Maternal Me Vs. Sexual Sue: Dating As A Single Mom

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dating as a single mom
What happens when you resist conventional single-mom dating advice?

In the second half of my fourth decade, I became a single mom. For a year, it was more than enough and I threw myself into a world of sippy cups and story times. But one spring day, as the cherry trees blossomed, a longing bloomed in me—I wanted something else, someone else. So I dusted off the Goldfish crumbs and decided to date. It would be very different this time: The last time I'd dated, 19 years before, I took a childlike glee in it, drinking too much beer and staying up until 3 a.m. Of course, then I was a child. This time I had one—and I was a responsible mom. 5 Online Dating Tips for Divorced Moms

Before I went on a date, I needed a few things: a sassy haircut, a cute new outfit and a man. I found the first two in my Brooklyn neighborhood and the third online. Among the pixels and profiles of an Internet dating site, Jeff and I discovered each other, and quickly became close through email and phone calls. When we met for the first time, stealing a few hours between preschool drop-off and pick-up, we knew we had...something. But too soon I had to catch a homeward-bound train to Elizabeth's school. At that point, there was still a wall between the maternal me and the sexual me. But how long could I—a seven-days-a-week, twenty-four-hours-a-day mother—keep the man I was dating out of my "real" life, the one that involved being responsible for a three-foot-high person? A New Dating Site For Single Moms

I'd already pored through a library's worth of parenting books, and the advice was so similar it could be condensed to one word: wait. Single mom friends encouraged the same. So I decided to postpone any introductions until I was sure where my relationship with Jeff was heading—three months seemed reasonable. But then I couldn't get a sitter for our fourth date. That's when I, always a careful and fastidious adult, threw caution to the wind—our relationship was moving at gale force anyway—and decided that introducing Jeff and Elizabeth would be okay. A library's worth of experts silently fumed in my head. Dating Time Traps for Single Parent

The designated night, I nervously gnawed on a fingernail, waiting for the doorbell to ring, convinced I was making a mistake. When it did, Elizabeth raced to the door, flung it open and then hid. Jeff, in a magician-like move, pulled a stuffed rabbit from behind his back. Elizabeth grabbed it and ran into her room, emerging in a Pink tulle skirt. She started dancing to a Tschaikovsky CD and, as she whirled and twirled, I studied Jeff's profile. He was enthralled—and extremely patient—as the dance went on and on.

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