Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage
Talk about adding insult to injury.
Over the weekend Brandi Glanville, a cast member on Bravo’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, got dumped in an impersonal way - over her status as a mother. “My boyfriend just broke up with me via email because I said my kids will always be my first priority…,” the star tweeted.
Dating as a single mom definitely has its challenges, but justifying or debating the time you spend with your children should not be one of them, says Kerri Zane, author of It Takes All 5: A Single Mom’s Guide to Finding the REAL One.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Grill a Date on His Attitude Toward Children
“Single moms are strapped for time, so there’s no point in going out with someone that is on the fence about kids,” Zane tells Yahoo Parenting. She says single parents need to weed out men like Glanville’s ex from the beginning. If a guy states he doesn’t want children on his online dating profile, you should take it as a red flag and proceed with caution. Be upfront about your kids schedules and time-consuming homework. Throwing in some basic info about your custody agreement is OK because it will tip him off to your free nights during the week and weekend schedule. “It’s important for him to understand the demands of your home life and that flexibility is key to dating a single mom,” Zane says.
2. Embrace More Flexible Date Nights
While being wined and dined is a nice break from a very hectic reality, don’t be afraid to set a curfew for yourself because babysitters are expensive and you need to be up at the crack of dawn making pancakes. Once you feel comfortable with a guy, invite him over for a date night in. Use your child’s early bedtime to your advantage and cuddle up for a late dinner around the coffee table. If your child is too young to understand what’s going on, “introduce the guy as your friend and then change the subject,” says Zane. If you’re dealing with a tween or teen, let them know ahead of time that your friend is coming over. Ask them if they’d like to meet the guy without sharing details about your feelings for him. Keeping everything in the friend zone in the eyes of your kids is the best way to go at the beginning of a relationship.
3. Make Him Feel Important, Too
You know there’s no competition between your kids and the guy you’re dating— but it’s important to show him you’re not always cramming him into your mommy schedule. Suggest a sexy weekend out of town, giving yourself ample time to arrange child care so you can relax and focus on your relationship while you’re away.
4. Eventually Get the Kids Involved
Zane says once you feel comfortable with the guy, plan a kid-friendly outing. Suggesting a day at the park is a great way to see if he’s really into dating a single mom. “Hanging out with your kids is a big step and indicates he wants to carve out a place for himself in your life, even if it means going to the zoo on the Sunday his favorite football team is playing,” says Zane. “He needs to know you’re a package deal from the beginning.”