Making Time for Love as a Single Parent

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Making Time for Love as a Single Parent

Single parents are pressed for time no question. After homework, colds, soccer practice, career, and taking care of the household, who has time for dating? But don’t despair. Your love life doesn’t have to be consigned to the junk bins of time. In fact, there are plenty of single parents who squeeze in time for a vibrant love life. Want to know how they do it? Follow these steps to find out how others like yourself are making time for love as a single parent.

If you can’t get a sitter or find some time to go out and meet people, use your computer. Sign up for an online dating site, or even a few dating sites. Make some time to go through them each day. Respond to something, chat, flirt, or even send someone a message. Do it at night instead of falling asleep in front of the TV or in the morning before everyone else gets up. Reach out to your social network. Invite friends and family to set you up. Send an email and ask them to ask friends of friends who is single and who they can set you up with. It isn’t desperate, it’s inventive. You may soon have more dates than you can shake a pogo stick at. When it’s time to go out on a date, get one of your single friends to watch the kids. You can watch their kids when it’s time for them to go out. Pick lunch dates or meet for coffee if that’s more convenient. Find the times when you aren’t playing parent and make those date times.

If your kids are old enough to be home alone, let them. But keep them busy. Get DVDs, crafts, and other things to keep them occupied while you’re out of the house. When you go to functions, talk to other people, mingle. See if there are other single parents. You should have plenty to talk about, whether it’s a child’s soccer game or the science fair. Why not chat people up and if they are interested and you are too, see if you can meet sometime later. Actually, see if there are events in your town or city for single parents to meet. It’s much easier to date a single parent, there are plenty in every area including yours, and you will have a common subject to talk about and break the ice over.

Try seeing if there are any Meetup or Eventbrite groups or events in your area. Check with the local singles bar, singles event planning companies, the civic center in your town or city, or your house of worship if you are religious. Sometimes certain radio or entertainment venues have singles events, perhaps check into these as well. Check out Parents without Partners and see if they have a chapter or organize events near you. Their website is parentswithoutpartners.org. They have guest speakers, workshops, study groups and social activities. Just because you are a single parent doesn’t mean you can’t find love. It just means you have to be flexible and use your time wisely. For more advice read, Dating and the Single Parent by Ron L. Deal.

When Dating a Single Mom, Look at it from the Kid’s Point of View

WORKING-MOM

When Dating a Single Mom, Look at it from the Kid’s Point of View

There are lots of things to consider when dating a single mom. If you are a person who needs considerable time or attention from the person you are dating, she may not be for you. She has other considerations single women without children do not have. If you want to have kids of your own someday that may or may not be an issue. You have to consider what her ex is like, how he will view you and what that does to the relationship, and whether her children like you or not.

There are lots of advantages to dating a single mom. More than likely she’s kind, considerate, she probably isn’t dating a whole bunch of other guys as well as you, she’s responsible, hopefully warm, and conscientious. These are all good qualities to be sure. So if you decide to date her you need to look at things from her perspective considering that she’s a mom. But you can’t forget one other additional measure. When dating a single mom, look at it from the kid’s point of view, too. Treat this child’s mom with extra consideration. Keep the child’s best interests and opinions at heart. This isn’t so much a concern for women with infants or toddlers. But with older children it’s very important. You have a mom, consider how you would want your mom to be treated by the man she’s dating and act accordingly.

Remember that her child comes first, and should. Don’t ever get between her and her child or make her choose between the two of you. That is a completely unfair choice and no one should be put in that position. Support her in her efforts rather than hinder her. Don’t try to be the child’s father. The relationship with the father could be simple or complicated. He may not even be around at all. Whatever the situation work to build your own rapport and relationship with the child or children if and when it becomes appropriate to do so.

Don’t force your way into meeting her kids. Instead, let her take the lead. When she’s comfortable go ahead and do so. Take an interest in what they are interested in. Find commonalities. If you and the child both like sports watch a game together, or take them all to a local high school or college game. Don’t try to win their love however. Spending time, being sincere, caring about them and giving your energy, patience and enthusiasm will win them over way before any big ticket purchases, and the former will last far longer and build a stronger bond. Realize that the mom is the world to these kids and treat her accordingly. She may be busy. But she deserves happiness just as much as you do, maybe even more because of the great responsibilities she has to juggle. For more advice read, It Takes Balls: Dating Single Moms and Other Confessions from an Unprepared Single Dad by Josh Wolf.

