1. Pay for sitters.
For a date that includes dinner and a movie, the babysitter could be over $60. Don’t expect your date, a single mother, to pay for this. Paying the sitter will make a great impression and possibly even get you another date.
2. Be flexible.
Sitters may cancel at the last minute or not show up. Children may get sick. Any number of things could happen to prevent a single mother from being able to go on a date as planned. Be prepared by having alternative plans and being flexible.
3. Make the well-being of her children a priority.
After a family breakup or loss of a parent, the children may be emotionally hurt and vulnerable. They may feel like they’ve been abandoned. Be careful not to exacerbate these feelings.
4. Be a good role model for her children.
Every time that you’re around her children, even briefly to pick up their mother, they will be watching you. You will have an influence on the lives of young people, so make sure that it’s positive. Here’s a letter written by a 9-year-old boy that shows the importance of being a good role model.
5. Have a good sense of humor.
When dating a single mother, your date attire may get sprayed with a squirt gun or stained with watercolors. Laugh about these things.
6. Do not make a single mother feel pressure to choose between you and her children.
Single moms are usually busy and have little free time. Be understanding if a single mother you’re dating is not able to spend time with you or chooses to spend time with her children.
7. Try to make sure her children do not see you as a competitor for mom’s time.
Since single parents are busy, their children may feel like they don’t get enough parental time and attention. Try not to make them feel like you’re taking the little free time that their mother has from them. Consider occasionally including them in outings. When you bring flowers to their mother, bring them gifts. This will help prevent the children from seeing you as a threat or becoming jealous of the time you spend with their mother.
8. Be trustworthy and dependable for both the person you’re dating and her children.
Single parents have a packed schedule. You may need to plan dates well in advance to allow your date to schedule a sitter and make plans for the chidren. Be reliable and do not cancel, especially on short notice. Don’t play dating games. The children may have had their trust broken in the past or feel like they’ve been let down by adults. If you say that you’ll do something for them or give something to them, make sure that you do it.
9. Be patient and understanding with the children.
Because of past hurts related to a family breakup, they may not accept you immediately. Be patient. Do not get upset if their feelings toward you seem to vacillate.
10. Make special occasions, such as birthdays and Mother’s Day, truly special.
For single mothers, especially those of young children, these special days are often like any other day with many demands on them and no gifts or acknowledgement that they are special. If you’re dating a single mother, go out of your way to make these days special for her. You can help the children make cards and gifts for their mother.