, My daughter’s dad and I broke up during my second trimester. At that time, I decided not to date anyone until she turned one. I tried to move on, but the broken version of myself couldn’t exist in a happy, healthy relationship. I learned that you can’t put a timeline on your healing journey. When I tried to jump back into the dating pool, I ended up venting about my ex or accepting behavior from men I would otherwise not tolerate. When my daughter’s dad got married the weekend of her first birthday, I forced myself to date again in competition. I even dated a model previously signed with Ford Models, an elite agency, for a temporary self-esteem boost. Over time, I bounced back and raised my self-love levels. Here are a few lessons I learned and my dating tips for single moms.

A list of dating tip for single moms.Dating Tips For Single Moms

Do the Inner Work

Although I gained a beautiful baby girl, I lost a part of myself along the way. I poured all of my energy into being the best mother I possibly could be, and with what was left, I squeezed out self-pity and bitterness towards my ex. The thing about negative thinking is that it’s only sometimes factual thinking. It’s often just your perception. I had to shift my mindset through meditation, prayer, journaling, and walking. I celebrated the positives and identified and addressed the negatives. It’s so easy to point the blame at others. I had to work hard and take responsibility for what I did wrong (even if I thought it was a small percentage of the problem!) I had to own my piece. Inner work, fueled by God’s grace, resulted in compassion, gratitude, and greater self-love. I once read a Rumi quote: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” To love someone, you must love yourself. Before I returned to the dating world, I had to return to myself. 

Date for Fun

Everyone you meet is NOT your husband! Initially, I wanted a ring on my dates, not just a meal. Of course, I didn’t express this. However, I thought being married would make my problems disappear. Someone could wipe my tears, pay half the bills, and shovel the snow-covered steps in the winter. I didn’t think this way for long since it was a selfish mindset and not a legitimate reason to wed. I soon remembered what dating was meant to be. It was a way to meet interesting people, share memorable experiences, and enjoy the company of a handsome, intelligent man. I replaced the pressure with laughs, flirtatious texts, and good times

Don’t Rush Introductions

Every man you meet shouldn’t meet your children. My daughter only met a handful of people over the years, who I usually introduced as “mommy’s friend.” There was no reason to bring her into the mix or explain the relationship status in detail if it was casual. When I entered a serious relationship, my daughter met and hung out with the person. It wasn’t rushed or forced. We started with short interactions, like going out for ice cream or running errands, and worked our way up to day-long outings. When my daughter was little, I didn’t entertain anyone until she was tucked in and sound asleep. If you’re worried about making introductions and later breaking up with someone, explain that people come into your life for a reason, season, or lifetime. 

Set Boundaries

Your children are your children, not your friends. They can’t be privy to all of your personal information. I don’t tell my daughter every time I go out on a date. I share limited, age-appropriate information. When she noticed that someone regularly called and texted, I explained that I did like this person and if it progressed, she would eventually meet him. I also asked her about her feelings–if she wanted me to date and if she wanted to meet the person and his children. I respected her answers, which fluctuated at times. When she was against it, I explained that I would never rush into marrying or living with someone. I would ultimately make the best decision for both of us. I remind her that I will always have her best interests at heart. Since she spends holidays and school breaks with her father, I actively date during those times.

Be Honest

They say honesty is always the best policy. I follow that rule when dating. Shared my intentions, whether dating for fun or entering a serious relationship. I share my schedule, letting the person know my responsibilities and expectations. For instance, I can’t make day-of plans if I need to get a babysitter. I have a strong support system, but I want to lock in childcare at least three days in advance out of respect for their time. Also, I make sure to share my non-negotiables, which are different from my preferences. I prefer to date men at least 5’10”, but I will make an exception. I prefer to date someone living in the same city, but I have racked up miles to spend quality time with someone I care about. Now, non-negotiables are things that I won’t budget on. For instance, I won’t date someone who is agnostic or atheist. I won’t date someone who is jealous or abusive.

Hey mamas! What lessons have you learned over the years, and what dating tips would you give other single moms?