How to be Healthy throughout a Divorce

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How to be Healthy throughout a Divorce

It’s estimated that 40-50% of marriages end in divorce today. Though many are civil, they are all uncomfortable, draining and even painful. Then there are the problems of moving, adapting to a new financial situation, transitioning to being single again, and, for many, single parenthood. Helping children to get used to a new lifestyle is tumultuous as well. Depression, loneliness, misplaced anger, insecurity and anxiety can envelope you at this time. Lots of people let themselves go when they are going through a divorce, and wallow in these negative emotions. A recent Gallup poll found that those who are divorced scored lower on well-being measures including physical and emotional well-being. Keeping yourself healthy throughout a divorce and afterward can feel very challenging. This is especially true for women. Even after a divorce women have a higher risk of suffering from depression, making it crucial to know how to cope with negative emotions in a positive way. So how do you stay healthy throughout a divorce and in its aftermath? First, don’t wallow in isolation. Lots of people feel that they want to be alone. But then they spend too much time alone and this isolation begins to wear on them, or exacerbate their problems. Sometimes it has to do with pride. But there is no shame in reaching out for help and support. It takes a really strong person to do so actually.

Reach out to friends, family, mentors and other people who are close to you during this period. They will be there for you with open arms, advice, and comfort. Sometimes we just need someone to listen and validate how we are feeling. Let them know what form the comfort should take and they will be more than happy to oblige. It can also be beneficial to reach out to divorce support groups in your area. DivorceCare is one such group, but there are many others. When you get divorced it seems that so many priorities get in the way that your needs settle way down at the bottom of the list and hardly ever get addressed. Getting enough sleep should be a priority however. Preparing and eating healthy meals, getting enough exercise and making sure your emotional needs are met should also be on the docket and not at the bottom of the list, but near the top. You, your children, your coworkers and your family and friends are counting on you to be the best you you can be. They can’t make it without you. You are an essential part of their lives. But don’t just do it for them, do it for yourself. The healthier the lifestyle you commit to, especially during a divorce, the better off you will be and feel in the long run. Lastly, don’t perpetuate the feeling bad cycle. Everyone needs a chance to mourn. But if you are going to be sullen all the time people at first will be sympathetic, but if too much time has passed they will begin to put space between you and them. Find the positives in your life. Look for moments of joy. Laugh. Be lighthearted and find the positives in situations. Choose to be happy. It won’t be easy but it will be right. For more help with divorce recovery read, The Grief Recovery Handbook: The Action Program for Moving beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses including Health, Career, and Faith by John W. James and Russell Friedman.

Dating as a Single Dad

singledad

Dating as a Single Dad

Fatherhood isn’t easy, especially when you are a single dad. Most guys know all the general dating tips for men. But when you are a single dad you have to keep the kids in mind. Schedules can be crazy, especially if you have joint custody. Many dads also wonder how to balance the interests of their children, and avoid freaking them out while still enjoying a healthy love life. Of course everyone deserves the right to date and find someone and there are ways to do it while still being a spectacular dad. Here are some ways and things to do, and things to keep in mind while dating as a single dad. Remember that you don’t have to rush into the dating scene. Instead, take small steps and get acclimated to it, particularly if you’ve been out of the game awhile and aren’t feeling so confident. Widowers often have the most difficult time knowing when the right time to get back out there is. In this situation but also after a divorce everyone seems to have advice for when the particular right time to get back out there is. But really it’s all up to you, how you feel and when you feel comfortable making that step. Some divorced dads feel dating guilt because the time with their children is so limited. One good indicator if you are ready to date or not is whether or not you want to badmouth your ex-wife, or talk about your previous relationship all night instead of focusing on yourself and your date.

