch isn’t the best place to be either.
There’s nothing really holding you back from dating as a single mum, except, perhaps, for your own thoughts.
Identify your negative beliefs
What you believe about dating as a single mum is, quite simply, what you’ll get. If you think that guys don’t look at women with kids or that you don’t have time for dating, the experiences you’ll attract can really only match your expectations.
What you believe about dating as a single mum is, quite simply, what you’ll get.
For example, if you feel like men don’t pay attention to you when you’re with your child, it’s not likely you’re very open to opportunities or that you’d even notice if a hot guy looked your way. Somewhere along the parenting journey, between nappies, no sleep and nursery rhymes, you’ve forgotten that you’re a sexy, high-value woman.
While that’s perfectly understandable, it’s certainly not the truth.
There are a lot of men out there who are time poor, just like you, as well as single dads looking for love. Don’t assume all men think the same as some and don’t put yourself, or them, into categories that don’t even really exist, except via outdated stereotypes.
You’re an individual, following your own unique path and you have the power to turn it into anything you like. Make a point of becoming aware of your mindset about dating. This is the first step in changing it, so you can start taking action.
To begin, each time you have a negative thought about dating, write it down. Read it out loud and ask yourself if it’s really true. For example, if your thought is, “no one will want to date me because I’m a single mum,” when it’s written down, it’s pretty easy to see that it’s a seriously exaggerated notion. Try and have a laugh at it, then write down a solution.
In this case, it could be to make yourself feel more confident, which will, in turn, help you change the belief.
Feel confident within yourself
Everything from your hobbies to your friends and your appearance takes a backseat to your children. While this is a necessary part of raising kids, not doing anything for yourself can start to erode your confidence, which makes diving into the dating scene a whole lot harder.
Many single mums feel guilty about doing things for themselves. If this is you, think about it in terms of the example you want to set for your kids. You want them to live life to the full and know that they should nurture themselves by doing what they love, right? So, the first step is to figure out what you might be depriving yourself of, in terms of things that made you feel good before you were a single mum.
It’s definitely not all about appearances, but if going to the hairdressers, buying new shoes or having a makeover helps you to feel confident, don’t delay in making an appointment or going to the shops. You’re absolutely allowed to!
When you haven’t seen your friends for a while, make it a priority to catch up. They’ll make you feel valued, you’ll have fun and benefit from their support, which helps your confidence soar. While you might not have as much time to invest in your hobbies or goals, scale them back a bit so you can still enjoy the things you love.
For example, if you’ve always loved reading books that stretch your mind, don’t give up just because you don’t have the luxury of spare time in the afternoon. Wake up half an hour earlier to get a small fix each day instead. It’s all about adapting and finding a way to give yourself what you need, rather than putting it in the ‘too hard’ basket. Giving to yourself really isn’t hard at all, when you make doing so the priority it should be.
Feeling confident within is all about making time for yourself, so you can bring everything back into balance.
Know that you have to make the time to date
Finding free time is certainly a challenge as a single parent and your children will always come first. However, never forget that you choose what your priorities are. Therefore, if that’s to meet a guy, only you can push it up to the top of the list. Not doing so only leaves you feeling unfulfilled, which, in turn, leads to unhappiness.
And it’s much harder to give to others when your own love tank is running on empty.
Just imagine if you already had the right man in your life. Without a doubt, you’d find time to fit him into your life, no matter what. When dating is one of your priorities, you can’t sew the seed of even being able to meet a man, unless you make time for social events, online dating and trying new experiences.
Your routine is important, but it won’t collapse because of a night out with your friends.
If you feel insecure about dating, be careful not to hide in all the responsibilities of being a parent, to avoid taking the leap. Your routine is important, but it won’t collapse because of a night out with your friends.
Be honest with yourself and if you’re about to say no to an event because of a mound of washing that you feel must take priority, question your hidden motives. Are you nervous, for example? That’s perfectly understandable. But, the quicker you face your nerves and push through them to go out anyway, the quicker you’ll realise you have nothing to be nervous about.
The result is immediate, in that just putting yourself out there means you’re one step closer to a fun dating life and finding the guy for you.
Create a social life
Now that you’re in the right mindset and ready to make time for dating, you need to get back into having a social life to meet people, not necessarily just men. When you aim to make new friends, rather than just seek out guys, it’s much easier to launch into dating.
Get excited because this is the fun part and the sky’s the limit! Pretty much everything you like to do offers classes, groups, events or venues to go to, where there’ll be like-minded people and opportunities to meet men, without any pressure.
Want some ideas?
Latin dancing is a huge trend, with classes everywhere that combine with social events. Join your local gym, yoga studio or martial arts school, schedule in a regular catch up session with friends and try out a new bar or restaurant each time. Head down to your local pool each week to swim laps and make new friends in the café. Try a life-drawing class, do a landscaping course or even just go for a walk on a busy beach every morning and meet the locals. Your options are, literally, endless.
While there’s every possibility you’ll start dating just from attending social events, think about the opportunities that might come up through the new friends you’ll meet too. Sally from yoga might have a brother who’s a single dad and loves to paint, just like you…
Be honest with your kids and the guys you date
So, you’ve changed your mindset, scheduled time for socializing, put effort into an online profile and you’re ready to go. Chances are, the kids won’t like it when you first start dance class on Wednesday nights, but that’s totally ok. After all, they’re used to getting all your attention and this takes your focus off them, even if it’s just for a short time.
It’s important to explain what you’re doing, in a way that they’ll understand. One of the best ways to do this, is to let them know you need to make time for friends and having fun, just like they do. They’ll come around to the idea, plus, you’ll be setting a wonderful example for them as to how to live life, and they’ll respect you for it.
The next thing is to make sure you mention that you have kids, whether it’s through your online profile or before you go out on a date. Don’t listen to that annoying inner voice that might come back – even after working on your mindset – telling you that having kids lowers your chances of finding a date. Tell her she doesn’t know what she’s talking about and get back to focusing on being the authentic you.
‘Focus’ is the key word here, because this doesn’t mean you should use your entire profile to talk about your kids, nor should the topic monopolize conversation on a first date. This is all about you and fulfilling your needs, as a priority. Just be upfront and honest with the facts from the very beginning, so you can sail into dating smoothly, with confidence and anticipation of finding the right guy for you.
Be up front and honest with the facts from the very beginning, so you can sail into dating smoothly, with confidence and anticipation of finding the right guy for you.
After all, he’s the one who loves kids and, most importantly, loves you just the way you are.