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Saturday, February 13, 2016

How to Date a Single Mom: 7 Things Every Person Should Know

I realize there is now a movement to be more specific about the terms used to describe single motherhood. I am told the term "single mom" is reserved for women "doing it alone" and so I do not "qualify."  Somehow the fact that 7 days out of 7 I put my kid to bed and keep her alive but still receive "help" from her dad 1100 miles away (no shade) means I'm a single woman with a child, but not a single mom. Who has time to say all that? That's too much work. Bish let me call myself a single mom if that's what I wanna call myself. Nobody says anything when you call yourself Tae TooTattedSoBlessed Brown. Can I live?

Anyway. . .

It's been a while since I last blogged. Ya'll missed me? Ya'll see my new short hair? I glow'd up like a mug!
I missed y'all. So I'm gonna try to write more often, but I'm not exactly sure HOW often. I've got A LOT going on. Mostly, I'm launching an online emporium of sorts. A chick has taught herself to sew and I have gotten hella crafty. Yesssss!!! I have sewn dresses for Baby Love (who is almost 2 now! What is THAT?!) and skirts for myself. I'll be making many custom gifts from clothing to purses, to makeup bags, jewelry, blankets, baby bibs and so much more. The dates of the launch have changed so many times I'm just gonna announce the launch when it's already happened. In the mean time (shameless plug) I have an Etsy shop called By KeeKs With Love. The url is www.bykeekswithlove.comCheck it out! Buy something! I'm gonna keep that name, but when I'm ready I'm going to switch to a different platform and brand it in a different way. I'm going to incorporate this blog into it somehow some way. You'll see when it's finished.

**Obligatory Single Mom Post**

Full Disclosure: I'm on a dating fast. That means while I have a few male friends I am not allowing myself to get romantically involved with anyone. Not sure how long it will last, but it will probably be for the entire 2016. That means no dates, no chex, no nothing. It's not my first ride at the dating fast rodeo, but I'm entering this round with a different approach. It's been interesting so far. Some men understand and some think unsolicited dick pics will change my mind. When I roll over and see dick pics on my screen at 5am I feel like Kevin Hart "IT'S A DICK ON THE PHONE!"

Moving on. 

In light of the impending LOVE holiday I chose to write about my favorite subject: LOVE. I know dating for some is a travesty. Hell I get frustrated and send a "You're great, but we can't be friends anymore" text at least once a week. Still, I know some people shy away from dating single moms because of fears and misconceptions. Then again, some people just hate women so there's that. 

If you have a single mom on your radar here are some things to keep in mind: 

1. Figure out what you both want FIRST. 

Don't think every single mom wants to marry you. All of us aren't looking for daddies for our kid(s). All of us don't need a savior. You only want sex? Some of us just want sex too. Not ready for a relationship? Some of us don't have time for a relationship. Some of us don't want the trouble. Be honest and up front about where you are in your journey. Cut the "nice guy" bull and get to the meat of it. Pun! She doesn't have time to play games & you shouldn't be trying to play games anyway.

2. Understand you will not come first. 

You might not come second or third either. Let me say that again: YOU WILL NOT BE A PRIORITY (at first). If she's anything like me there's:
A. God
B. Her
C. Her kid
D. Her Family & Friends
That would mean you would come 5th. I haven't had this issue with other parents, but for non-parents here's the thing: You have to be a grown up and accept that it is up to you to show her you want to be there. If you want to be around for the long run you're going to have to be a mature adult and put in work to get on the all-star team. You don't get to become one of her priorities after 2 or 3 dates. Her time is limited and precious and she doesn't have a lot of it to go around.

3. Be Realistic. 

You cannot ask a single mom at 4:30pm to meet you for drinks at 6pm the same night. She has to make sure she has a sitter and that her kid(s) will be set for bed and ready for the next day. Last minute plans are not the move. Plan ahead or be prepared to be told "no" often.

4. Learn about her relationship with her "baby daddy." 

This can be a touchy subject for some, but it is still an important one. Whether she's been broken up with her co-parent for a few months or a few years it is necessary for you to understand where her and her "baby daddy" stand. You don't have to ask about the details of their breakup right away, but you should know the basics to start: 
Are they divorced/separated?
Is he an active dad? 
Does he live close by? 
Does he come to her home for visits? 
Do they ever sleep over with each other? 
Do they do things together with the child?  
What are her feelings about him? 
What is their custody arrangement? 
What is the state of their relationship? 
Are they one "I want my family back" text away from getting back together? 

As I said, this is a touchy subject so I encourage you to proceed with caution. Don't become obsessed with discussing him. Try to touch on the major things initially and delve deeper as things get more serious. If she is truly ready to date she should be open to discussing this subject with you and she will understand your concern. Be direct with her if you need clarity.

5. Be Involved. 

I don't like this term, but a single mom is a "package deal." When you're dating her you're dating her, but when things get more serious her child will become involved. You may not get to meet her child for a while, but the time will come. You should show genuine interest in the well-being of her child.  Ask questions about how her child is doing and show that you realize it's not just HER.

This leads me to. . . 

6. Don't be PUSHY About Meeting Her Child(ren).  

After a 1st date a guy asked whether I could bring my daughter on our 2nd date. When I declined he became very hostile and defensive asking whether I thought he was a "bad man." He was a "nice" guy. He thought he would sweeten the deal if he offered to buy her lots of toys and to fly us all 1st class to Florida to Disney World. He went so far as to offer to fly Baby Love's dad up here so we could all have dinner together. He just did not understand why IF I liked him I didn't also want him to meet and connect with my child. We were chatting for a month before we both had the chance to go out so he wasn't a complete stranger, but still he was stranger enough. We went on one more date, but his persistent pushy-ness was a huge turnoff. Don't be like that guy. My daughter is very young and I don't want her looking at every man with the "Are You My Daddyyyy?" eyes. Besides, when it comes to my kid I don't trust anyone 100% who ain't me. 

7. Spoil Her. 

Being a single mom is one of the most thankless jobs in the world. We cook, clean, organize and take care of ourselves and our kid(s) day in and day out. We usher them to school each day and go on about our professional lives to make sure we keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. All this while balancing egos and co-parenting to the best of our ability. We rarely hear thank you and often our kids are ungrateful unintentionally. Yes she would love fresh flowers, but does her grass need to be cut (pun, but not really lol)? Can you take the trash out? Can you hire a maid for her? Does something need to fixed around the house? Can you get her car detailed? Can you get her car serviced? Think outside of the box when you want to do something nice for her. Try to make sure your nice gestures are not actually things that will burden her. Nothing is sexier than a man who wants to take some of the weight off of a mom.

BONUS: Listen.  It is not easy doing it all (or mostly) on your own. Sometimes the kid is sick and she doesn't sleep for 3 days. Sometimes she spends 24 hours cleaning up toddler vomit. Sometimes it takes her 4 days to finish laundry. Sometimes she just wants to cry and be vulnerable. Allow her the space to do that. Allow her to talk about how hard it gets and to be honest about her worries and fears. We all fear we're going to make huge mistakes, but we are all doing the best we can do. If you're trying to be part of her life you will have to understand sometimes she just needs an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on.

If you have decided to date a single mom these are just some things to keep in mind. Do you have any you would add? Any experiences you care to share? 

I know these rules won't apply to every person or every parent. If it don't apply, let it fly.

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all! 

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