It’s no secret that single parenting is hard. Any parenting is hard. But single parents need some loving too, and it can get extra tricky navigating the dating world when you have kiddies at home, let alone finding the time, or energy to date. You want to make the most of your time with the kids, and your new boo, but when is it right for them to intersect? Here are a few things to consider:
1. How well do you know your new boo?
Obviously the first date is not the right time, but when is? Have you had ‘the talk’? Has Bae expressed interest in meeting the kids? Or in being a parent? You certainly don’t want to scare him/her away too soon, but you also don’t want to expose your kids to someone who might be a bad influence, or just has no interest in taking on new responsibilities. Make sure your recon is on point, before you waste everyone’s time.
2. What example are you setting?
You don’t want your kids seeing you date half of the city, but you also want them to see you happy, loving your life, and getting the attention and affection you deserve. Not every suitor is worthy of meeting the kids. Set reasonable limits. For example, once you have passed the 60 day mark, and you’re sure this one is gonna stick around for a while, then you can start planning introductions. The kids will be more supportive if they see you are being cautious, and Bae will also be better prepared.
Kids can be very susceptible to getting hurt. The same way you are vulnerable to falling for someone, so are they, and you certainly don’t want them getting attached to anyone who isn’t in it for the long haul. They are already disappointed that things didn’t work out with their other parent, the last thing you want to do is put salt in the wound. So tread light until you’re sure it’s right.
4. Kids can’t keep secrets.
Nor should they have to. Remember, anything you do or say in front of the kids, can and will be used against you with their other parent. So unless you want an angry call from your baby daddy (or baby momma), make sure you are ready to co-sign your new squeeze, before you venture down the path of scrutiny and judgement. How close are they to the other parent? Some parents might not be in the picture, but if they are, they likely have a heavy influence on the kids and their opinions.
5. Kids are protective.
As they should be… you are their life line. They want you to be happy, but more than anything, they want you to be in good hands. If you screw up the first impression, you might never bounce back… and if forced to choose between Bae and the kids, well, there’s no contest. So make sure you come correct. Kids love to ask questions, so think of this as a job interview, and be prepared for anything. While some info might not be PG, generally, honesty is the best policy. The more you include them in your personal life, the more receptive they will be to welcoming change.