"Mom, Will You Ever Get Married...?"
*le sigh* For many a single mother, the question from your child on your marriage prospects can hit you like a ton of bricks.
If you are actively seeking a relationship, this question may not affect you at all. However, if you're like many moms out there---busy, single and NOT looking to mingle (at the moment), the best way to delicately answer the question may be a little elusive.
In my experience--which is on-going, I find that, in order to be able to answer the question for my child AND myself, I have had to address other issues, one by one.
1. Accept the Reality of Procreation Without Relationship Consummation: You had a baby. You are NOT with the father. You are not a nuclear family. It seems pretty basic and um--OBVIOUS but dealing with this reality, alone, trips up more single mothers than bounced child support checks.
2. Journey from Jealousy: It's related to the first reality but it is no less important to deal with. 99% of the time, the father of your child(ren) will move on to another mate. Do not believe the lie that you can get over a man with a man. You have to be okay with being single and fight the temptation to act a fool, because "he's" now attached OR get attached to someone to be "even." Girl, don't compete with him. Stay calm and focus.
3. Balance Your Needs with that of Your Child(ren): Keeping in mind that you are MORE than just "mom" can be challenging. Besides just not having enough time in the day to dedicate to "me time," a single mom has to remember that she was a woman before the kids. There is no need to feel guilty for needing a break. To be a better parent, means you avoid neglecting the other parts of your being...and we haven't even decided to get out there in the dating world, yet!
4. Deciding to Date-Now or Later: I, personally, feel that you have to make a conscious decision to allow yourself to date and be exposed to others in a romantic way. There's no perfect time but you should consider what is best for your child(ren), of course, before embarking on the journey. Partners come and go and you should never sacrifice the well-being of your children for a mate.
If you choose to wait until your children are tweens, teens or even after they are adults, you may need to prepare yourself for questions from family and friends. Many will wonder, if you're lonely and unhappy. Single-hood does not equate to pitiful and lonely. Unfortunately, not everyone around you will believe that.
It is okay to focus on your family before focusing on love. You can only concentrate on some much at one time. As long as you are healthy, physically and mentally, you can take your time. Don't let others rush you to date and marry.
Deciding what is best for you and how you should manage your life as a mom is an ongoing process. Working through these four areas can help you get to a place where you can see what it is you truly want. It can open a dialogue about your marital plans (or lack thereof) with your children, too. It's never an easy conversation but it doesn't have to be a terrible one, either.