Single moms weigh in on the most important things about balancing dating and single parenthood.
Dating's hard enough when you're single -- but what about when you're a single parent?
No doubt having a little one in tow can raise the stakes, but it can also raise a lot of tough questions. How do you know when you're ready? What do you look for in a date? How long before you introduce him or her to your kids?
For answers to these and other burning questions about single-parent dating, Care.com turned to six single moms -- some of whom have already remarried -- for key advice to surviving in today's dating world, and for surviving single parenting in general! Here's what they had to say:
1) Pursue Your Own Happiness
Single mom Honoree Corder (The Successful Single Mom) believes in the power of personal happiness. "A happy parent has happy children," she says, "Being a martyr isn't a great idea, that's playing win-lose, and in that situation, everyone loses."
2) Set Your Own Dating Rules
Because other important people (your kiddos!) are involved when it comes to getting back in the dating game, it can get complicated fast. "You need to plan so you can get a babysitter, and you don't want to get a babysitter all the time. Sometimes men without children just don't understand that," says Nicole McCabe of Good Golly Miss Blondie. "Be up front with whomever you are dating that your priority is your children."
> Find out what Nicole's 3-Month-Dating Rule is (and more)
> Post a date night job to lock down a great babysitter ahead of time!
3) Be Comfortable
When getting back into the dating world, writer D.A. Wolf (Daily Plate of Crazy) suggests, "Try whatever feels comfortable - but always, be safe! You may be curious to explore in a lot of ways, and I say more power to you - it can be very healthy. But don't take chances. It's not just about you - you're responsible for your kids - their safety, their sense of security."
4) Be Honest
Single Mom Seeking blogger Rachel Sarah believes that "Full disclosure about your single motherhood status will help start any potential relationship on the right foot -- and avoid any surprises later. This doesn't mean that you should spend your date talking about your child's honor roll status - but isn't it best to start any relationship with honesty?"
5) Get Back Into Dating on Your Own Terms
Creating Motherhood blogger Dresden Shumaker doesn't know if she'll ever be ready, but she remains optimistic: "It will take me a while to get up the courage to put myself out there. And now I am not just a single entity -- I am a package deal. I come with a family. I imagine it will be terrifying to date and decide who and when to introduce to my son. Or maybe when I meet the right one it won't be terrifying at all."
6) Trust Your Instincts
Cari Wegner (Bubble Gum On My Shoe) believes in trusting your gut, and never settling for less than the best. "As we age, we get scared of never finding 'the one.' I believe that fear convinces women to settle for less than they or their children deserve."