Dating in 2020 is a fucking shitshow and nobody can tell me otherwise. It’s a constant struggle between showing up as your most authentic self and fighting the demons of your childhood trauma, coupled with dealing with someone who you don’t really know but hoping they are halfway decent and won’t murder you. This is a challenge for anyone, but when you have children, the whole thing becomes a lot more complicated and challenging.
My child and I are a super team—it has been us since she was five months old. She and I are growing together and figuring out what it means to be mommy and daughter while breaking vicious cycles one issue at a time.
She has confessed that she wants me to date someone who is nice, maybe nice enough to marry, give her a sibling, and live happily ever after with. I almost always make a funky face because that thought isn’t as appetizing to me as it is to her, and I also think she is looking at it through the unjaded, rose-colored glasses of a girl wishing for the nuclear family many of her friends have. I get that, but the steps it takes to get there are daunting and take time. An enormous amount of time will have to be devoted to me getting to know this man, but another sizable portion of time will be my daughter getting to know him, as well as him getting to know us, our routine, our language, and how we interact with each other.
Now, let us say there is a man who happens to be a great match for me who doesn’t have children of his own but is interested in having one or two, or maybe none at all. How does he fit into our lives? How does he prove he’s worthy of us? He cannot have me without incorporating my child into his life, so he will have to be prepared for some serious sacrifices and to expand his heart to accommodate us. It’s a process that is as fragile as an undetonated bomb, and I believe that in order for a relationship to be truly successful, the man I am with must understand a few things.
1. My child with always be my priority
My child will ALWAYS come first. I am her first line of defense, her safety net, her comfort, her protector, her ally, and her number one cheerleader. I am her nurse, her teacher, her coach, and anything she needs me to be because I chose to be her mom and I take my parenting very seriously. Therefore, she is my number one priority. This means we will have to schedule our time around her schedule. We can have wonderful moments together as long as they are planned and I have childcare for those times.
2. If you’re investing time in my life, you’re investing it into my child’s
You’ll have to be invested in her life as much as I am, because she is talented and I nurture her talents in various enrichment activities that require significant amounts of time. So if you want to be Team J and T, you’ll have to get with the dance, chorus, and instrument schedule because that’s what life is for us. We can also do things together so you guys can build familiarity, trust, and a bridge of understanding so you can have your own functioning healthy relationship.
3. Be honest about your feelings
Be brutally honest about your feelings the moment you are able to articulate them. At any point, if you realize you are suppressing them and not talking about something that’s bothering you, then you have to speak up. Walking away because you are frustrated isn’t a responsible option because WE are invested in YOU, so if you know you are a runner or you shut down and are unable to talk things through and create a plan to work on issues, then don’t bother to engage.
4. We are now a team of three and your RSVPs will have to reflect that
Plus Two. As a part of your life (unless it’s a scheduled adult event), you’ll always have to count both of us. Holidays, BBQs, and parties will always be you plus us because of all the aforementioned reasons. You are now a team of three, baby.
5. Maximize on the time we have together because it is limited
Cherish our time together. Between my work schedule, my kid’s schedule, and your schedule, there will be some very important time made for just the two of us, and it should be spent wisely. Planning ahead will be required, or if there’s scheduled time it could be spontaneous, but we should use that alone time to talk about important things, go on fun dates, and just be present to each other’s company, because alone time will probably be far and few between. Let’s make every moment count towards good memories.
6. Be the person in my life that I can depend on unconditionally
Be my peace. I have a plethora of shit on my plate, and if I chose you, it means you have become a safe space, someone who I trust, honor, love, and want to drop my guard with at all times. I will always do my best to be good to you, be present when we are together, and give you everything you need. I want and NEED the same in return. Be good to my heart, affirm me, and stand by me and you’ll never have to worry about my loyalty or commitment.
7. Treat me like a lady in the streets but turn up the heat in the sheets
Be nasty with me. Yes, I am a momma, but I am not an old maid. Date me, fuck me everywhere, romance me, slap my ass, eat my pussy like it’s the last thing you will ever have to eat, and make sure you always make me feel like I am your woman and not just my kid’s mother. If we are partners, let us also be bedroom partners in the raunchiest ways possible.
8. Make a powerful choice, because it is a HUGE commitment that you shouldn’t make if you know you can’t
Think this all through. The life of a bachelor is much different than life as a family man raising another man’s daughter. Your life will be forever altered in ways you probably can’t predict, and once you’re in, you’ve got to be all in. You can be scared and wonder how you can do it all or even IF you want to do it all. Talk it through with your confidantes, talk to me, talk to yourself, and really strive to be as honest as possible about what you’re about to do. This is a hefty choice and one you shouldn’t make lightly.
Dating is scary, but it becomes a whole other level of terrifying when the hearts and well-being of your children are involved. I have always preferred to date men who are already committed dads because there is an understanding and a lot less to explain. Children’s schedules are insane, and depending on the age of the child, the drama that comes along with raising them is one that psychotherapists get paid the big bucks to sort through. If you happen to fall in love with a single mom, know there are numerous factors to consider, and if you can’t rise to the occasion, then leave her the fuck alone.