How do you date a woman with kids? What do you need to do when dating a single mom? What is your best approach to being successful in dating someone with kids? How is dating a single mom different from dating a woman without children?
Sit back and relax ladies and gents. We have got you covered. As a single mom who was more successful in the dating game post children and separation than she was before, I am going to bare all when it comes to dating a woman with kids.
I have a very special surprise for you at the end of this article. My partner Ben has been successfully dating a single mom for a while now (yes, it is me). As a man with three children of his own, he is also going to give you some of the hottest and most useful tips to help you along the way. He was able to get my attention, build trust and comfort levels, and get me to agree to enter a very happy relationship. We have moved on from dating and are now partners in crime, life, and business. So stick around to the end to get Ben’s advice for dating a woman with kids.
If you are reading this, I am guessing one of a few things has happened:
- You are falling for a woman with kids and want to know how to do the right thing when dating a single mom.
- Interestingly, you have a bit of a thing for single moms and are searching the dating field and trawling the best dating apps to find them.
- You have been dating a woman with kids, it has fallen apart, and you are looking for tips to get her back or get it right the next time.
We are assuming you have the emotional maturity to date a single mom and are reading this article for the right reasons.
Differences Between Dating a Woman With Kids and Dating a Woman Without Kids
I am sure I am not the first to tell you this, but dating a woman with kids is different from dating a woman without kids. There isn’t anything scary about it; the only scary thing is the woman themselves. 😊
Don’t be fearful of the fact that she has kids; this is probably the number one mistake you can make. A woman can sense fear, smell it from a mile away. She is looking for someone to accept her and her children. It doesn’t matter if you make a few mistakes along the way, but being willing to improve and learn is super sexy.
You will have to be patient and considerate when dating a woman with kids. Understand that she will have different priorities, and her children’s needs will take precedence over your own. Plans will sometimes change when kids get sick, or they are invited to a last minute birthday party.
She had responsibilities before you. It doesn’t mean that you need to accept being put on the backburner all of the time, but sometimes it is inevitable.
Be Sure That You Have the Mental Maturity and EQ Required to Date a Single Mom
A woman with kids needs a man who has a high level of self-confidence and esteem. She may have communications with her ex, the father of her children, so you need to be in a position to trust her.
Also, she has little humans that she is trying to raise, show healthy behaviors to, and develop into strong and independent adults. She doesn’t have time to be your mother as well, and she needs someone who can be a good role model for her children.
A woman with children will at times put her kids first, and you need to be okay with this. It is not a sign that she is not interested in you—she is just being a mom and fulfilling her mom duties.
Remember that this is a new relationship. There may be some similarities, but it is not the same person as your ex. If you were hurt before, don’t let it carry over to your current relationship
A Single Mother Doesn’t Need You
I know single moms have been painted to be a wailing mess of hurt who needs to be swept off her feet and rescued. It is not always the case. Even if she thinks it is.
This may hurt your ego and push your levels of worthiness in all the wrong places. But it is true. A single mother has built a routine and has proved that she can survive without a partner.
She doesn’t need you. The funny thing is that you don’t need her either.
Once you’ve come to this realization, you know that you are in a relationship because you choose to be. You make this choice because your partner brings value and makes your day better. This is what a single mom needs.
So make sure you do things to make her day and life better. She plays plenty of games with her children. She does not need to play with you. The games she does want to play with you, however, are neither childish or about emotional push-and-pull.
Baggage is Not an Excuse
She has baggage, so do you.
‘Baggage’ is a word commonly thrown around when talking about single moms. It is not untrue. And this also applies for any other person on the dating market. Everyone comes with baggage, including yourself.
But it isn’t about the ‘baggage’ that they bring to the relationship. It is about the ability to deal with the baggage and how well you support each other and work together. When you come together in a relationship, it is TWO people coming together. You must find a happy common ground, and you must share the want and ability to grow together.
Couples coming together without children and then having children in their relationship will also need to navigate and grow through new ground as dynamics change.
Be open-minded. You may need to look past stereotypes you are used to hearing, and you may just find the happiness you are after.
Let Her Discipline Her Children
Let the single mom you are dating discipline her children. Especially in the beginning.
When the time is right, you will both be able to have a conversation about this. You may find that you have different ideas in this area. You may have to come to terms with the fact that she does it differently to how you would like it done.
Follow Your Gut and Cut Through the Noise
You will probably get plenty of opinions from others about dating a single mom. This will most definitely be the case if you do not have children of your own.
