Katie K. asked: "I'm a single mom of three young children. Dating is obviously challenging, but feels even more so as a parent. Any tips?"
Rest Your Weary Heart, Katie: If there's one thing single parents don't have enough of, it's time.
Because time on a date is time spent away from your three precious children, countless emails, the 'I'm just going for milk' trip(s) to Target, and let's get real — your bed.
I get it, you're so tired that you don't know if you want love or a solid REM cycle, but the good news is — time is the great equalizer. We all have 24 hours.
For you, my dear, successful dating comes down to creating efficiencies.
Since you're clearly a fan of threes, let's keep the advice as simple as that:
- Plan ahead.
Make sure you have a dependable babysitter on hand — one that won't flake and doesn't mind staying late if the date goes well (kudos for actual babysitting; not just turning on the tube).
Research shows that novelty releases our 'feel good' chemicals and even helps improve our memory. Treat yourself to an evening meeting someone new, somewhere new in order to reap the benefits and put time back on your clock. Hiring a sitter that you trust keeps your mind off of what's going on at home, and in-the-moment (or in your date's dreamy baby blues).
Maternal Instincts offers a variety of services from night nannies to family support; coincidentally they're running a 'win a date night on us' promotion, which is darling! I've also heard great things about the caregiving team from Care.com.
- Play the right role.
You're a mother at home, but a maiden on a date. Wear an outfit that makes you feel like Beyoncé (or whatever exemplar inspires you), be present and positive (i.e. the lost art of being human), and as a rule of thumb — no talking about the past (that includes anything about divorce, custody, or your ex).
- Gridlock guilt.
You already know that being a single parent isn’t for the faint of heart, but you’re doing it anyway. So, whether you're feeling guilty about being away from your children or bringing someone new into your children's lives, understand that you deserve love and — perhaps most important — you will love again. Men dig women with purpose (that goes both ways), and mothers (and fathers) serve the most important purpose in the world.
And then, of course, you can always hire help! Look into using your own personal matchmaker. At Tawkify, many clients come to us with these same challenges. A matchmaker saves you time, lets you focus on your children, your career, and helps restore magic in dating — without all the chaos.
If our particular approach isn't what you're looking for, there are likely plenty of dating agencies in your city to select from.
I'd love to hear from other single parents.
What are your secrets to dating success? How do you create balance while juggling family, work, and the pursuit of romance? Join the conversation below.
Alyssa marries research alongside cultural commentary to deliver insights that are compassionate, irreverent, and perhaps best of all: real. Buckle up and get ready to meet your new wing-woman.