Men who haven't been in the parenting trenches, even if they love kids, just seem to speak a different language, one that doesn't necessarily have a translation for phrases such as,"I can't leave my son with a babysitter tonight because he has the flu."On the other hand, dating a man with kids can be a scheduling nightmare, requiring both of you to synchronize with your exes and their new love interests, and the new love interests' exes, ad infinitum.
Julia Landry, the author of the blog Unexpectedly Expecting, where she chronicles her life as the single mom of a 3-year-old, says she prefers to date dads: "They're less likely to unfairly judge me for being a single mom and they understand that my child will always come first." But Landry doesn't promote a hard-and-fast rule. I was dating a guy for a couple of months when my girls, then 8 and 12, got wind of his existence.
My older daughter was not cool with my even mentioning my boyfriend and announced that she refused to meet him.
Ultimately, about eight months into it, I invited him to join us at a dinner party with some family friends.
Without playdates to supervise, squabbles to moderate, or mac 'n' cheese to make, it's hard to know who you are at first."I had to take a step back and process what had happened in my marriage," says Jennifer Fink, a mom of four from Mayville, Wisconsin.
"I went to a therapist, wrote in my journal, and spent time with my friends and family.
I know people who waited years before deciding to take the plunge and some who threw themselves into it instantly. If there's another parent in the picture and you share custody, you will suddenly have something called free time, which you may remember from your pre-mom days.
There's no right or wrong, but you should date only because you want to, not because anyone else thinks you should or shouldn't. (If you're the solo caregiver, please put down this magazine and make yourself a roster of babysitters because you'll need a break.) I remember finding those first few weekends sans kids heady and horrible at the same time.
There were no obvious candidates for me right off the bat either.Infants and toddlers won't register that this is Mommy's new boyfriend.Older kids' reactions could run the gamut from very threatened to seemingly indifferent.A few rules of thumb for you: Tell the kids about your new guy after you've been dating him for a few months and believe the relationship is likely to continue.There's no reason to put everyone through the meet-up if he's going to be history next week.