You will hear of other people being screwed over. Also, you will be warned about the huge responsibilities. You may even get a few stories of money hungry gold diggers.
The decision about dating a single mom should come down to your own feelings and intuition. Just with any demographic, there will be some who are not so upstanding or outstanding individuals. Make your judgments based on the individual, not the stereotypes and decrees of others.
Her Ex is Her Ex—Let Her Deal With Her Ex
This situation might be tricky for you and your single mom partner to handle. If the case is a bit (or very) rough or the ex does not approve of you, it can seem stressful. It doesn’t have to be that way at all. Stay out of it and let your girlfriend deal with her ex.
You must also learn strategies to keep your relationship and dealings with an ex separate. If you don’t, it will be a sure-fire way to the destruction of your relationship.
If you and your single mom girlfriend are having trouble dealing with her controlling ex, have a look here for practical strategies to deal with them, and keep your relationship strong.
Her Ex Doesn’t Need to Give You the Tick of Approval
Seriously though, you are in a relationship with her, not her ex. Unless you are a danger to the kids or have detrimental habits, her ex does not need to give you the approval or not.
Some exes are not going to be okay with her being with any new partner because they are angry or controlling, or just big (insert your word of choice here).
At the end of the day, your partner is an adult. She has a mind and life of her own, and it is up to her who she spends it with and who she dates.
She Is Not Just a Mom, Help Her to Be Her
If you talk to any mom in a very raw and honest way, you will find out that most of us have forgotten who we are. We feel like we aren’t seen or we have been so busy being and identifying as a mom that we literally don’t know who we are or what we enjoy anymore.
That fun-loving lady in her 20’s who loved travel, where did she go? And that sexy, sassy, witty woman who could hold a high energy conversation around the dinner table? We are still there. We are more than just moms.
Help your lady find that and have the opportunity to be that. Ask her what she enjoyed before having kids. Ask about the things that she did or wanted to do, and do them with her.
I loved to travel, and my feet were itching to get on a plane and back overseas, so Ben invited my kids and me to go. It doesn’t have to be this extravagant or expensive. But it will show you care about her interests outside of what her day is usually consumed by and that you will support her to enjoy her life beyond mom duties.
Help her to be seen. Most people just see our kids or see us as a mom. Give us an opportunity to hold our own. Introduce us to your friends as your partner and use our name. Talk about our qualities other than those that come with being a mom.
Say Yes to Her Ideas
My 4-year-old daughter came home last week and told me she married her friend Kai. She asked me if that was okay. I asked her about the kind of guy that he is and then explained it very simply.
- Do you listen to each other?
- Do you come up with fun and exciting ideas together?
- Does he say yes to your ideas?
She answered yes to these three questions, and Ben and I gave our blessing on their schoolyard marriage.
How many of you have been in relationships and were knocked down? Or perhaps that person didn’t take the time to understand your drive, passion, or ideas fully?
I guarantee most single moms will feel the same. They feel that their wants or what they were good at were never supported. It is no surprise. It is what people do to each other. As soon as we are in a relationship, we feel that we have to stick to a linear course. We think we need to meet the expectations of our roles as men, women, and parents and not sway from that.
Say yes to her ideas, no matter how crazy or terrifying they are. If she wants to start a business, support her. Also, if she wants to have more time to herself away from her children to work on her emotional intelligence and self-esteem, support her. If she has a childhood friend, is brought down by their negativity, and she wants to step away from that, support her.
You have the potential to change a person’s life trajectory by merely saying yes. I also guarantee that you will become the sexiest man/lady that your single momma has ever met because all of a sudden, she has someone who believes in her.
Throw Out the Social Rule Book and Make Your Own
So apparently, there is this rule book about who you have to be, how long after a break up you are allowed to date, how you are allowed to see yourself as a single mom—you get the picture.
As far as I know, this rule book is a load of turtle dung. When it comes to dating and finding happiness, there is only one rule. And that is you are both happy and add value to each other’s life.
There is also this crazy idea you are not complete unless you are with someone else. You can be whole on your own; you are perfectly okay as a single person. The right person will simply enhance your experience of life.
Ben and I have made our own relationship and family bible. It is not based on anyone other than us, our plans, our values, and what makes us happy. We have done this because we aren’t anyone else other than ourselves, and it was a great exercise to come together about the things we have in common and find a happy in-between on the things we don’t.
