Navigating a dating life as a single mother is about as difficult as you can imagine. Years ago, when I was dating the father of my youngest child things were a little bit easier because it made sense. It was more or less clean: Mommy was married, now she is divorced and my little sister’s father is her boyfriend (would be the point of view from my oldest daughter). However, once it became clearer that relationship was not going to work and I became ready to move on romantically the future ahead became a little murky.

 

To be honest, I have tried out both ways. I became involved with a man that I let meet the kids right away. My oldest was lukewarm about him at best, while he and the youngest (I think she was 2 years old at the time) fell in love. He was a great fake daddy, he was over the apartment all the time so there was plenty of opportunity to play house. But he was just too young, he wanted a family so much (too much!)conversation with him was exasperating, things were moving too fast, our maturity levels didn’t match—yadda yadda— I had to let him go. Mother of year nominee that I am, I chose not to tell the children about it. I simply no longer mentioned him and he just didn’t come around anymore. After that experience I realized that it might be best for me to wait until I got into a serious relationship with someone before integrating momlife (not at all like thuglife) with dating/girlfriend life.

 

Right now, my two daughters are 9 and my youngest just turned 5 yesterday. I have been with my boyfriend almost two years and I would describe him as “in the peripheral view of their lives”. They know he is my steady boyfriend,  we have gone on maybe five family outings since he and I have been together and they say hello to him whenever we talk on the phone. From what I can tell they like him just fine and vice versa—but I’m still uncertain when the true integration is supposed to happen. At what point should he be expected to show up to soccer games and do school drop off when I have an early morning meeting? He and I don’t live together, and don’t plan to for a very long time, so to be honest I am less inclined to obligate him to those kind of things. In the meantime, sleepovers are a little awkward.

 

Yesterday for example: my five year old’s father brought pizza for dinner last night to celebrate her birthday. We ate, played with bubbles, put the kids to bed and it was a nice time. However, after it was time for her dad to leave my boyfriend came over after the girls had gone to sleep. In the morning he lay half asleep in my bed behind closed bedroom door while I got the girls ready for daycare and we prepared to start our day. Before we left I went into the room to kiss him goodbye. I wasn’t planning to tell the girls that he was even there but they are so nosy I knew that they knew someone else was in my room. So I say to them, “tell Jackie good bye” and I watched their little eyebrows raise in surprise because for whatever reason they thought that it was my youngest daughter’s father who was asleep in my bed!

 

Sound confusing? Well, imagine how I feel! A lot of single mothers decide to forego dating altogether and I can understand why. However, I went through my divorce and popped out babies at such a young age that I feel like now is as good a time as any to be out there in the dating field. The reason my relationships with their fathers didn’t last is because I had never dated around or even knew enough about myself to have any business being in a long term situation with any man, let alone having their babies. I learned things the hard way but I don’t want to martyr my sex/romantic life because of it. For me, letting the children around my steady man and being upfront about when he stays over, gives Valentine’s day gifts and does boyfriend things is important for them to see. I think it’s good for them to know and understand that I am woman who does womanly things and not just mommy things.

I have no idea how this will pan out for me in the long run so any tips or tricks you other single moms have for me out there I would surely welcome the advice!