Tag Archives: divorce and children

Dating a Single Mom: What NOT To Do

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So you’ve got your eye on a hot, single mom? Maybe this is new territory for you? Or, perhaps you’ve dated another single mom, so you think you’ve got this down. I’ve got news for you. There is no one-size-fits all model of woman, mother, or single mom for that matter. Just like you don’t want us to make assumptions about you, don’t make assumptions about any of us. I’ve been a full-time single mother for nearly seven years. I have a 7-year-old and a 14-year-old whose father lives abroad. My boys have only met one man in 7 years, as I’m VERY picky about who comes into their lives. I’ve only dated 3 men, all were friends first. With that said, I do go on dates. Over the years, girlfriends have turned to me for advice. The other day, when I was sharing why I broke off a date because he didn’t confirm for Saturday until Friday at 8 p.m.—while also asking me to drive to him—my newly separated girlfriend laughed and said I had high standards. Well, I’ve learned the hard way. If he was someone who thought I was special and cared about how my life works, he would have confirmed earlier, so I could hire a sitter, and then driven to me. (I will likely be spending more money than he will, at $18/hour for a sitter, and shouldn’t be asked to drive 30 minutes each way to see him.)

I’ve learned that saying no to an inconsiderate man, is saying yes to me, and making room for a thoughtful one to come in. My girlfriend made a good point, however. Some men may not be very aware. Even some divorced dads have little idea about the life of a full-time single mom. My Saturday night date that I cancelled, had kids in college, knew I was a single mom, so I assumed he’d be more considerate. But perhaps his ex-wife had done the lion share of parenting? Who knows. And some men, who have never had children, or who share custody of children with an ex nearby, may be good guys, but could benefit from a road map to win the heart of a single mom. Perhaps you are a good guy, who falls in one of the above categories. If so, this is for you.

If you’ve got your eye on a special single mom, DON’T do any of the following:

  • Assume she is desperate and lonely.
  • Always call her the day of—or the night before—to make a date.
  • Assume, since she looks hot in a bikini on the beach, or might have smiled at you while in said bikini, or while working out at the gym, that it’s OK to knock on her door late at night to surprise her with the gift of becoming friends with benefits.
  • Friend her, hang out with her, find out the schedule of when her ex-husband has the kids, and then wait (sometimes months) to ask her out until the day the kids are off with their dad.
  • Ignore her when she has the kids back, and then suddenly appear again when kiddos are gone. This strategy works! She feels how special she is to you.
  • IF she agrees to go out with you for the first time when kids are with their dad, assume she will have sex with you. Go ahead, tell her you love her. Pressure her too.
    (Just don’t be surprised if she gives you a kiss goodbye and waits to see if your ‘love’ lasts until next week, when she has her kids again.)
  • IF you are the lucky man that she actually starts dating on the rare week her kids are with their father, FREAK OUT the following week. Go radio silent and don’t call or text for weeks after the kids return. Assume she’s planning your marriage and father-and-kid nights for you. (Um, NOT Likely.)
  • But maybe you’re ready for those father-and-son nights? Maybe you already know her and her kids, because you were friends first, and you’re ready? Hmmm…Go ahead and Pressure her to let you hang out with the family the week you start dating. She didn’t really mean what she said about not introducing anyone to the kids right away. Right? Not YOU. YOU are different. Therefore, ignore her wishes and show up during the week with pizza and start rough housing with her kids while she’s at the gym or in the shower. How could you hurt her or them, right? Not YOU. What did she say about her ex-husband being a really great guy…until he suddenly wasn’t? She isn’t really scared about starting a relationship. Aren’t all single moms desperate to re-marry? She’ll be fine. Right? (Wrong. Start listening more and stop projecting and assuming.)
  • Disrespect her time with her children. You like her, right? She’s sexy. She’s smart. She’s funny. She must be a strong and caring mother, too. You’re crazy about her. So text her ALL the time. Seriously, who cares if she told you that during the week between 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. she focusses on her kids. You’re more important, right? She’d rather talk with YOU and ignore her kids and not continue with her routine, of, what was it anyway? Oh yeah, dinner, homework, bath, book, bed. Who cares about all of that anyway? After a few dates, YOU and YOUR NEEDS are more important.
  • Ask her to text nude pics to you. Text her during the week between 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. too, so one of her kids might see your note. That’s HOT.
  • Send her a nude pic, or start sexting. This ALWAYS works—especially during dinnertime, during the school week.
  • Get mad when she doesn’t get back to you right away. Who does she think she is?!
  • Become overly needy, pushy and nagging. She should drop everything, put on a short skirt and heels, hire a sitter, at last notice, and RUSH out to service you! F those kids anyway. Right?! That’s the message you need to send her.
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Hopefully, you can’t relate to any of the above. In my humble opinion, there is a huge misconception about dating single moms. The cool thing about dating a strong, independent single mom, is that most of us aren’t clingy. Most of us have our act together. We are focussed on our kids and our careers. We have likely broken away from a destructive or unhealthy relationship and know what we want. We want love, compassion, kindness, a good listener and some FUN. Yes, we like to have fun too—even if we have to plan it ahead of time. If she thinks you are special, she will make time for you. If you ask her to pop out on a Wed. night to go to a concert, that night, and then disrespect her when she can’t go—she isn’t the gal for you. Go date someone 15 years younger without kids…But remember, younger women without children usually WANT to have kids some day. While the independent single mom wants to get to know you slowly without bringing you into the fold of her children—that younger woman may pressure you for more time, marriage and kids before she’s 30. So figure out what you want. And if you want a single mom, tell her why. Why is SHE special? And not because she looks good in a bikini. Tell her what you see in her. She is so busy taking care of her kids, taking care of their needs and raising their self esteem, (and might have an ex who doesn’t appreciate her), that hearing a kind word will make her love for you grow exponentially. Wait for her to let you in. Let it be on her terms. If she lets you in right away, (which I’ve only done once) that doesn’t mean she wants to marry you. She just feels something amazing, instinctually trusts you and sees good in you—and you are a very lucky man. If she needs a few months before introducing you to the kids or before sleeping with you, remember, she’s been hurt. She needs to trust you. If you win her trust and are kind and considerate, she will love you with so much joy and gratitude you will feel like you’ve won the lottery. The independent single mom usually knows what’s important in life: kindness, laughter, compassion, joy. She doesn’t care if you take her to a fancy restaurant. She isn’t demanding. A kind word, a picnic, a back rub and she’s BEYOND happy. She’ll like you for you. She’s very picky. She’s not looking for an exorbitant bank account. She’s looking for something harder to achieve. She’s looking for a good man. She may even inspire you to be a better man.

