Best lessons learned in my life | #12: Dating as a single mom

Wow – want a great way to filter out the selfish, lazy, bastards? Single women of the world, have a child, and I swear you will never end up with a deadbeat again.  Ever.

I’m kidding. Not about the deadbeat “filter” part, but about the “have a child to filter out deadbeats” part.  Albeit a great way to make sure that you are dating a good person, managing your love life is never the job of a child.

So, you’re single.  And, you’re a mom.  Crap, how did that happen?  It’s scary.  Starting to date again?  Bah…

I kept telling myself that this wasn’t going to be the same… this whole “dating” thing.  Adding a child to the equation was going to make things very difficult.

And I cannot tell you how many times I had the following conversation:

Jerk: Here’s the thing: you are one rad chick.  But the “kid” thing, it kind of freaks me out.
Me: Ahhh, got it.  No worries.
Jerk: I mean, I would totally want to keep dating you if you didn’t have a kid.
Me: Yeah, I get it.
Jerk: Because without a kid, you’re rad.
Me: Listen, he’s not like an “accessory”, so if you’re trying to convince me to “ditch” the kid, it’s not going to work.
Jerk: I just don’t want kids, you know.
Me: I don’t want you to have kids, either.  Have fun spending your life being that drunk guy at the bar talking to him self.  Goodbye.

Okay, I never said that last part.  But, I always wanted to.  I never really saw the point in hurting their feelings in the same way that they just hurt mine.

I’m sure you’re probably wondering why I would date a guy that could say such things. Well, it was years ago, and I was insecure.  Suddenly raising a child on my own was scary, and the thought of being alone to do that lowered my dating inhibitions. I had not yet grown into my woman hood and was not yet aware that I was the one granting the power to say things like that to me.

And unfortunately, selfish and unaccountable hipsters were my fodder.

I was always heartbroken or feeling like I was being treated like a 19 yr old college girl a guy had a makeout session with.  At times I resented Liam as if it was his fault (somehow).   I felt helpless like I had this part of me that I couldn’t change, and that I needed to change in order to be “dateable”.

Well that was true – but it wasn’t Liam.

One day a friend decided to put me in the “know”.  I learned single mothers intimidate men and the title alone was indicative of the fact that there was experience with men.

Except that it’s not sexual experience that was being referred to – it was psychological experience.  Single mothers are immune to man’s game.

Knowing this, I felt empowered.  After personalizing it, I was shocked.  You mean Liam was just an excuse for not wanting to be accountable in a relationship with me?  You have got to be kidding me.  On the brink of my 30’s, I still had to play games?  Anger!

Me, me, me, me… what a disconnect on my behalf.  Did I even know what I wanted? I mean crap, I’m almost 30 and still dating hipsters.  Was I even being viewed as a single mother? I certainly was not immune to a man’s game.

Eff this, time to pull out.  I swore off dating and did some soul searching instead.  It took a little over a year to learn that it was okay to want to be a mom and have babies and like them.  It was okay to go to bed before 10pm, and wake up to go to work.  It was okay to not have lots of friends in bands.  I’m still cool.  I learned it was okay to save money and pay bills on time, to drive a Subaru, and like going to Chuck-e-Cheese… and everything else that society attaches to the parent stigma.

I was okay with these things.  Somebody else had to be okay with these things.  I have been dating a fantastic man for over a year now.  He’s okay with these things.

Lesson learned: When it comes to dating, it doesn’t matter if you’re a single mom unless you’re okay with your “things”.

Also, there’s a pretty good chance that you won’t end up with a deadbeat as long as you’re honest with yourself.  Don’t blame your kids, and for the love of God  don’t date hipsters.

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