It’s almost Mother’s Day, that one special day where it’s all about you. This Mother’s Day, I’m going to give you my best single mom dating tips. Maybe you’re a single mom who’s ready to start dating again. Maybe you are already dating. Props to you.
But, are you wondering how to tell your kids you’re “back in the game’? Not to fear. Here are my tips for telling your kids you’re moving on...
Honesty is the best policy: Tell your children you plan to meet new people
Time to go back to school. Do you remember hearing, ad nauseum, how honesty is the best policy? Well, I’m here to remind you one more time. Don’t lie to your children. Children are perceptive and intuitive; they follow your actions and they know your cues. So be honest with them.
For example, you may say something like, “Kids, I want to talk to you about something very important. You know how much I love you, and that will never change. You are the most important people in my world. I have decided it’s time for me to start dating again. I am sharing this with you because, no matter what, I want you to understand you are still my top priority. This is going to be something new for all of us. I’m always here for you. That will never change. I am wondering if you have any questions or thoughts you want to share with me? It is important that we have an open communication about this. This may seem like a lot right now so take your time to process what I’ve told you, and don’t be afraid to talk to me about any questions or thoughts you have.”
Reinforcing your love to your kids and how that will never change helps them acknowledged and safe. Your dating life won’t change how important they are to you or the amount of time you spend with them. This is a critical key to your child accepting this change.
Your honesty and reassurance will reduce their feelings of insecurity and help them process the information. Reminding your children that you love them may seem obvious; however, it is important for them to hear this in that exact moment in order to help increase their sense of security.
Where to tell your kids you’re dating again
It’s important to tell your kids you’re dating again. But WHERE you tell them you’re dating again is equally important. I recommend you have the first conversation in your own home. Children feel more comfortable at home. The security of being in their own space makes it easier to digest and be receptive to your news. After your conversation, consider going somewhere special together. This will increase your sense of togetherness and strengthen your parent-child bond.
Mommy’s new love life can be daunting for children. Sometimes they feel threatened and worry the attention will switch from them to your new partner. One-on-one bonding time will reinforce your child’s sense of importance to you and increase their trust.
Next, explain why you started dating. Once again, reassure them that your dating doesn’t take away any of your love for your children. Yes, single mom dating is complex. You deserve to move on in your life and enjoy the love and happiness waiting for you. Open and honest communication will leave the door open for your children to express their feelings and help you understand yours.
The art of introduction for single moms
When should you introduce someone new to your children? How long is acceptable to wait? These are tough questions for single mothers who are protective of their children.
This doesn’t have to be stressful. My rule of thumb is to wait 2-3 months (or more) before introducing someone new because you want to see how things are and if it’s heading in a long-term relationship route. However, honesty is still the best policy regarding your dating life. If you’re going on a date, don’t be afraid to tell your children. Hiding it can only cause problems in the long run because your children are smart and will easily pick up on the fact that something is different.
It’s important to note that just because you’re going on a date doesn’t mean every person you go out with should meet your children. Your children are a gift. Only introduce them to potential partners you deem worthy of your children’s acquaintance.
The first meeting: Find neutral territory
You’ve been dating someone for 2-3 months now and you’re ready to introduce them to your children, but how should you do it? Avoid introducing your date to your children in the home because this is you and your children’s special environment. Try somewhere neutral, such as a park or at a barbecue. This way, your children don’t feel forced to interact with your date. Rather, it’s their choice and the interaction will feel more relaxed and normal.
Remember, you want to build trust between your children and the person you’ve been seeing. This trust starts outside of the home.
“I’ve told my children… how do I tell my ex?”
Your children know you’re dating. Maybe they’ve even met your new significant other. There’s one thing left to think about - telling your ex. I know, you may be wondering why you have to worry about that. After all, they are your ex for a reason. This is a normal reaction. This isn’t about asking permission or letting your ex know about all that is going on in your life. It’s about not dragging the children in the middle of a complex dynamic between you as you both rebuild your lives.
If your relationship with your ex is amicable, tell them you’ve talked to your children about dating again. It’s important to keep the conversation airways open and honest. You don’t want your ex to bring your children into this conversation by saying things such as, “So who is your mom dating now?” Or, “Oh, she’s dating someone new…”
Transparency and minimizing any miscommunication or misinformation is key. Even if you’re a shy mom dating you don’t want to give your ex the opportunity to espouse their feelings about your dating (especially negative ones) to your children.
Single Mom Dating Tips: Communication is key
So there you have it, my single mom dating tips. You may have noticed one major theme throughout all these tips… communication. Clear, open, and honest communication is the key to making this work.
I know these dating suggestions will help to make the transition a smooth one, and you’ll find the love that is waiting for you.