I also think it is essential to understand that children’s feelings are very important, and they need to be acknowledged and supported. However, these feelings do not have to dictate your love life. Society would have told me that a new relationship would be dangerous waters for my kid’s feelings and let this dictate me to the point where no one would ever be good enough for my children.
The Brady Bunch is a TV Show—Relationships Require Work
The Brady Bunch is a TV show. It is a scripted visual used for entertainment purposes. It is not reality (and please don’t base your love life on current reality TV… REALITY TV IS ALSO NOT REAL).
Things will not be perfect all the time. Just like any good thing in your life, it usually takes work, a bit of trial and error, and learning from your experiences.
Let me repeat—learning from your experiences.
It takes a bit of change from either person, and it’s not always a big change. As an example, Ben used to be in a pretty volatile relationship, and his automatic reaction to tension and conflict did not work in our situation. He had to change that for us to work.
And then my own example—I had spent a fair whack of time with just my kids and me. This meant that I did not have the habit of considering anyone else in my decisions. It had to make a conscious effort to do that.
If we wanted our relationship to work, we also had to put in the work. We had to recognize challenges would pop up, but those challenges would be opportunities for us to grow together as a couple.
Give It Time
It may take a little time for everyone to adjust, the kids and the adults. This is okay.
With every new road built, cracks appear. You have to iron out the bugs. Give it a chance if it feels right. It may take time for the kids to get to know you and feel comfortable around you. Depending on their age, they may see you as someone getting in the way for a possible reconciliation between their parents.
It may take time for you to get into the swing of things, the routine, the differences between dating women without children.
When you put adults in a room with different personalities, there are sure to be bumps along the way. A part of relationship awareness and management is getting to know each other, how people work, their triggers, and how to navigate the new space.
Ben loves my kids, and he is also fantastic with them. At the same time, my kids love him. But it took time for them to work out where he fits and how.
Show the kids parts of your life, so they get to know you; let them show you theirs. Take them to your favorite spot and let the kids paint your face in makeup.
If this lady is the lady for you, the payoffs will far outweigh the challenges.
Don’t Pressure Her to Introduce You to the Kids
There may be a lot of reasons why a single mom does not want to introduce you to her kids. She may be concerned about how they will take it, she may feel it will cause conflict with her ex, or she may have an agreement with her ex not to introduce any new partners for some time.
Whatever the reason is, it doesn’t matter. Your new lady’s kids are an extension of her. You must not press the issue.
She is the only one who can decide when the time is right. If meeting her kids is for your validation or is an attempt to concrete the seriousness of your relationship, then you have got it all wrong.
I didn’t have a problem with introducing my children to Ben because I wanted to show them dating is normal and not taboo. I had also been talking to him for quite some time and was perfectly comfortable in doing so. Not everyone will do this though, so be prepared to wait for a bit.
Be a Help, Not a Hindrance
At the end of the day, if you are dating a woman with kids, she will want to want to know that you are going to complement their family life and fit in. If you don’t have kids, you may need to think beyond yourself.
If you are fumbling and awkward around children, that’s also fine. It can even be cute. But still, ask her how you can help when you are around the kids.
Use some common sense. If you are visiting and the kids are screaming, do the dishes or help unpack the shopping from the car. Bring a healthy and simple dinner, so she doesn’t have to worry about preparing for herself and the kids. Trust me, a single woman with kids will notice this.
The very first time I met Ben and his kids, my 1-year-old was having trouble settling to sleep. Ben jumped up and offered to help (he didn’t force the fact he was going to help, he simply offered). I was nervous but accepted. I was able to watch how patient he was, and I found it really attractive.
Do Things Without the Kids as Well, Have a Date Night
Even though your new lady has children, you must still do things together without the children. If you are in a newly formed or a longer relationship, experts suggest that you have a childless date night at least once a week.
Date nights have been proven to save relationships and maintain healthy bonds and connections for both partners.
Couples who are committed to engaging in a weekly date night are reportedly more satisfied in their relationship and less likely to predict a breakup.
And let’s be honest. We don’t always want to be around you when our kids are present and vice versa. Everyone needs a break sometimes.
Head here to find out the reasons why date nights are essential. If you are looking for date night ideas, check out our amazing article.
Tips That Are Sure to Impress the Single Mom of Your Dreams
Now, the moment you have all been waiting for. Ben is going to let you all in on some of the dating wins that he used to woo me.
