Dating is better as a single mom

At least I have my kids.

That’s another thing I tell myself when things are tough. When I worry I’ll never figure out the relationship thing. When I sit back and think, “How the hell did things turn out this way?” No one tells you these things can happen. There isn’t an afterschool special, a pamphlet, a talk with the school counselor that warns you to look out for the dangers of marrying a perfectly nice guy who then falls off a cliff and is irrevocably changed for the worse when he cracks his skull on a rock and nearly dies.

I believe in a God. And there are many days when I say, “Dude. W. T. F.?”

But here is something that I never question: I am so, so glad I have my kids. I always wanted kids. I didn’t really know what that meant until I had them. I wasn’t one of those women who got jealous when a friend got pregnant, or have Anne Geddes pictures posted in my cubicle. But I knew I was supposed to have kids, and I did.

There are all those wonderful thing about children, but I don’t feel like they need to be spelled out here. Because if you ‘like’ my Facebook fan page you can read all about my children’s witticisms and generous hearts. The fact that the species keep perpetuating itself is evidence enough that kids are worth all the work and heartache. True, babies keep getting born because people are horny and none too keen on birth control. But I believe it is mainly because babies and children are unbelievably wonderful.

My point at this moment is that if I were 35, divorced and childless, I would feel very, very differently about my life. There would be the clock that dictates one’s every date, every interaction with a man, how you spend or save your money, your career choices and the real estate you inhabit. I knew a woman who was a perfectly attractive, sexually-active-in-a-normal-way, 28-year-old professional person, and ALL SHE WANTED TO DO WAS GET MARRIED AND HAVE BABIES. She asked me what I thought about starting a college fund. A college fund. For babies whose father had yet to be identified.

At least I have my kids.

True, dating as a single mom is a whole weird, new experience. It is also awesome. Last time I was dating, I was in my mid-20s and I was looking for a husband and father to my kids. This time around, it’s a totally different rodeo. I don’t need anyone’s sperm — QUICK! before my ovaries shrivel! I don’t need anyone’s money. I need love and companionship and sex. Now my requirements for a relationship are culled from a part of me that is more tender and real and soft than I’ve known until now. I may want to get married again one day – in fact I think that might be just lovely – but there is no big emergency. No clock. That I have my children grants me the luxury of enjoying a man in a way that I never did before.

My kids also grant me the luxury to enjoy all the other parts of my life until I meet one.


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Emma Johnson

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,, 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.

11 thoughts on “Dating is better as a single mom

  1. I was raised by a mom who dated as a single mom with kids and I definitely see how this plan worked for her the second time around with my stepdad….but the way you out into words is so beautiful…

    It is almost as if I want to infuse a little bit of your theory into my marriage with kids now that the rush to have kids is over :)

  2. You nailed this! Dating in middle age with a ten year old son and fourteen year old daughter affords me a perspective that, I think, embodies me as a WHOLE person.

  3. Well, yes, but it’s kind of a kick in the teeth to those of us who aren’t in your enviable position. I have one child. I am not done. It hurts to know that means I’m on a dating clock.

  4. Great article, it’s not much different for single dads, well at least the good ones. Dating is a whole new animal when you have to consider the affects on a little one. At least I have my daughter :-)

  5. OH soo true! I have heard a LOT of mothers with children talk about how they are so fullfilled with their children so there is no rush to get a man.

    And while I agree,.. I WANT MORE BABIES hehehe so the clock is ticking for me :C

  6. My favourite paert :”I think that might be just lovely – but there is no big emergency. No clock. That I have my children grants me the luxury of enjoying a man in a way that I never did before.” Great post! Really enjoyed reading it!

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