I can’t say that I have dated much as a single mum. The first time I became a single mum I pretty much lived as a hermit, I met my first boyfriend at work and then about a year after that finished I met Tinman again at a funeral of a mutual friend. This time around I have been a bit more proactive but not by much. I have signed up to a couple of dating sites (I actually signed up to the first one the same night he walked out, in an attempt to reassure myself that there were decent men out there…. I am almost entirely sure that was a mistake!) and have had some interest thrown my way but I have just found that throughout this first year I am just not interested, or rather no-one has had me interested enough to get past the first date.
But what has intrigued me is a pattern that I have noticed. Perhaps the men that I have met are just not used to dating a single mum, or perhaps they don’t think, or perhaps they are just so overcome by my brilliance but they feel they MUST see me as soon as possible (ha ha!) but a fair percentage of them have invited me to have a coffee or go for dinner THAT NIGHT, then get hurt feelings when I have to decline… this is despite knowing that I am a single mum, that I have 3 kids, that I pretty much have 24/7 responsibility for them all. I have no idea what they expect me to do with the munchkins while I go out? Perhaps stick them in my pockets? So far I have had 2 men that I was talking to invite me out in the middle of the night (booty-call anyone), with one going so far as to suggest that “the kids are asleep they will never know you were gone…” yeah…. um, no!!!! Heavens alive what happens if the house catches on fire? Or the far more likely scenario the little guy wakes up. He is 4 and is yet to sleep through the night consistently. He will often wander out to go to the toilet and then wander himself into my room for a cuddle, what if in his wanderings I am not there? But even aside from that, why on earth would he want to date someone who would abandon their children even temporarily for a date? For something that is at best exploratory….
I just don’t understand the thinking, or rather I understand it all too well. There is no skin off their nose, they are not affected if my child wakes in the night and I am not here, they won’t be affected at all. But my children? They would be scared and literally alone. Never ever going to happen.
The thing about dating a single mum is that we can’t just go out at the drop of a hat. We can’t just run out for coffee in the evening, or for dinner. We won’t be inviting you home with us any time soon because the kids are in our home, or staying out later than arranged because we have a babysitter waiting on us.
I am amazed that this isn’t just understood by the men who want to date us. It intrigues me that even after I have made my position clear that I often get pressured to go against what is best for my kids in order to spend time with these men. All I can say is that my kids have been in my life for 10, 6 and 4 years respectively. They are always going to have been in my life longer than you, they are always going to come first. Hell my kids come before me so what makes you think you have a chance. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of things that I am happy to compromise on, but being here for them and keeping them safe isn’t one of them.