Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I'm a Mom and I Date. There, I said it.

I haven't written much about dating on  When I started the blog, I made the decision not to be the kind of site that is interesting only because it is a train wreck.  I am aware that everything online lives forever, and my kids might someday read this. Besides, Only-Train-Wreck-Mama is too long to type.

This is not my chosen theme, but it is hypnotic
image: wikimedia

If you want to see my dirty laundry, you have to come to my basement and navigate the hockey equipment and boxes of old toys to do so.  You have to risk tripping over things and bashing your head in on the low hanging pipes -- only then will I show you the my sorted piles of intimacy.  An unearned photograph will never do.

What I didn't know was that because I don't mention dating here, a lot of people think I haven't been doing it, and I certainly never meant to mislead people.  Besides, some of those train-wreck stories are funny in hindsight, and now that I am past the immediate horror of living through them I can mine them for material.

Who knew this love match wouldn't end well? Image: OddStuffMagazine

However, there is an unspoken bias of married moms against dating.  I have been lucky in that I haven't gotten much judgy mom stuff for being a single mother. I've gotten some, but most people find a way  to hide their discomfort in my presence.  


(Yes, I am finally getting to the point. If you have drifted off into the land of Too Long, Didn't Read,  now is the time to pay attention.)

While I can talk quite openly about parenting and single parenting and monster children that you love and want to kill at the same time with almost every mother I know, once I mention the word "Boyfriend" or "Date" the conversation falls silent.


Oh.  I didn't realize you actually dated. 

You can often see the fellow mom take a step or two back.  Eye contact falls to their shoes. After a few of these awkward conversations I stopped bringing it up.    

Apparently it's OK to leave your husband, but only if you plan to devote every waking moment to your children to compensate for the disaster you have caused.  My divorce record is proof of my inability to make good decisions in many people's eyes. There is no expectation of growth.

Perhaps people would feel better if I were a celibate mother devoted to my children, but I'm not sure it's best for the kids, and I know for sure that it is not best for me. I want my children to go out and live their lives without guilt over Poor Mama home all alone. They don't need the pressure of being my constant companions. I never want them to feel reluctance about going on a sleepover party because Mama might be lonely.

Children develop their views on relationships by watching the grown ups in their lives.  Some parents are good role models, some are bad ones, but children learn from both equally. They learn nothing in a vacuum.  I don't want my children to think all mothers must give up their entire lives when they procreate. 

That's not to say that I have brought many people around my kids over the last six years. Dating as a parent is complicated and children are fragile. It's not something to take lightly, and therefore I think it should be discussed and blogged about.  Besides, some of those stories are kind of funny. And we all like funny, right?


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