Dating a single mom with 3 kids

Other divorced parents who have a co-parenting relationship can leverage their time without their kids to experience the world again, but I don't have that luxury.

While co-parents can have rules like "any new friend won’t meet the kids for 6 months," I probably can’t realistically pull that off unless I want to pay the babysitter most of my income.

It’s a tough nut to crack and not a perfect picture for anyone, least of all me. And I was blessed to become one for the first time at 27 years old.

By no man, though, I don’t mean there aren’t any men. But it seems there are no men who want me, at the stage I’m in, with my three kids, a house, and a cat, and, most importantly, with no father for my children living nearby to share in the parenting responsibility (my ex-husband lives 8,000 miles away). Even as a little girl, I always dreamed of being a mother.

As if the idea of returning to the world of dating in one’s mid-forties wasn’t daunting enough, having sole custody of one’s child at the same time brings the whole notion to a crashing halt. Nikki was four when her dad left and we moved in with grandma. I got it into my head that, even though I had a built-in babysitter, Nikki would perceive my going out as further abandonment.

It's probably best you move along if either of you wants something long-term. You might have a really fun time with your nephew at Christmas, but this isn't the same as cleaning up vomit at 3 a.m. At least not until you're all functioning as a family unit, which takes time, honesty, and patience, and possibly some therapy. You're at the mercy of custody agreements, parent-teacher conferences, skinned knees, stuffy noses, and — buy her wine for this one — lice. Throw everything you know about Sunday Funday out the window. Handling what life serves is her modus operandi — she's been handling it since before you came along, and she's prepared to handle it if you leave. Pamper her because you admire her Terminator strength to always keep going. Do make her a mixed CD and enjoy watching Netflix together after the kiddos hit the hay. Throw everything you know about scheduling out the window. It's also a real question that single moms actually hear. Planning time for mascara is hard enough; popular culture becomes the Great White Buffalo. Also, she needs me a lot less than she used to, which makes the whole process easier.All in all, kids are pretty resilient and they want you to be happy because when you’re happy, you’re in a better mood and more likely to buy ice cream.

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