The responsibilities of single mothers seem endless, making it really difficult to have a life outside of your kids and to get back into dating. And what if your kids don't like your new man or think he's trying to replace their father? So many things to consider!
Shelley Lewin, a life and relationship coach for New Life Coach, says that besides the threat of your kids not warming up to your new social life, kids have the potential to send any single man running for the hills before you can get anything started. But according to Lewin, you shouldn't hold off on this information. "Becoming emotionally and/or physically attached before you have shared that you have kids, only to find out that he doesn't like children or that your kids don't like him, is disastrous. To be fair and respectful to everyone involved, a man needs to know key information upfront that will impact on him in assessing his potential future with you. If you are ready to assess whether this is the right guy for you, then you might as well see if he is right for the kids," she says.
Lewin offers some advice on how to start dating as a single mother:
- Be honest and upfront about your single mother status early on.
- Know the value you bring and do not accept or settle for second best.
- Become financially and emotionally independent. Neediness is not appealing.
- Feel proud of being a single parent and do not hide it or make excuses for it.
- Do not engage in conversation about your ex.
- Introduce the children in a natural, casual, social setting (not as mommy's boyfriend).
- Allow him to see who you are as mother (excluding that part of yourself from view helps nobody).
- Create opportunities for him to experience who you are as a mother as well as a woman – both are important.
- Pay attention to how he behaves with your children. He will need to prove he is worthy of stepping into that role.