The Hype...

After several conversations with people about dating, I said the same thing. "There are good men out there looking for good women." "Men aren't hard to figure out." "It doesn't matter if you have children, there are good men that will provide that still would want you."

Did I really believe my own hype?

In the past 3 years, I've dated the older man (10 years older) and the younger man (almost 10 years younger). The general consensus is that both men wanted a wife, visualized me in that role and we mutually genuinely enjoyed each other's company. Problem was, both men thought they were ready. When I called them on it, they weren't ready for the responsibility of a single mother + one.

At my age, mid 30's, most men have had relationships with many different types of women and now trying to settle down with the 'right one'. Thing is, at their age, many of the women have been married-now-divorced mothers and some are single never-been-married mothers. If they didn't realize their choices of single childless women were 'limited', they realize it then. That's why some men reach back into the pool and date the young girls because it's a notion that they're fighting. "I want to get married to a girl with no kids and start a family." Well, there's a lot of ready-made families aka single mothers in this day and age, so good luck with that.

To keep up, you have to have a running start. Jump in there, dive in head first and be that lover, support partner and father figure. As much a man thinks he can handle the responsibility, many just can't hang. That's why the turnover rate for men dating some single mothers is so unstable. Single mother don't want to parade different men around their kids so they elect to stay single. The beginning of mommy martyrdom.

It takes some internal conflicts that come into play with single mothers. Discipline? He didn't sign up to discipline someone else's kid, deal with baby daddy drama. He just wanted a single woman, with minimal baggage that would be his wife. If the relationship progressed, then maybe he'd have kids. There are single women with no kids that have a ridiculous amount of baggage. Mental and emotional issues is one thing. But one of the first things you should know, single mothers don't refer to their kids as baggage. We are a package deal. Take us all or don't even try.

Single mothers guard their hearts because they have to. They're used to the flaky nature that some men that think they're ready to date a single mother and get in over their heads. They also have to protect their kids' little hearts. When we're in relationships, the kids are also 'all in'.

I've heard men actually say, "My ex was a single mother, but she didn't have her kids all of the time." Did that mean that my kid was in the way of you loving me? Am I being penalized for having my child all of the time? Should a single mother should ship her kids off every time you wanted to go out? I agree that couples need alone time to get to know each other on other levels but sometimes it's not as often as he would like. So what do you do? ADJUST.

Maybe it's coffee and lunch dates while the kids are in school. Extra effort and work has to be done to make it work. But it can be done. There are several questions he needs to ask himself when pursuing a single mother...

Perhaps he can ask her schedule. Upon examination, Where's her downtime? That way, you can realistically gauge how would you fit into her life. How are her views on discipline? What does she want from you? If she says she just wants to have her career and be a wife an mother, what part would you play? If you are self-aware and communicate your true feelings and listen to her needs, it's not even a barrier. It flows naturally.

Loving a woman isn't hard. Loving a woman with kids isn't hard. It's like a game of jump rope. Actually double dutch. Don't be intimidated. Just wait for the right time to jump in, go with the rhythm of the game and enjoy. I believe that there are good men out there. I believe that men can be ready for the responsibility of stepfather, it's up to us single mothers to let him transition smoothly.

So, men, don't believe the hype, dating a single mother can be rewarding. And ladies, there are men that will date and treat a single mother with the love and respect she deserves. I strongly believe that.