So, hang in there.  She’s worth it.

Letting them Go to Embrace the Journey

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My boys are flying to Germany solo tomorrow. From there, they will be met by their dad and then fly to Austria for a week with him and his girlfriend. I flew with them to London this past summer so my oldest wouldn’t have to navigate the airport and any gate changes AND his little brother, who can be demanding, by himself. From London, they flew a short flight to France to see their dad and I did my own vacation. We met back up in London and flew back together. I could tell my oldest was super appreciative. Clearly, their dad lives in Europe. lol. Well, this Valentine’s week, the boys are flying solo. It’ll be an 11 hour flight. There may be a gate change. There may be a little drama with my youngest. And my oldest, the super hero in my life, is in charge, yet again. It’s a lot. My oldest is 14 going on 45. He is my compass. He is more of a man than any man I currently know. His heart is huge, yet his sense of morals and strength of conviction surpasses his heart. He has helped me with his little brother so much over the past 7 years since I’ve been a single mom. I hire sitters. I try not to rely on him too much. And I hate that he’s in charge now. He will make an amazing dad some day. He may tease his little brother at home, but I know he’ll look after his little brother in the airport. He won’t let his little brother go into a boy’s bathroom solo, or wander off. He’ll even try to entertain him on the plane if necessary. For 11 hours. Wow. That’s a lot. And he doesn’t mind. Because that’s how bad he wants to see his dad again.

So, I’ve come to this place of just embracing their journey together. It’s not mine. In the past, I insisted that I fly with them and then I’d go on my own little vacation somewhere. I did this mainly so I could help my oldest. When he was 10, 11, 12, 13, I just felt he was too young to be in charge. Maybe it’s ok now? I was babysitting at 14. So this is just their journey. Besides, I have no desire to fly to Munich in winter and then fly back. Nope. I’m happy to stay here, do yoga, teach yoga, go to the beach and enjoy this insanely beautiful California weather and write. Yup, I need to embrace having a break! I need to trust that all will be ok. That no one will die on the slopes of the Alps. This will be my first Valentine’s week in a loong time not to shower my boys with sweet gifts. My mom used to do this with us, so I like to pass on the tradition. Hand-written cards, silly, inexpensive gifts, maybe a book that says how much I love them…and a lot of chocolate! So, this year, I’ll tuck some of those goodies into their suitcases and remind myself that all is well. All is working out exactly as it is meant to. They need their dad. They need more moments to feel his love.

