Dear Is This Normal,

I’m a newly single mom to a preschooler, and I am having the hardest time figuring out to tackle this new life. I really want to get back out there, but where do I start?! My life is so different now. I can’t just run out to meet someone for drinks or bar-hop with my girlfriends to meet new people. And really, I’m not sure that I’m even interested in doing that now! I would love to meet someone new, maybe another single parent, but it feels more and more like I have a better chance of meeting a unicorn at this point. Help!!

Newly Single and Ready to Mingle

Dear Newly Single,

Welcome to the club, mama! This is a really strange time, I’m not going to lie. It sounds like you’re ready to get out there, which is the first step. But you’re right—it’s not the same anymore! You’ve got a little person at home, so your priorities and schedule are totally different. Dating isn’t easy, EVER, and it’s especially weird and hard as a single mom. That being said, don’t write off meeting someone new just yet! All you need is a new game plan.

When my marriage ended, I took some time to adjust to this new normal. When I was ready to put myself out there again, I realized that “out there” was not as I remembered! It didn’t help that all my friends were coupled, so it’s not like we could go trawling for guys together. So, I embraced dating in the digital age, and signed up for a few dating apps. When you don’t have a lot of free time or options for meeting new people, dating apps can really help weed out the ones not worth your time.

I’m going to be honest – some of them are really hit and miss, and you will “meet” a lot of creeps. But the great part is, you can just swipe them right out of your life like they never existed. No one has time to go on a bunch of random dates, and in this day and age, most people want to get to know someone before actually meeting them in person. Download a few of the more popular apps, find the best pictures of yourself, and set up some profiles! At the very least, it’s a lot of fun to have a couple of glasses of wine with your friends and check out your matches together.

Sometimes, dating as a single mom hinges on just getting out there and meeting people in similar circumstances! Are there any local groups in your area for single parents? Maybe some playgroups at the park or an organized get-together at Gymboree. I found a few such groups on social media and through word-of-mouth. Takes a lot of the pressure off, since you’re not there to necessarily meet a specific person. Also, this is going to sound strange, but I met some of the coolest single dads at the grocery store! Dated a guy I had a meet-cute with at Trader Joe’s for a while, in fact! It’s kind of annoying to get cute to go to the market, but when you’re dating as a single mom, you take advantage of every situation that presents itself.

When you meet someone new (and you will!), you might feel guilty about spending time exploring your new relationship. I’m here to tell you to JUST SAY NO to single mom guilt. That crap is going to try to sneak in and put the brakes on things. It’s the worst! And it’s unnecessary. As long as your little one is loved and cared for and looked after when you’re not at home, you have nothing to feel guilty about. Not. A. Single. Thing. You’re a mom, yes – but you’re also a woman who is exploring being single for the first time in a long time. If you want to devote some of your time and energy to that, GO FOR IT. You’ll appreciate the break, and new relationships need attention! It’s a balancing act, but there is room in your life for both motherhood and new love.

I wish you all the best on this new adventure, mama! And trust me, it is an ADVENTURE. It’s going to suck at times. And you’re going to delete and download those dating apps probably ten times or more. But you know what? It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s not everyday you get a chance to do it over again, you know? Take this chance and see where it goes.

Not-So-Newly-Single,

Is This Normal 

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