So you think you can handle a single mother . . .

Dear Men,

There comes a point in time when you are playing the dating game, and more often than not you meet a beautiful, funny, intelligent woman . . . And you find out she has children. Young children, perhaps. Our society has created this all too common scenario. Where a woman is in a position where she has to be a mother to her children and work a full time job, and be self reliant. And be their father too, sometimes -Either part time or full time – she is trying to be two parents, trying to make two incomes, and not go completely bat shit crazy in the process.

Let me tell you about her.

Before you dismiss her, let me explain her to you.

First, let me make this clear. She could give two fucks about you dismissing her. She may find you attractive, and interesting, and be interested. But at the end of the day, when she’s put in 8 or 10 or 12 hours at work, when she’s been up since 5am and it’s now 9pm and the kids are finally in bed, she is not thinking about you. She is thinking about tomorrow already, and the fresh craziness that awaits her in the morning. She is wishing she could snap her fingers and the house work be caught up so she could get a full 8hrs of sleep. She isn’t thinking, Gosh. I wish that guy would have given me a chance. Trust me. You dismiss her, she dismisses you. Period, point blank. This isn’t the first time someone has dismissed her, has thought of her children as “baggage.” Her exact thought at your dismissal? “Fuck him. His loss.” And she moves on with her crazy life.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s say you do decide to date her. Say you give it a go, maybe it won’t be so bad.

Good for you. But there’s some things you should know about that before you dive in.

First and foremost, she doesn’t need you. She wants you. She appreciates you. But she doesn’t need you. She would be just as happy if she remained alone. I’d even venture to guess that she likes being alone. She is extremely used to being alone, of it only being her and her children, and it’s comfortable. She doesn’t need you to take out the trash or kill a spider or mow the lawn. She does all that her damn self. Further, she can quite likely change a tire or her oil, while keeping an eye on a toddler simultaneously, in the time it takes a pot of water to boil for spaghetti. Trust me, she’s got this and she doesn’t need you. So you can’t get all bent out of shape when she doesn’t ask for your help. 1. She’s not used to anyone being there to help. 2. She doesn’t want to seem weak. 3. She doesn’t want to owe anyone anything. Never will you be able to say to her, “You need me.” Because she doesn’t. And she will prove that to you every single fucking day. And her stubborness will drive you crazy. Take it or leave it, this single mother trait isn’t going anywhere. You better get good at being one step ahead of her if you want to feel like you “take care” of her.

That being said, you’ll never be one step ahead of her. Because she’s probably a mile ahead of you. She has learned to anticipate and plan for every little thing, months in advance. She has one income, so there’s likely a budget. She is one person, so her every hour is accounted for seeing as she’s trying to do 12 people’s jobs. She knows that she is going to change that oil on October 22nd, and it is currently only August 5th. And it’s in the budget, so she can’t afford to pay a mechanic to do it because she has exactly $26.17 that month to pay for it. And she’s already watching for a coupon so maybe it will only cost her $20 and she can splurge on Happy Meals so she can have a break from the stove.

You’ll rarely be one step ahead of her. May as well give that up now.

On that note, don’t count on spontaneity. Remember, her every hour is planned. You may be able to get away with a few days notice for a date night or a mini vacation, she might be able to tweak her schedule to fit you in, but you’re better off giving her ample notice. She wishes she could do things at the drop of a dime, but facts are she has homework to help with and dinner to make and baths and laundry and housecleaning, she would need to find a baby sitter, and be able to pay said baby sitter. . . So on and so forth. If it’s something that does not include the kids, give her some notice, or leave the day and time open and make it her decision. Trust me. She’s more likely to be able to fit it in.

Also. Doing things without the kids. Yeah, that will be few and far between. Just gonna throw that out there.

Men view children as baggage because it limits a woman to what she can spend, when she can spend it. It limits the time she can devote to other humans. But to her, she quite likely views men as baggage as they limit the time and money she can spend on her children. Keep that in mind. You are not in competition with her children, at least you better not be trying to be. You’ll lose, I promise. You’ll lose every time. Children aren’t baggage. A woman and her children are a package, and the sooner you realize and embrace that concept, the better. Her children are her life.

She isn’t looking for a new daddy for her kids, either. At least, the real women aren’t. Her kids have a dad, either present in their lives or not, and she would never dream of replacing him. You are you and he is he. And if he is present, there’s a whole other situation you have to deal with. Their relationship, past and present. They created a child together. Maybe they were in love, married, then divorced. Maybe it was a fling and she ended up pregnant. Maybe they’re friends. Maybe they hate each other. Doesn’t matter. You either are going to have to accept their friendship and that they work together to raise their child, or accept that he irritates her soul. This is her life, her day to day, her struggle. And there’s nothing you can do about any of it. If she’s completely on her own and he’s truly an absent father, she will be even more determined to be both parents to the child(ren). It doesn’t have to make sense to you. It just is, and you can take it. . . Or leave it.

Perhaps I have painted a bleak picture. Perhaps maybe you’re thinking now, why bother? But there’s a bright side.

The bright side is, if you decide to date a single mom (or rather, she decides you are worthy of her time), you are in luck. She’s creative. She’s efficient. You’ll eat good. You’re clothes will barely be off your back before they’re being washed. There isn’t a burden she can’t carry, she has strong shoulders. You’ll have the best nurse when you’re sick. Her children will always come first. But you will be a close second because she is well versed in putting others before herself. You will never do without love and attention, without the physical and emotional comforts in life. If you can embrace structure and deal with her stubborness, that is. She is a loving, strong, intelligent, resourceful woman who in all likelihood will make your life easier. She’s going to look at you funny when she comes out of the laundry room to find you doing dishes. She’s going to tell you she was going to do that next. She’s going to feel like she’s incompetent because you felt it necessary to help. Teamwork will be strange to her. She’s going to feel guilty when and if there comes a time that there are actually two incomes and she can splurge on something for herself. And that’s where you come in. Because someone so used to going it alone may occasionally need to be reminded they matter, too. She may not need you. But you will be important.

There may even come a time when she breaks. When life hands her just a little too much and she becomes overwhelmed. Normally she deals with these feelings alone, after the kids are in bed, or locked behind the bathroom door where she gives herself five minutes with the water running to cry, slaps water on her face and runs back into the figurative gunfire. Because despite how strong and resourceful she is, she has a heart, and sometimes it breaks because she just simply is one person who cannot be everywhere and everyone. If you get to that point with her, if she trusts you enough to let you see her broken, even briefly. . . You pick up that burden from her. She may square her shoulders and deny the need for help. But deep down she is willing to hand over a little responsibility to someone else. To lighten her load, however hard pressed she is to not admit it. And I pray that if that time comes, if you dare take some of her burdens, that you don’t back out. Because now you’re trusted, and losing the trust of a woman such as her is worse than anything you can ever imagine.

Dating a single mother is not easy, it is not for the flighty and spontaneous souls. But you will never be bored, that I can promise. And she will amaze you far more than any woman ever has or ever will, for she holds the weight of the world on her shoulders and smiles while she does it. If you’ve got the balls to stick it out, that is.

Published by: A. Elizardo

Single mother to two amazing boys, sister to an inspiration, and the daughter of two opinionated, sarcastic, fun loving individuals that are no longer physically with us. Music, writing, reading, my family - living and gone - are what keep me going as I put on my rose colored glasses and navigate us through this crazy world.

Categories Inner Strength, Parenting, Random thoughtsTags1 Comment

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