My tea bag last night said: “Love Your Soul”. How perfect. For me, that means I need to embrace time off and my new-found contentment for who I am. I’ll spend the week with my yogis, writing, and walking on the beach. The European, frigid ski weeks were never my thing anyway. There was always too much meat, cheese, drinking, and this overwhelming feeling like I had to try to fit in, but never could. I don’t ski. I don’t speak French or German. I’d rather be doing yoga or listening to live music. And I hate the cold! My toes and fingers would get so numb it felt dangerous, so I’d hide away in my room reading and dreaming of sunshine. I’m living my sunshine. I’m living it inside an out. My healthy life by the beach, is just fine by me. It suits me. And my boys get the best of both worlds. If I flip my thinking, I can see that what many may think it a horribly sad story, is one that is quite beautiful. Maybe I needed to be hurt so badly, dropped so harshly on my ass 7 years ago, so I could wake up and start living an authentic life. I now wear the hippy clothes I like. I embrace my creative writing, my yoga and wellness, and try to be a human being and not a human doing. (As a friend reminded me yesterday!) I am now a much more centered person and in a way, it’s such a relief. It couldn’t have happened in any other way because I’m such a loyal person. I would have never ventured out on my own. So I’m realizing that I’m on a journey too. A journey to live life on my own terms.

My boys have their own journey and it’s not up to me to control it or thwart it. This Valentine’s week they get to be embraced by their dad who loves them. They get to have some fun on the slopes. They get to eat a lot of bacon and cheese and white bread–food they don’t get with me, lol! They need that. And I get to marinate in the realization that I’m living my life exactly as it is supposed to be lived. And I’m filled with SO much gratitude and joy for the authentic friends who are with me on this journey.

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Mistakes Divorcing Parents Make

Experts say most couples—across all socio-economic, educational and racial backgrounds—tend to make the same mistakes when going through a divorce. These blunders wreak emotional havoc on your children, leaving psychological scars that can take years to heal. This week I interviewed Rebecca E. Eberlin, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, family coach and staff member at the UCLA Family Commons in Los Angeles. Eberlin, who also runs “Navigating Divorce For Children” and other parenting workshops, has identified the top mistakes divorcing parents make and ways to avoid them:

1. Reacting emotionally—instead of rationally—in front of the kids.
Parents often react emotionally because they are in so much pain or when they are in situations that are highly charged,” says Eberlin. (Examples include: slamming doors, yelling, throwing things, slamming down phones, etc.)

What to do?: Take 10 seconds to think before you speak or react—especially when you are responding to a spouse’s verbal attack or offending comment.

2. Holding serious discussions in front of the children. This can even be calm conversations about moving, finances, schooling, dating, etc. Think about the impact of insecurity and fear these conversations may have on your child listening to this.

What to do?: Stop the conversation. Figure out a way to discuss these issues away from the kids. If this means you and your Ex meet at a coffee shop, with a mediator or therapist, or on the phone after the kids are sleep: make a plan to talk away from little ears. (And if one parent refuses to play by the rules and consistently brings up upsetting topics in front of the children, Eberlin says walk away calmly or hang up the phone or skype and send a note later explaining that you need to find a better time to talk.)

3. Focusing 100% of your energy on yourself.

What to do?: Simply shift the focus on the children. Even if only one parent does this, it will help the kids tremendously, says Eberlin. “People become consumed by themselves during a divorce. They lose sight of the fact that children need to be the focus at all times. Kids need to be considered in all decisions such as where they move, how they move, when to bring in another partner, serial dating, even marrying another partner.”

4. Forgetting to help your kids better transition back and forth between homes.

What to do?: Prep your children ahead of time. Every time your child has to transition to or from dad’s or mom’s house, the parent with the child needs to prep him ahead of time. For example, if the child is going to daddy’s house after school on Friday, (after a week or two with mommy) mom needs to remind the child, at the very latest, on Thursday afternoon that daddy is picking her up at school. She should also ask what she would like to pack or bring? “The more dialogue you have about the transition, the more secure the child will be,” advises Eberlin.

5. Bad-mouthing the other parent in front of the children.

What to do?: Hold your tongue. Even if one parent refuses to behave, you can be the example by not engaging in the negativity. “I remind them (divorcing parents) your child is 50% that other person,” Eberlin says. Remember: even young children start internalizing and begin to think they will be just like the father or mother you are saying nasty things about.

Resources: 

Books to Read With your Children:

Books for Parents: