Can we talk about dating for a minute?
I ran across an article not too long ago that discussed women who chose to be single mothers, calling it a lifestyle. I didn’t really know how to feel about it at first. I thought about my daily struggles and frustrations as a single mother, it was mind boggling to me that someone would choose to do this alone.
I won’t lie to you, I’ve joked a time or two about putting out a public service announcement in regards to accepting applications for step fathers. I really just need someone to help me maneuver the kids in and out of the car, pull my trashcan to the curb on those cold winter nights, and do store runs for the little things! Do you know how nerve wrecking it is to run in the Dollar Store for Lysol with two kids? You come out with six toys, a pack of crayons, bad nerves and no Lysol! I digress.
My First Time Dating Since, Ya Know…
I had a brief dating stint with a charismatic fella last summer, the key word being “brief”. After losing almost a decade of my life to one failed relationship, I don’t necessarily prefer to waste anymore time! Can you blame me? It was my first relationship since splitting up with my children’s father. It was fun at first, but then the semester started and ya girl was tired! I won’t go into the yucky details of why we ultimately ended, but it was definitely a learning experience that sparked a need for self-reflection. What was it that made me want out of the relationship almost as soon as it began? Did I sabotage it? Probably.
What I’ve discovered is that I’m just fine being alone with my kids, and that’s okay. I don’t have the desire to make time for yet another person to care for, and I’m not ready to compromise. One could call me selfish, or assume that I have commitment issues; my friends say I’m afraid of love. Maybe I am, maybe I do, and maybe I am, but I’m committed to two little humans and that’s more than some people can say! Also, let’s not act like the fear isn’t legit.
There’s a certain kind of pressure that comes with dating when you have children, a special kind of risk. The pressure to find a man who accepts my package deal and loves US unconditionally. That takes a special kind of man because that’s a completely different type of compromise, for everyone.
Reasons why I’m holding off on dating right now:
My children saw less of me.
I’m their primary caregiver, however, I’m hardly ever with them. We wake up in the morning and I take them to daycare for eight hours. When I pick them up we have about two hours together every night before it’s bedtime. We spend, roughly, 15 hours in each other’s presence Monday through Friday. That’s less than a full day! So, say the weekend arrives and I go on a date. That’s even more time away on the days that are reserved for them! Stay in you say, Netflix and chill. That’s boring! It also often, unintentionally, sends the wrong message. Simply typing this paragraph makes me feel guilty! I’m all they have. I need to be there for them, especially at this age. I’m okay with sacrificing a date with someone I might not even like.
I spent more money on babysitters.
*ratchet claps* I pay all the bills around here, okay? Babysitters add up and good ones are hard to come by. Simple. My little sisters have been my babysitters for the last couple of years. However, they’re getting older and they have social lives to fund. It doesn’t feel right asking them to sacrifice their social lives for free in order for me to have one.
Is it appropriate to ask the man who is interested in you to help finance child care for the date that he asked you on when he knows you have children? Maybe not the first date, but how about the fourth or fifth? Is that asking too much? I really want to know! Questions that need answers! Comment and let me know, for real! I’ve actually had a man offer before, he just wasn’t my cup of tea. Those are usually the ones! Ha! I didn’t even talk about the process of getting the kids to the babysitter! I’m always like an hour late, no matter how early I start preparing. It’s a lot, y’all!
On a normal day, it takes a special kind of energy to get up, argue with toddlers while they get dressed (we aren’t morning people around here), speed to the daycare, speed to work, do my job, fight traffic as I return to the daycare, grab the kids, figure out what’s for dinner, do the kids’ homework, get them in bed, do my homework, write, and find time to sleep. I literally have to remind myself to eat!
On nights that I have class, a few more steps are involved that include running the kids to the babysitter after work (or arranging that someone else picks them up), fighting traffic to make it to campus, sitting in class for three hours, picking the kids up from the babysitter, going home, bathing the kids, and putting them in the bed. And bedtime always comes with a fight. Did I mention I have a social life as well? Who wants to entertain a man after all that?! Let alone figure out if his intentions are pure!
I have tunnel vision.
What does it look like for a single mother to give anything 100 percent, other than her children? I haven’t figured it out! I’m a career minded woman. One might ask, shouldn’t you be family oriented? I’m both! Immediately after mom duties, I work through the night to advance my professional life. I am not that woman who daydreams about her future husband and the family life. I’ll be honest with you though, I used to, and it didn’t really work out in my favor.
Today, I daydream about good schools for my children, paying their college tuition without struggling, trust funds, retirement, working from home, vacations! I’m not willing to slow down on creating a better life for my family for the mere possibility of love. The right man can help you achieve all of that faster with less stress, you say? Is it okay that I don’t feel like searching for the “right” man in a sea of duds? Can I want to achieve that for my children by myself? Is it okay that I don’t desire to share my success with a man because it’s easier? Can I show other women that all hope isn’t lost when a man walks out of their lives? Is that okay? Call me crazy, but I’m on a mission.
Future crazy cat lady? I think not.
Love will pass me by, you say. I don’t believe that, not even the least bit. What God has for me is for me. I believe that with every fiber of my being. When I pray, I say “Lord, if it’s for me, slap me in the face with it.” He hasn’t let me down yet. My face is stinging with love slaps, aka, blessings! I have no doubt that he’ll do that when Mr. Right decides to show his face.
As I spend another Valentine’s Day alone, I’ll sleep peacefully tonight knowing I’m spending my energy building for my family. The right man will come, and I’ll have nothing to do with it. There are some areas of my life (I know, it should be every area) that I don’t touch, I leave them to God. Relationships are one of those areas. They’re so scary! They can either take you on unnecessary detours, or build you up and help you reach your full potential. It seems to be hit or miss these days, but that could just be me. I am a human after all.
TD Jakes said (actually the bible said it), “Let God start it, so He can finish it.” If I start it, then I have to finish it. There’s no telling what kind of mess I’ll get my family into if I make the wrong choice. If things don’t go well, three hearts break versus one. You can’t tell me that that doesn’t sound terrifying! Shoot, we’re still healing from the first heartbreak and dealing with its long term effects. So, dating? I’m going to wait just a little longer. Thankfully, God knows what we need, and His word often reminds us that He provides all of our needs. I choose to believe that today, everyday, and in every area of our lives.
Happy Valentine’s Day Ladies. May we chase checks, degrees, achieve goals, and let God ordain our dating year long! *sings* It’s a jungle out there!