Author Archives: Hope

4 Challenges of Dating as a Single Parent

Being a single parent can crimp your style when it comes to dating if you let it. But don’t let it.  Here are 4 challenges that single parents face when dating, along with some advice on how to overcome them.  You owe it to yourself to have a life; and possibly a new relationship.  So follow this advice and you just might find yourself enjoying a few nights out on the town with an attractive companion.  And maybe more…

1. Time

One of the biggest obstacles to single parent dating is time. Without a partner to help you transport, feed and nurture your children, you may find yourself in a non-stop hamster’s wheel of activities, responsibilities and obligations.  And if you have small children, childcare may be an issue. They may already spend large amounts of time in daycare.

Giving yourself permission to get out and enjoy yourself is the first step toward having a regular dating life.  Enlist the help of friends, relatives and older children; or trade evening babysitting with another single mother so your youngsters can be around people they are comfortable with.

2. Money

Simply put, dating can be expensive.

There are many activities that can be enjoyed without spending large sums of money. A simple picnic, an early movie, skating, hiking, a drive in the country, dinner at home, or a BBQ in the back yard are all activities that can be arranged very inexpensively.  And you’ll probably have a more enjoyable time.

3. Empathy

Not all dates are going to be thrilled with a date who needs to check on her offspring often or who receives multiple phone calls from demanding children or babysitters. The restrictions on how long you can stay out and how far away you can travel may put a damper on an evening with someone who does not have children of their own.

Instead of leaving this to chance, join organizations such as Parents Without Partners.  This can be an excellent way of engaging in family activities and meeting other people, especially those of the opposite sex, who are in your situation. There are also many online dating sites available which are designed specifically for the single parent.

4. Lack of Self-Confidence

Many single parents put all of their energy into taking care of their children and households. By the time they are ready to jump back into the dating arena, they may be out of touch with trends and popular hot spots. They may not have a wardrobe conducive to dating. Their conversation skills may be limited to entertaining a three-year old during snack time. All of this can add up to a general lack of confidence when it comes to re-entering the dating and relationship scene.

It may not sound like a good solution but practice makes perfect.  Sure, making mistakes doesn’t sound like fun, but if you keep trying and keep a positive mindset you will regain your confidence and dating will get easier.  Be patient with yourself.  The worst thing that you could do is to rush into dating anyway.

Be kind to yourself.  Give the dating process plenty of time.  And enjoy the journey.

Organization Tips for Single Parents

Let’s face it, life is BUSY!  And you’re a single parent so life is BUSIER!  Carving out some leisure/free/fun time for you and your kids takes some planning and organizational skills, but it’s worth it.

Who doesn’t want more free, fun time with their kids!  Let’s see how we can make more of that happen.

Daily Routines are Your Friends

Establish daily routines for your family so that everyone knows what’s expected of them. Routines won’t solve all of your battles, but there’ll be fewer surprises.  Bedtime routines as well as morning routines really help your single parent household run more efficiently.  Don’t forget homework, chores, and meal time rountines.  Get yourself a dry erase board and have your routines in a place where everyone sees them often.  Routines definitely save you time.

A Family Calendar is a Must

Along with your routines board, you need a calendar where everyone can see it.  Keep track of your special events, special school activities, and appointments, etc.  This cuts down on conflicts and lets you (and the kids) keep track of the logistics of who needs to be where at what time.  An up to date calendar will save you even more time.

Motivate your Kids to do their Chores

You’re a single parent.  You need to get household chores done on a daily basis but there’s no way you can do it alone.  You may disagree, but the fastest way to get the chores done (and with no whining) is to offer an incentive.  It could be money but it doesn’t have to be.  You can make the incentive internet access when their chores are done.  Whatever motives your child.  Chores are more likely to get done quickly and properly if there is an incentive attached.

Plan Your Meals

Obviously you’re going to take your kid’s preferences into consideration, but it is a huge TIME and MONEY saver when you plan your meals out weekly.  Planning your weekly meals out saves on trips to the grocery store – you only need to go once.  If you can pre-make meals for the week and freeze them, you save more time.  An added bonus is family fun time together in the kitchen if your kids like to cook with you.

If you follow these tips you will be able to regain some precious time that you and your kids can use for more enjoyable things, like spending some fun leisure time together.