Have a conversation with your children about it if you are ready to date again. Address any issues. Some children secretly harbor the feeling that perhaps their parents will get back together. Often a dad or mom getting back into the dating scene makes it difficult for them as it deflates their fantasy. Have a long talk about it. Let them know that they are your number one priority and they will always have the biggest piece of your heart. That said, as much as spending time with family and friends is fulfilling, you desire friends you can go out to dinner with, go see a show with or go to the movies with. Of course consider the age of the children and tailor your message so that they understand it completely. Make sure you select the proper person or people to date. Let them know upfront that you are a dad and that your children automatically come first. Ask Mr. Dad columnist Armin Brott says, “You never know when there will be an emergency, when you’ll have to leave a date or cancel—and that might make her jealous.” Oftentimes, single dads want to date someone with kids. But single moms aren’t necessarily looking for a man with children. Though you may think a single mom would be more understanding, supportive and perhaps better with the children, a childless woman may be great with the kids as her attention will be solely focused on them, and you rather than her own.

You don’t have to tell your children every detail about the person you are dating. Don’t tell them too much.  Ask the children if they’d like to meet them. If they say no, respect their decision but let them know that if you two are getting serious it would probably be a good idea. They should be open to that. Don’t introduce the children to a series of people you are dating or one right after another. It will make them jaded about dating in their own life and may hurt their future relationships. Don’t leave the kids with a sitter or drop them off at your parents to go on a date. It sends the message that the date is more important than the children. You don’t want the kids feeling that way. Be careful what you share with your children. Don’t tell them the details of your dating life even if they are teens. Wait until you are serious about someone special before introducing them. Don’t have a sleep over with the children around unless you and your date are serious. Take a look and see if your ex-spouse is dating. If she isn’t watch out as former spouses try and discredit new lovers in front of the children. This puts the kids in an awful position. They have their loyalties split between mom and dad. Further, they may not want to bond with your new girlfriend or fiancée for fear that they are betraying their mother. Talk to your former spouse about it if this happens. When it’s time to meet someone you are serious about make it a relaxed meeting in a quiet and comfortable place. Never assume your kids don’t get it. Even young children get when dad is dating again. Be honest with them and they’ll be understanding, and will in the end want you to be happy. For more, read Dating for Dads by Ellie Slott Fisher.

Single Moms are Just as Happy as Married Ones

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Single Moms are Just as Happy as Married Ones

One thing’s for sure, it isn’t easy being a single mom. There are specific financial, time related and psychological challenges. But a new study focusing on single moms in Poland found that they are just as happy as married ones. The research appeared in the most recent issue of the Journal of Happiness. Researchers conducted in-depth one-on-one interviews with single Polish moms to gain a thorough understanding of their happiness level. Poland was selected as it “has the worst system of public childcare provision in the EU.” Furthermore it’s not easy socially in the country to be a single mom as, “bearing a child out of wedlock is not socially accepted, and lone parenthood is not institutionally supported.” This makes it a good place to study the happiness of single moms as it rules out governmental or other programs. Furthermore, besides interviews researchers also used data from Social Diagnosis which is a study in the country that is still going on. Information on 7,633 mothers was culled from this study, 538 who never married, 6,594 who had married and 501 who were once married and now were either widowed or divorced.

Though single mothers have it hard in Poland, after studying the data collected from these two sources in depth, researchers concluded that single moms were just as happy as their married counterparts. The researchers wrote of the results, “Our findings illustrate that children are a focal point in an unmarried woman’s life, and that many important life decisions are made more responsibly for the sake of the child. Motherhood empowers single mothers, increases their sense of responsibility, and allows them to escape pathological environments.” In one interview, a mother discussed escaping an abusive husband. She said of him, “The man I used to be with, he had problems with alcohol and drugs. It was the reason why I left him. I didn’t think only about myself—but about the child, too. I had to start thinking… I had been hesitating before, I had wanted to leave him, but you know… love is blind. And it could be said that [my daughter] simply pushed me to do it.” Single moms did find raising a child alone to be stressful and tiring. But their children gave them energy and so much joy. Many explained that their children were their motivation for life. As one single mom utilized in the study said, “A child’s love compensates for everything.” If you are a single mom and need help finding your happiness or just managing the situation, read The Complete Single Mother: Reassuring Answers to Your Most Challenging Concerns by Andrea Engber and Leah Klungness.