Should a man date a woman with children if he doesn’t want to marry a woman with children? Over the weekend, my friend–let’s call him Jackson–sent me a text message to ask me what I was doing. I had turned down a dinner date earlier in the afternoon and wasn’t doing much of anything. Since I’m not into texting an entire conversation, I picked up the telephone. Jackson couldn’t understand why I didn’t go out when I didn’t have my daughter. I explained that I was relaxing, enjoying my time watching adult television shows. Jackson mentioned possibly hanging out with a woman who was his perfect marriage match, but who would never be his future fiancée. The deal-breaker? She was a mom.

No matter how sexy, how smart or how fun, she would never receive a ring–at least not from Jackson. I respected his opinion. Heck, I held the same one when I was in my twenties, single with only one mouth to feed–my own! But I didn’t respect his approach. I told him he should not date a woman with kids if he would never marry her. Obviously, there are numerous factors that determine selecting your spouse. And sometimes you have to fish a few ponds before reeling in a winner. Nonetheless, I thought Jackson should put away his pole if he didn’t want to catch a family. We then went back and forth.


Jackson: The hesitation for not wanting to marry a woman with children is the fear of the phrase, ”You’re not my daddy!” Nothing will make me feel as powerless as a six-year-old telling me that. When you have children together, things like that do not come out of their mouths. Besides, I will never be number one in the mom’s life. Kids come first.


Me: Whoever I marry will be my daughter’s stepfather, and she will be taught to respect him and listen to him as he would be a primary caregiver. He would weigh in on how to raise her, including disciplining her. I wouldn’t marry a man who doesn’t love my daughter dearly. We’re a package deal! As far as ranking your loved ones, that doesn’t occur. I have a special bond with my daughter. She comes first, but that doesn’t mean my husband will get leftover love. My heart is big, and there’s room for lots of people. Just like a house, it has many doors and I have copies of the keys to hand out!


Jackson: A bigger factor for hesitating to date a woman with a child is the fact that you are setting yourself up to marry not only the mother of the child but the father too. That man will be around forever. If the parents do not have a good relationship, you’re stuck with that problem forever! I dated a mom before whose baby’s dad and father would argue about who I was and if I was good enough to be around their child. He also told her that he missed her.


Me: There is no need for my daughter’s dad to interact with my future husband beyond cordial exchanges at birthday parties and school plays. Of course, I would love for the two men to get along, but if they don’t like one another, they don’t have to deal with each other. If the father is an uncooperative person, the mother should set boundaries. Communicate via email. Keep the conversations centered on the child. Agree to disagree. Remember, you cannot control what happens under the father’s roof–unless it is harmful of course–or what comes out of the father’s mouth. You are in charge of your own happiness. I’m not cheating with my ex just because we have a child together.


Jackson: When I date a woman without kids, I can call her up and take her out anytime. She can stay at my house without reservations. But dating a woman with a kid is different. When I did look out for her child more than she did. I never asked her to stay the night, and the times she did ask me, I would question if it was a good idea to hire a babysitter just to sleep over. I will say that I noticed women with children were naturally more giving, nurturing, and family-oriented.


Me: I think you’re not focusing on the bigger picture, but that’s OK because you have the choice of marrying who you wish. You also have to accept that your hesitation may leave you single. Moms can be spontaneous through planning ahead…lol. My child spends a lot of time with her father. That’s when I can date, sleepover, have company, etc. if I wish to do so. I have a circle of support and no problem getting a sitter at the last minute. I’m not saying you should date someone with kids. I’m just saying all women with children do not have the same stereotypical situation. And we want to be treated like women! I’m not your mama! I’m not a bad mom, because I need a night away from my child. It’s stressful at times, but motherhood makes me a better person, a better girlfriend and a better (future) wife. I learned how to be selfless. I learned how to sacrifice for the greater good. I learned how to be more appreciative of a good man. I used to take it for granted when someone, say, assembled my furniture, but now that I’ve put cribs, bookshelves, desks and countless toys together, I would be very happy for someone to do it for me. Heck, I would cook a meal for a man carrying my groceries up from the car when it’s raining cats and dogs. I also think a mom must remember that she was a woman first. It’s really fun hanging out at the zoo, but set a bedtime for your little one, and then you can have an adult evening on the couch watching a movie or drinking a bottle of wine. This is exactly why I transitioned my little cuddle bunny out of my bed and into her crib! Jackson, it will work out if you put in the work with the right person. Just think, some women deal with crazy baby mamas when they get married to someone with children. Others deal with crazy mothers-in-law if they marry mamas’ boys.

Closing Arguments

Jackson: There are so many factors that can break a relationship up, such as Facebook, Instagram, exes and miscommunication. That along with a crazy baby daddy, a child who wants their parents to get back together, and the search for a babysitter every time you want to have a Redbox night without interruptions can get stressful. I will date a woman with children knowing I have no plans on marrying her. And, I would date a woman without children knowing I have no plans on marrying her. Why? Because I’m not ready to settle down and get married!

Me: Well, Jackson, you can’t complain to me about not meeting the right woman! We’re in our thirties. Most women my age want to get married one day, so why date someone who doesn’t? And that my darling, has nothing to do with whether or not she has children!

Hey mamas–Do you date men without children? If you marry someone with children, how do you successfully blend your families?


Not long ago, Heather Hopson lived in the Cayman Islands and hosted a television show. Today, she’s back home in Pittsburgh writing a different type of story as the founder of Motor Mouth Multimedia and Single Mom Defined. Utilizing more than a decade of television news reporting experience, Heather assembles teams to tell diverse stories, provide unique perspectives, and increase the visibility of important issues for local and national clients. In 2018, Heather, inspired by her daughter, produced Single Mom Defined, a photo essay and video series that provides a more accurate definition of single Black motherhood than the one society presents.

Heather obtained a BA in Journalism from Michigan State University, where she served as president of the Delta Zeta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

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