Chances are if you’re like me, you didn’t plan on being a single AF, thirty something year old woman with a four year old. Chances are if you’re like me, dating as a single parent wasn’t on your radar at all. Maybe your “fairytale ending” took an alternate route somewhere along the way and it’s taken some time to heal from the white picket fence portrait you’ve created in your mind. Maybe none of those things are true but you can agree that dating has felt like a task and you don’t know where to start. Honestly, I believe as a black woman, when relationships end that include kids the disappointment runs much deeper. Deeper because being a “single black mom” has held such a negative stigma…Shit, for the longest I felt proud to go on simple outings as a “family” because I felt like I had something to prove to “others”. I wanted them to see us out and about, visiting museums, having picnics and living as a unit. I wanted to be the first in my family to break that stereotype of the black absent father and unwed mother…even at the expense of my own happiness.
It’s taken me some time to reaffirm that it’s not my responsibility to represent all black family’s everywhere and accept that my story isn’t that of a failed family. With that chapter closed and behind me I was more than ready to get out there and explore in all aspects. Are you?
Am I Ready to Date?
For me, I had to assess the damage of my break up and gage if I was actually ready to move on. Yes, I am a single mom but more importantly I am a woman that still deserves happiness, companionship, sex and a happily ever after. Was I over my baby daddy? Almost. Did I need to be? and needed the extra push? Hell MF yes! Once I pushed aside fear of the unknown I downloaded one of those dating apps I kept finding my baby daddy on… while I was pregnant (eye roll). Then I got to swiping to get my feet wet. Keep in mind, swiping can become low key addicting so manage your messages and vet your options via text before actually meeting in person. However, don’t overthink it, these people may not be your forever but it will certainly get you back in the swing of things. Hinge or Bumble over Tinder (all day) and always share your location with a friend before going on a date just in case shit gets weird.
It Takes a Village….or Maybe Just Asking for Help
I highly recommend a healthy co-parenting schedule to make some “me time”. If you don’t have the luxury of the person you went half on a baby with showing up to take on half of their responsibility, find your village or utilize that sitter (even when you’re not at work). You won’t date anyone if you don’t date at all. Gotta get out the house and mingle….to be completely honest now that I’m 3 years post relationship I’m actually thankful to split the time with my ex, I couldn’t imagine being a full time mom of a 4 year old and a man child.
The Law of Attraction
I began reconnecting with myself in every sense of the word. For some that’s masturbation for others it’s working out. Yes, loving on yourself because who can get into you if you’re not into you. As moms, it’s hard to stay motivated in the sex appeal department all the damn time. It’s just another thing to do that falls somewhere between drinking enough water, deep conditioning your hair and minding your business. But the truth is, when I began taking time to do my hair, blend my makeup, and pull out my hoochie gear (optional), I began feeling myself again and indulging in my freedom.
Ain’t No Shame in Your Game
Don’t feel ashamed that you now have a kid…and for those of you that don’t, great! But there’s a lot of us out here that have been made to feel less desirable in the dating scene once we became Mothers because there’s this stereotype that we’re less desirable, less available and less fun because we’re now moms. I know this is true because when I dated pre baby, me not having any kids seemed like a selling point. When I became a mom and started dating again I burdened myself with thoughts that having a child was baggage. Many men casually say things like, “I don’t date women with kids” (even though you will rarely hear women make the same type of discriminatory statements). Fact is ….this simply isn’t true. I had to unlearn those toxic beliefs that I had subconsciously inherited and realize whether you’re dating casually or seeking something more serious it’s important to let people know that you’re a Mother, it’s a huge part of you. In the case that they choose not to deal with you because of it the better you can weed out the weak ones. I honestly feel like when you have a kid(s) you can better filter out people who are on some bullshit…Most people understand that when you have kids you have less time to waste and for the most part will not come in playing games…and just so you know, with a kid you also gain the “grown ass women” appeal…..Look, if you can keep a child alive and well then whomever you are dating knows you have the ability to care for another human and people love that.
Good Boundaries Bad Choices
You are the same women you were before birth but not really. We don’t morph into Betty Crocker and loose our sex appeal and wild streak but, I can admit that I am not the “down for whatever” girl I once was in my mid twenties. Changes have happened, and I have had to grow . Furthermore, I have a little human watching me so my boundaries have changed and whether I’m dating solely for the D or my future husband, I try my best not to ignore the red flags. I have become more intentional with who I allow in my space and who I give my energy to. I am realizing how valuable I am and how valuable my time is and I have zero tolerance with people (friends included) that do not match my energy periodt.
Love on your self Mamas and the journey to dating will come back like it never left you still have the juice, you still fine AF, and you still got it!
Milah & Erica
Listen for more tips & tricks tune into our podcast Good Moms Bad Choices available on podcast platforms.