Consider and Involve the Children
You are entering a relationship or trying to attract a single mom. Note the word ‘mom’? This means she has kids that are a part of her life, and it will impress her if you take an interest in them and show that you understand what is involved.
It doesn’t at all have to be hard at the beginning. There are several things you can do.
- Send texts to the kids. If you are dating in this day and age, you are probably sending texts daily. How about sending one designed to entertain or connect with her kids? I used to send photos of insects I had found at work, or funny faces addressed to Abbey’s kids. Abbey found this so crazily attractive, and I was able to build a relationship with the girls even when I wasn’t around.
- Do things that involve her children. Take her where her kids can come, and you can do something together—a walk in the park or a picnic in the playground.
- Be creative. It can sometimes be hard, expensive, and stressful when getting out and about with children. Consider this when you plan. When I first met Abbey and her children, we met at her home. She had set up an art studio, a runway, and a video camera. The kids could entertain themselves, and we got involved with their shenanigans. It was a fantastic way to get to know everyone. It didn’t cost a cent, and we had one of the most memorable evenings of our relationship.
Hanky Panky: Don’t Build Unrealistic Expectations—Be Patient
It isn’t always like the movies. Your hot, single momma isn’t always going to be dressed well and ready to meet you at the door and lead you to the bedroom.
This can be frustrating for us. Especially if there has been lust that usually happens at the start of a relationship, and it has started to dwindle.
There will be times when you wait until the kids are in bed to do something romantic, then you turn around, and she is snoring, mouth open and dribbling on the couch (Sorry, Abbey). Let it go. Put a blanket over her and have a nap too. She won’t forget it.
Utilize the small opportunities. Some kids have naps, and I bet both of you have a shower at your house. But you need to free up those opportunities. Reassure her the house can wait for a bit, or you will help her with the house.
If you want extra points, organize a cleaner. It is about freeing up time.
They Need to Support and Care About You Too
I have dated other single moms apart from Abbey. It isn’t a one-way street.
We have spoken a lot about what you need to do for a single mom, but you also need consideration and support.
Most of what we have shared goes both ways.
Just understand if you do not have kids that it may be harder for her if she has her kids living with her. Be mindful of this.
Her support may not show in the same way, but you also need to feel like you are loved and getting something from the relationship.
Give Advance Notice for Plans
When getting to know your partner, also get to know her plans, routine, and priorities. She possibly has commitments like school runs, feeding times, bedtimes, after school activities and the like that she needs to uphold.
Just like dating any single woman, a single mom will have her priorities, needs, and expectations, and these may be more focused on her children at times.
It is very thoughtful to give her notice when you plan to do anything so she can make arrangements or suggest a time that works best.
Dream, Plan, and Make Goals Together
If you are genuinely into this lady and she is into you, this activity will excite you.
I can almost guarantee this was not a part of her past relationship. But it should definitely be something that you often do if you both want to make it work.
Take time out to make goals together. Dream and talk about the life you want to have, how it will look and feel. If you are in it for the long haul, map out a five-year plan and start working out the actions you need to take to get there.
Abbey’s mentor did this on his first date with the woman he is now married to. Abbey and I did this in our first real date after meeting each other. We worked out pretty quickly that we were on the same page and excited to enter a life together.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking it is coming on too strong. If it is the right person, they will be up for the activity.
It Is Okay to Back the Kids Sometimes
It is not always a bad thing to stick up for the kids on the small stuff.
I got this bit of advice from a close family friend. Her mom was a single parent, and all she ever wished was for her stepdad would side with her sometimes.
Obviously, this depends on the stage of your relationship, and you will have to gauge your partner’s tolerance to this.
Now I have Abbey’s back, don’t get me wrong. But on the things that don’t really matter, you have an opportunity to back the kids as well.
For example, the kids want to ride one of those silly little machines—those with the cars that go around and around and play annoying music. But mom is in a hurry to get to the shops and says no. Stay back while she goes in and let them have a round. Or let mum stay, and you get a head start on the shopping.
Understand She Will Need Time to Herself and Use This as an Opportunity to Show Her Love and Care
Single moms with kids are busy, and more often than not, they are tired. They long to have time for ourselves as well as adult time.
It may not necessarily be with you, but you can help make this happen. Imagine how many gold stars you would get if you sent her to a massage, did the shopping for her, or offered to have the kids so she could go out for coffee or run her errands.
If your dating has progressed to sleepovers, get up in the morning, and be with the kids so she can sleep in. She may want to marry you after this one, so make sure you are in it for the long haul.