The dating game can be tricky when you're a single parent. If you're ready to jump back into the dating scene, check out these tips to help make it a little less nerve-racking and a little more fun.
Scope Out New Places
We know what you are thinking — it's almost impossible meet many singles when you're always at kid-centric places like the playground or the zoo. Ask your friends to put out a few feelers to set you up, or try doing something creative like taking a class or joining a club. You're bound to meet new people who share your interests!
Try Online Dating
Dip your toe in the online dating pool. As cliche as it might seem, it's an easy way for single adults to meet people without hitting the bar scene or going on awkward blind dates set up by friends. Test out a dating website for a month or two, and then take a break for a month or two if you're not into the people you're meeting. But don't give up on it too easily. Nearly four out of five single people in the U.S. have tried online dating $mdash; so it's a go-to way to meet a lot of people.
Ditch the Mom Jeans
Yes, being a parent is your most important role, but that doesn't make mom jeans (or over-sized sweatshirts, or ratty t-shirts) acceptable. Ditch your parenting duds and put on something that will turn heads and lift your self-confidence. Not only will you attract others' attention, you'll also get a nice self-esteem boost, too. (A new hair cut wouldn't hurt, either!)
Find the Time
Time is certainly tight when you have kids, but that is not an excuse to avoid dating. Ask your date to meet for afternoon coffee, or set up a breakfast date once the kids are off to school — anything that fits into your schedule. Just don't constantly remind your date how busy you are — she likely already knows, and doesn't need to feel like you're just squeezing her in.
Just because you are a parent doesn't mean you have to date another parent. If a non-parent asks you out, don't immediately dismiss him because you suspect he's never changed a diaper. Give him a chance, and you might be pleasantly surprised.
Avoid Too Much Baby Talk
Your kids will inevitably come up in conversation, but try to avoid talking about them on a first date. Your date wants to hear about you, and while your kids are a huge part of your life, they don't define you. Focus on other aspects of your life, like hobbies, your job, and other interests, and save the kid talk for the third or fourth date.
Remember to Mention You Have Kids
Talking too much about your kids is a buzz-kill, but don't hide the fact that you have them. It's never a good idea to pretend to be someone you aren't, and your date is bound to be a little turned off when you finally mention it down the road. Being a single parent is nothing to be ashamed of — proudly mention your little ones, and then steer the conversation to other topics.
Decide When to Introduce Your Kids
If you go from casually seeing someone to becoming more serious, it's inevitable that he or she will be introduced to your kids. If your kids are young, try introducing your date as your new "friend" — it will make the situation a little less threatening. Some resistance from your kids is also ok. Just make sure to reassure them that the new friend is not there to replace their mom or dad.
Being nervous about jumping back into the dating game is normal, especially if it's been a while, but it's not an excuse to stay home in your pajamas. Sweaty palms and butterflies aren't a bad thing — they're just signs that you are stepping out of your comfort zone. Have confidence in yourself, and before your date, remind yourself to just relax and have fun. After all, isn't that what dating is supposed to be about?