When I stepped back into the dating game in 2020, I quickly realized how much my priorities had changed. As a 37 year old single Mom, I wasn’t looking for the same things in a partner that I was when I was in my 20’s. I’ve blogged about dating over the last two years and how I was filled with uncertainty when I initially put myself out there again. Two years later, and I am still learning so much about myself and what is truly important to me as an individual and as a Mom. It’s a continuous learning process.
When I first started dating, I had hoped that I would eventually find someone who would just love my children like their own. I didn’t really have specific things that I was looking for when it came to my children. I just wanted love and respect. However, now that I’ve dated someone over the last two years, I am constantly learning so much about what is really important to me in my partner and there are so many little things that make such a difference.
I am truly grateful to have found someone who not only loves my children like his own, but who also does all the little things that I would have never even dreamed of asking someone to do. I’m realizing how amazing these little thoughts and efforts really are and how much my priorities have changed because of this experience.
When you’re a single parent dating again, you aren’t just looking out for your own needs. You have to consider the needs of other people too. For me, that includes 3 daughters. Dating someone with kids can definitely be challenging at times. You have to recognize that priorities are so different. I have come to realize that it takes a very secure, confident person to date someone with kids. Especially someone who has open communication with their ex in their life on almost a daily basis. This is generally a positive for the children, but it definitely means that you have to be confident in yourself and trust your partner.
My partner knows me well and knows that my 3 children are the most important thing in my life. He knows I have a very structured, routine life when I have my children and he has so effortlessly become a part of our family and joined the chaos. He is flexible with my schedule, and realizes that a lot of time with me also means a lot of time with my children. He has taken it upon himself to engage in my children’s activities, sports and interests. He volunteers to do carpool, coach sports teams, and spend 1:1 time with each child. He helps me out with the daily routine. Offering to pick up dinner, helping drive the kids and assisting with packing lunches, making breakfast and fixing things around the house are all gestures that have reduced my stress immensely. These are also gestures that I never asked of him. I’m so full of gratitude and happiness that I found a good-hearted, kind man who shows us on a regular basis how much he cares.
To me, the greatest gift has been the genuine gestures. These are all things that I never asked of in my partner. I never said I wanted them, they just happened. They have been the greatest gifts, but also something that I will always value as a quality that is very important when finding an ideal partner. If someone can jump right into your life and build bonds with your kids and do all the little tasks without being asked to, and also finds joy in those moments, then I think you’ve found someone real special. I now know what is important to me. If you’re unsure what your ideal partner looks like, I suggest writing out a list. Make one, big, long list of all the things you want in your perfect partner. It’s a great exercise.
Dating as a single parent is never easy, but you can make it easier by knowing what you’re looking for and what is truly important to you and your kids.