I am listening to/watching: Sade, Cherish the Day
Mood: Loved, Tired, Overwhelmed
Time: 9:23 pm
Dating before children is fun, you can go out as much as you want, on a whim, stay out as late as you want. However, children get tossed into the mix and time vanishes and their safety and happiness takes over. There is a way to date and parent here are a few tips to do just that.
- Decide if you want to just casual date or date to lead to a long term relationship. You’re probably asking what is the difference. If you are casually dating, you are doing this more so for the interaction (friends with benefits would fall into this category). Point is you are not trying to get serious, you’re not trying to change or make too many sacrifices to keep a relationship. If that is the type of relationship you want skip the next tip.
- Find the time. If you want a relationship that could lead to marriage, cohabitation, long term you need to take a good look at where your time is going. Let’s say you go to your families every Saturday would you be willing to give up at least two Saturday’s a month to date? If your children are with their father every other weekend would you give up part of those weekends to date? These are the questions you need to ask, dating for a long term relationship takes time.
- Get older children to babysit during the week. I say during the week because you do not want to take away from your child’s life trying to date. If you get your older children to babysit instead of paying them try a barter system like they get 20 minutes (for every hour they babysit) added on to their curfew up to an hour on a day that you both agree on (like a movie with friends on a Saturday). You are not only getting to date but adding a sense of independence and TRUST at a time that is impactful to your older children.
- Have him over when the children are sleep. This is a plan I do like but ONLY if you have dated a while, you feel safe with him knowing where you live, if your young children sleep through the night, and if you have had a talk with your older children. If you take this path talk with the guy and define the rules, i.e. if your child wakes up and does not go back to sleep he has to leave. Rules like these are for your children, don’t let them get attached to every guy you date it has very negative effects on them.
- If you can afford it do a long distance relationship and give up a weekend a month. I know this sounds crazy but long distance relationship can save so much time if your life is that jam packed full and you cannot find the time to squeeze in dating. This is great if your children are gone every other weekend. You alternate who goes where (i.e. you visit him, then he comes and visits you). If you take this route aim for a long term relationship and try not to do the long distance for more than you have to. This works best if you are planning on moving already or he is (do not move for relationship before you have had the chance to live in the same place with the guy. I will do a post on why next month.).
- Have a standing babysitter. Have an agreement with a babysitter that she/he will watch your child on planned days so you can date on those nights. Try care.com to do this it is a great way to date.
- Drop the mom guilt. We are all guilty of feeling bad when we go out as adults without our children. However, you are human you need interaction even if it is just with friends that does not involve taking care of someone and cleaning something. Your children can see if you are unhappy take some you time so you can be happy.
What do you think of the tips? Have you tried any? What other tips would you give?