This post is kindly brought to you by eHarmony Australia.
I have quite a few friends who are single mothers, and they are all awesome. I shake in my shoes at the thought of complaining about my life to any of them because I know that a) theirs is infinitely harder on many more levels than mine and b) they will always, always win the ‘I’m so tired’ competition. Hands down.
So Mother’s Day (coming up this Sunday!) when you’re a single mum is probably rather bittersweet, and almost certainly like any other day. It may also be a day when, hiding in the loo for 30 seconds, you ask yourself the big questions: What about me? When do I get something for myself? Will I ever meet anyone who’ll love me and give me a sleep-in once in a while? Will the kids ever let me go to the toilet in peace?
I know many of my single mum mates would love to meet someone, and so would many of the readers on this site, so in the interests of Mother’s Day and doing something for yourself – I’m sharing some dating tips to get you started. (If you’re not out there on the dating scene being awesome already.)
1. If you’re newly single take time to heal… with one caveat: ONLY if you need to. Maybe you’ve mourned the end of your relationship for two years before it actually bites the dust and are ready to date like, yesterday. Or perhaps you find the idea of putting the kids to bed and sitting in an unfamiliar new house quaffing wine and crying exactly what you need to do at this point in time. Maybe the thought of connecting with anyone new just feels insane until you’re feeling stronger. Which is absolutely fine, but…
2. Don’t leave it too long. I had a reader write in once who revealed she’d done the deed with a guy once, gotten pregnant, he’d promptly left her and she got on with the business of raising her kid on her own until whoosh – four years passed and she realized she’d quite like to meet someone, thank you very much, but didn’t know how. Which brings me to the little question of, can you wait too long? I think you can. It’s easy to get way, way too comfortable with single life. You’re busy with the kids, work, friends – heck, your life is FULL. It becomes all too easy to talk yourself out of something you might secretly fear a little, deep down.
3. Get a dating profile. Even if you’re hesitant (or flat out terrified) because when you were last on the dating scene people actually phoned to ask you out, there was no Googling of prospective dates, and the very idea of multiple dating made people gasp out loud in horror. A decent profile is key in any single mum’s dating toolkit, especially when you consider a third of people meet their partner online these days. And that you’re probably too busy dishing up chicken nuggets and making sure In The Night Garden is on the telly at 6.30pm every night to make it down to your local and meet people in person. Online dating makes it a cinch to meet people in your pajamas, after the kids are in bed.
4. Juggle a few partners at once. Like I said above, multiple dating is totes OK these days. It’s accepted, everyone does it, and it’s arguably the most efficient way to meet lots of people and sus out who you really click with. (Especially if you’re time poor and your only night for meeting prospective partners is every second Wednesday when your ex deigns to take the kids to Maccas.) Just keep it light, be upfront that you’re seeing other people – if you are – and have fun. You’re not going to introduce someone to your kids until you’re both really ready anyhow – so take your time getting to know people.
5. Take it offline – fast. I say this simply because it’s SUPER easy to connect with someone over email and start trading long, overly familiar missives, but I believe too much of that can actually be detrimental. When I was online dating I had a bad habit of falling madly for people who could string a sentence together and make me laugh like a hyena. But once we met in person, the zing often just wasn’t there and I stumbled and stuttered having to extricate myself from situations that had become needlessly intimate, too fast, too soon. So don’t do what I did. Your game plan should look like this: a couple of emails, maybe a chat on the phone, then a coffee to see if you click in person and actually like the look of one another. (I don’t care what anyone says; pheromones are a THING).
6. Do clothing swaps. Let me say straight up that there’s nothing shallow about putting your love life on ice because your wardrobe sucks. Mums in general will recognize the almighty cash suckage that comes with having kids and you always just end up spending money on what they need, rather than yourself – right? That said, if you’re not opposed to pre-loved items, you can literally score a cool new wardrobe at a clothing swap – and give yourself a boost of confidence to boot. Google Clothing Exchange or FB swap groups for clothing swaps in your area.
7. Tap into your network. Kids are great icebreakers and as a mum, you’ve probably met a whole range of other parents on your travels. Perhaps many have become good friends. So don’t be shy; let people know you’d love to meet someone new. Never underestimate that someone you know might actually know someone who’d be perfect for you. And finding love is all about having fingers in every pie imaginable.
Are you a single mum getting your feet wet on the dating scene? Any tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you in the comments! And, if you’re interested in taking the plunge, eHarmony is having a Free Trial from 6-10 May. Click here to sign up.