Hey, I get it; being a single mom can be lonely and scary. Like everyone else, single moms want to be in a stable, loving relationship. The problem happens when we try to manifest those relationships before we’ve gotten ourselves, our children, and our households in order. When I learned that my ex-husband had started dating, I jumped headfirst into the dating scene. After 20 years of being with one guy, I thought how hard could it be for me to find someone new; he did it, so I tried to meet guys on dating apps, in clubs, and through mutual acquaintances. But I wasn’t ready, and my children weren’t ready. Maybe, like me, after seeing your ex with a new partner, your first inclination is to find someone new; I had to learn the hard way that whether I was dating or not, my household was complete.
Today, I want to share five things every single mom should attend to before they start dating. These are the things I wish someone had told me before I tried to start dating again. Now, as with any advice, you can take it or leave it, gleam what works for you and leave the rest. But, I promise you that if you take your time and work through this checklist when you decide to start dating, you will feel less overwhelmed, more in control, and just plain happier, and so will your kids. You will enjoy the experience more and choose partners who have what you want and not just because you are desperate to be part of a couple.
1. Heal: Make sure that you have healed from your past relationship. Break-ups are hard. Often, we blame the other person as much as we blame ourselves, and as painful as it is, we must allow ourselves to feel the pain of this loss. In my 12 years of working with single moms, I have found that it doesn’t matter how atrocious the relationship had become, or if the break-up was a mutual decision and you parted as friends, we still need to grieve. So, allow yourself time to go through the grieving process. The time is different for everyone; ending a relationship in which you have invested time, energy, and love will be hard on you emotionally, physically, and possibly financially. One surefire way to sabotage a new relationship is to bring the unpacked baggage from your old relationship into your new one.
2. Make Sure Your Kids Are Adjusting: Break-ups are hard on kids like you; they have come to depend on the other person being in their life. They need your assurance that everything is going to be okay. Sit down and speak with your children, answer their questions, and explain how things are going to work from now on, including visitation, living arrangements, and who will pick them up from school. Your child may be dealing with some anger and grief now that you and your ex have called it quits. Make sure that you have a stable routine, and don’t be afraid to find some professional help. As a Parent Advocate and Case Manager, I helped moms and dads find a licensed professional counselor to help their kids dealing with anxiety and depression. Some kids have a hard time processing this change in their family and begin to act out at home and school. It is impossible to deal with a brand-new relationship while trying to ensure that you and your children are adjusting well.
3. Organize Your Household: Create a morning and evening routine for yourself and your children. Routines help children to feel safe and more in control. It will decrease the amount of overwhelm you feel when trying to get through your day and deal with your feelings and their feelings. Get out the calendar and assign household chores, schedule homework, mealtimes, after-school activities, visitation, and family time. To make your mornings less stressful, you can layout everyone’s outfits for the following day, make sure backpacks and lunches are packed, sign all school-related paperwork, and set the table for breakfast the next day. As moms, our #1 job is to ensure that our children feel safe and secure in their environment. I promise when they feel safe and secure, you will be much happier.
4. Get Your Finances in Order: Use this time of uncoupling to organize your finances, create a simple budget that includes your income, debts, and savings. No matter how bleak your financial outlook appears, it’s crucial to handle the money that is going in and out of your home with care. I learned this the hard way. In the early years of my single parenting journey, not having a budget cost me thousands of dollars in late fees. I don’t want that to be your financial story. You may need to find a new job or go back to school to learn a new skill. But you will never get a handle on your finances until you get the courage to make a budget and write things down. The worst mistake I see single moms making is finding someone to help them with their household expenses. If someone is helping you financially-they are going to want a say in how your household operates and how you raise your children. Ask yourself, am I ready to share or give up control. Think of this as a time to simplify your life and focus on yourself and your children. You are a strong and capable woman able to take care of yourself and your children.
5. Create Your Village: “Children who have single parents will also have many supporters.” You can do this alone, but you do not have to do it alone. I do not know where my children and I would be right now if I did not support my family, friends, and church family. Raising children as a single mom is hard work; it can be physically, emotionally, and financially exhausting. You need someone in your corner to support you and your children. You need someone to vent to, relax with, and someone who will gladly watch your kids so that you can have some “me” time. Your village will include help for you and role models for your kids, so make sure that you vet everyone who comes into your circle to make sure that you share the same values.
I know that single parenting can be lonely, and I would never tell you not to date again, but you can never be too careful with children in the mix. When flying solo, you only had to worry about your broken heart if things didn’t work out; as a mom, you now must watch out for the little hearts under your charge. Following one or all five tips will help you be sure that you and your children are ready when you invite a new personality into your household.
What’s your advice on single moms and dating? Post in the comments!
With Peace and Love,
Hi guys, my name is Renee. I am a Certified Coach and Yoga teacher host of the award-winning Welcome to Your Life Podcast and the Courageous Woman’s Book Club founder. Thank you so much for checking out today’s post.
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