‘How do you date as a single mum?’ This is a question I not only get asked quite a lot, but also hear being discussed in online-single-mum-world. (Side note, online-single-mum-world deserves a much less tragic moniker because it’s actually a great place to hang out.) I’ve been listening to Alright For a Mum Podcast (it’s amazing) and getting stuck in to the Frolo Instagram page, and both have a lot of single parent dating tips and advice.
Which, (at the risk of (as usual) sounding like a cheaply-dressed Carrie Bradshaw rip-off,) kinda got me thinking about what advice I would give to newly single mums about dating. So here it is. The only guide to dating as a single mum you’ll ever need to read.
(I’M KIDDING. This is just my chatting waffle as usual, if you want helpful advice read a book or something. But still, here we go.)
A Single Mum’s Guide to Dating, Part I: DO NOT DATE
This might seem like a slightly counter-intuitive piece of advice, given that you came here for dating advice, but bear with me. If you are a newly-single parent, it can be easy to stare bleakly into the lonely abyss of solo parenting, responsibilities and never-ending to-do lists and panic order a replacement for your lost other half. But avoid the rebound relationship like the plague. There has never been a more important time for you to be on your own.
I have been on my own with Jack for over two years now and it’s only really in the last six months that I’ve been ‘dating’. Not only do you need time to heal (sorry, ‘time to heal’, who am I?) from your previous relationship, you also need to know that whatever happens, you can steer the good ship motherhood (or fatherhood, all welcome here) alone. These be rocky waters, and for the sake of yourself and your child(ren) you need to know that you can keep the homestead afloat.
The chances are you didn’t go into parenthood expecting to be doing the majority of it on your own, but here you are. And there is unbelievable pride and contentment to be found in the daily success of surviving it. Of thriving at it. Focus on mastering this on your own, of getting yourself and your little one(s) back on track before you think about putting yourself ‘back out there’ again.
(I’ll keep putting ‘back out there’ in ‘s’ because if I had a £ for every time someone had told me I should do it, Jack would have a sizeable education fund.)
Set yourself a goal if you want. Six months bossing it as a single mum. One year. Two years. Whatever you feel comfortable with. Do not feel any pressure to get ‘back out there’ and date ever again if you don’t want to. I now believe this to be true of dating in any time or circumstance, but only when you’re happy on your own, and don’t need anything from anyone else, will you have any success.
So, are you ready to stop not dating now? I’ll be back soon* with instalment two of A Single Mum’s Guide to Dating. In which we shall discuss ACTUAL dating. In the meantime, I’d love to hear some of your single parent dating highs and lows. I’m on Instagram @themotheredit.
*I last published a blog over a month ago, so ‘soon’ is a relative term but I’ll do my best.