Remember that old adage "it takes half the time you were together to get over a breakup"? I do. I also think it's a pile of horse poo.
Now let me be clear here: I'm in the middle of a divorce and have absolutely no intention of dating for a good long while. I'm enjoying having some time alone, time I can spend rediscovering myself and learning who I am now. After nine years of marriage, I have a lot of rediscovering to do.
But I still don't think it's going to take me five years to date again. Even though I am a single parent.
I know the idea of dating a mom who has three wonderful bouncing babies (although they'd murder me with a pickax if I dared call them "babies" to their faces) can be off-putting to a lot of guys. I get that - kids come with an extra layer of complexity and can be a bit messy. But frankly, I consider anyone who doesn't think my kids are awesome unworthy of my time.
When I do begin to date again, I will make one thing crystal clear: my kids don't need a father. They have a wonderful father, which means that I'm not looking for a male role model for my children. I'm not looking for a "just add water" insta-family, and any man who wants one is better off looking somewhere else.
I've thought a lot about how I'd introduce a new man to my children, and I've come up with a few ground rules.
The kids won't meet anyone I'm seeing until it's actually serious because I have no desire for them to get attached to someone who doesn't plan to stick around.
I'll also not allow my guy to sleep over when I have the kids staying with me, and not just because I have a one-bedroom apartment. The time I have with my children is sacred to me and I don't want any "stranger" or new guy to get in the way of that. Plus, it makes me feel icky just thinking about it.
I'll be sure to explain my situation to a new partner early on in the relationship. I have nothing to hide and nothing to gain from pretending to be someone I'm not, and anyone who is worth my time will appreciate me as I am.
The most important thing I can do as a dating mom is to make sure my children know they're my No. 1 priority. It's what's most vital for me ... and my kids.
How have you handled dating after divorce? Any tips and tricks for a dating mom?
Image via USAG-Humphreys/Flickr