Does true love exist? Yes. Ask any parent.
Becoming a parent is one of the most amazing events that will ever happen in your life. Life as you know it changes once you hold that tiny bundle of joy in your arms.
Gazing back into those beautiful eyes of your child, you suddenly are flooded with memories of your parents being overprotective and giving you a hard time. It all makes perfect sense now. You understand because you would do literally anything to protect your child from ever feeling any type of pain.
Before you become a parent, you might scoff or blow off these words with a roll of your eyes.
Every single word is true. It is truly love at first sight — the sweetest, purest, most unconditional love you will ever feel.
Life should be perfect and easy sailing from that moment on with baby, mom and dad — one happy family.
Picture perfect, right? Well... sometimes, not so much.
Dating as a single parent is a completely different experience than it was as a single, carefree woman.
As a single mother, my ex and I have a fairly amicable relationship that allows us to co-parent our son effectively, and there is no drama involved with me dating others. However, I now approach relationships and dating with a different mindset than before becoming a mother. Approaching the dating landscape can be a complicated (and scary) thing to do after becoming a single parent.
If you want to date a single parent, it is important to keep these tips in mind:
1. Understand that my child and responsibilities as a mother will always come first.
There are no ifs, ands or buts about this. If you want to have a place in my life, you will always encourage and respect this about me.
2. Please go slow not only with me, but also with my child.
Please do not rush things, whether in regards to our relationship, or in meeting my child quickly. Because my child is my most precious gift, I protect him to the best of my ability. It will take time for you to earn the privilege of meeting him.
3. Trust is a HUGE deal.
If I trust you, please respect and honor that trust, as I will do for you. But more importantly, do not break the trust of my child. I can handle it if need be. He, on the other hand, cannot.
4. Communication, patience and understanding are not only virtues, but also necessities.
Life is busy, and raising a child is a lot of work. Schedules may change, there may be school and sports-related activities that take precedence over a date night in the city. Please work with me, but never hide how you feel. Communication is the key to any healthy relationship.
5. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it. I promise.
While it can take some more maneuvering than dating someone without a child, a happy life with a single parent can certainly be the ending to this story. What you may have mistakenly defined as "baggage" before now just looks like love. You will be a part of something bigger than you ever dreamed of: a happy little family, redefined.
If you're brave enough to date a single parent, you will discover that love exists in places you didn't realize.
After all, the gaze of those sweet eyes is pretty irresistible.
This article was originally published on the author's personal blog.