I go out with single dads and childless men alike, and some of the latter admit (while others appear) to be uncertain about the logistics of dating a single mom.
On one hand, Dude, we are just like other women! Proceed as normal!
==> See below: 12 things never to say to a single mom on a first date
On the other, our lives are likely both wonderful and challenging in ways that childless women's are not.
Dating a single mom
Don't assume she's not free when her kids are home
Women like to be asked out. If you're interested and want to see her, ask her out.
Take 5 min and read 9 reasons dating as a single mom is so much better and understand why it will be worth the extra time and effort you may have to put in!
If she prefers not to go out when her kids are home or doesn't like to hire a babysitter on school nights, she'll tell you.
If you don't ask her out — no matter how innocuous or considerate the reason — she will assume you don't want to see her.
Ask her out ASAP
Leave the ask to the last minute, she has to scramble to find a sitter and that's really uncool.
Plus, it tells her (and any other woman, for that matter) that she was your Plan B for the evening.
Which she may be. But if you really want to see her, give her plenty of time to sort out her schedule.
If she wants to date you, she will find a way to make it work.
Ask about her kids
She won't assume you're a pedophile.
This shows interest in one of the most important things in her life.
In fact, if you DON'T appear interested in her family she'll think that you're not into kids.
Let her know you love kids
Assuming it's true.
Sounds cliche', but I always appreciate it when a guy goes on about how much he adores his niece or spends time with a friend's baby.
When a guy laughs at my funny-kid story, or is sympathetic about my mom worries, I'm in.
Don't assume she is down and out
Maybe she is broke, but don't assume.
It will piss her off.
Don't assume her kids need a new dad
They have a dad, or they don't.
You are not being interviewed to be a parent — you are being interviewed for your potential to be a romantic partner.
Of course, that could involve — way, way down the road — being a part of a family with children.
These things are complicated, I know.
Bear with us. But just follow her lead here.
If you're out and she is paying for a sitter it is really nice if you get the check
This isn't necessary, and especially after you have been involved for a while you will likely sort out the who-pays-when conundrum.
But if you tend to take turns picking up the bill, but she sometimes rearranges her life to get out of the house and pays for a babysitter so she can spend time with you, acknowledge that.
Hang tight on asking about visitation schedules
Of course, you want to know when she is free, if she has the kids all the time and whether the dad is involved.
But if you explicitly ask for these details on the first or second date you will appear reluctant about dating a woman with kids.
Which you may be – but if you ask too fast, she will know.
But she wants to feel like you're interested in her in every part of her womanhood — including motherhood.
Wait for her to bring up introducing the kids
If it has been more than a few months, or things get very serious very quickly, and she hasn't brought up introducing the kids, bring it up.
Know that when she invites you over, it is more work for her than when you invite her over
Yes, moms are really efficient and they're used to doing a lot of cooking and cleaning.
But if a single mom invites you over for dinner — whether a romantic evening for two, or with her kids — she had to clean up a whole lot of Legos and finger paint and string cheese wrappers and wrangles in an extra trip to the market and wine store to make it happen.
It may appear effortless, but effortless actually takes more effort.
Respect that it's a big deal when she introduces you to her kids
She is opening up her life and her whole family's life to you.
Treat this gesture accordingly.
Related posts on dating as a single mom:
12 Things never to say to a single mom on a first date
We all say dumb stuff on dates.
Especially first dates when everyone is self-conscious and sussing out someone new.
But there are some things that you just do not say to a single mom on a first date, assuming you’re angling for a second.
Here are 12:
- “You look great for a mom.” That. Never say that.
- Don't ask to come over when her kid are asleep. Just don't.
- “That’s great your mom lives in town so you can leave your kids with her on weekends.”
- “I am really loving this time of my life since my kids went away to college.”
- “Wow, you look good considering you had two kids.”
- “Kids need a man in the house.”
- “You had a C-section? That’s awesome.”
- “You don’t even have stretch marks!”
- “Your ex-husband lives in the neighborhood? Is his place near here [looking over both shoulders]? Do you ever run into him? Does he hate that you date? Has he ever beat up your boyfriends? Have your kids met any men you’ve dated? How did they react? Did they resent him?”
- “Did you get your tubes tied?”
- “How much child support do you get?”
- “When guys marry single moms and their daughters grow into teenagers, I don’t know how they can control themselves.”
- “My ex has a lot of issues so I really want to get married so my daughter has a new mom.”
- “Do you masturbate while your kids are home?”
- “Not a lot of guys are interested in women with kids, you know.”
Interested in getting to know someone on a second date?
Commit this list to memory and never ever utter a single one of them.
Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.
A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.