I made sure we filled up some cups last night before the Cinco De Mango Five Dollar Fill-Ups promotion ended.
Don’t you just love this time of year? I always have.
Of course my love of springtime might have something to do with my birthday next week but even beyond that, I just love this season.
Whenever I am asked what time in my life I found to be the best, I often think back to when I turned twenty-two.
Just graduated college, staring at a bright future, beginning that first real job, getting engaged and planning a wedding.
Such a wonderful time in life that I get so excited to read so many of you posting about your graduations, post-college lives and even some wedding planning!
Of course having my son is the best thing ever to happen to me (he’s my partner in overflowing Red Mango cups and dropping toppings everywhere you know) but the innocence and promise of the happy future and what lies ahead when you are twenty-two is just a magical feeling.
Life for me over the last bunch of years has been very different from it was back in my early twenties which I certainly didn’t foresee in my picket fence encased crystal ball.
I still feel so youthful (which may have something do with still wearing my jeans shorts which may not qualify as mom shorts) yet when I reflect on all I have been through, I am tired like an old lady.
Getting divorced was not something I ever thought would happen.
I have been living as a single mother for easily over five years now. It’s a tiring position yet at the same time, I decided it totally keeps you young simply because you are out there dating again.
Only this time, as a mother.
I have been wanting to share my thoughts on dating with you for a while now.
I recently wrote a dating after divorce post for the organization I work closely with, About The Children, and decided to share a good portion of that post with you this morning.
I always loved Carrie Bradshaw and the gang. I tend to get philosophical like Carrie, have been labeled a goodie-two-shoes like Charlotte yet have also been known to enjoy myself like Samantha and eat cake out of the garbage like Miranda. Oh come on, don’t tell me you haven’t.
The thing is though, I met my ex-husband during college therefore I never fully understood, appreciated or related to their dating experiences until after my divorce.
Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what it truly feels like to be part of the dating scene but having to experience dating as a divorced mother? Yikes.
Dating is tough enough for all of us but balancing your emotions, trying to figure out and understand men, juggling the good dates, bad dates and heartbreak—all while trying to raise a child as a single parent?
- Finding a great guy (or so you think) and trying to decide when it is appropriate to introduce your child to your new friend?
- Trying to decide if your new friend is even worthy of meeting your child? Envisioning how they would fit into your already established family?
- Will your child like this person? Will this person like your child? What if they don’t along? What if they do get along and one day you break up?
- How soon is too soon to even introduce them? How long is too long to wait?
The older I get, the more I have come to realize that certain situations are just not black and white.
There is so much gray area to dating after divorce as well as so many different scenarios and situations within where the answer may be right in one moment and wrong the next.
The only thing that has remained clear and true to me regarding this area of my life is best summed up by my favorite quote:
While I didn’t grow up in a divorced home, I always try my best to put myself in my son’s shoes and see things from his perspective.
As awful as the divorce process can be for us adults, it’s worse in a way for the children.
No child wants to see their parents apart. I know my son still wishes we were together; he still fantasizes about it and reminds me on an almost daily basis.
I would probably have felt the same way at his age which is exactly why I have been so careful about keeping my dating life to myself.
It was easy at first; he was young and unaware. I planned my dates around the weekends he was with his dad as well as other times that he would not be with me.
It’s getting a bit harder now as he gets older though. As he begins to show interest in girls, as he learns more about love and dating and relationships, he begins to question if I date, if I plan to get remarried and how he fits into the equation.
I have yet to bring anyone from my dating life into my son’s life. People have commented on this and questioned why I feel the need to keep things so separate.
My reasons have been this:
- What’s the rush? Dating should be fun and new and adventurous…..and children free. Don’t you agree?
Think about it; when we first start dating, we don’t have kids. Throwing our children into our dating life doesn’t give us the time to really get to know and enjoy someone, to act like children ourselves and spend uninterrupted time together.
- My son has a father. I am not looking to replace him nor I am looking for someone to lean on or have with us to do things so that we appear as a family unit. My son and I are already a family; should I find a good partner for myself and my son, this man will only enhance our already established unit.
- I want my son to grow up as carefree as possible. After the trauma of divorce, he does not need to deal with another man entering our home until I know for sure that this person will be around for the long haul.
- I want to know that the person I am involved with loves me unconditionally before they enter my son’s world.
And while nothing is ever a guarantee, once I really trust someone’s feelings and our situation, I will still hold out a bit longer before letting my worlds collide. Anyone else watch Seinfeld?
You know I tend to lead with my heart but when it comes to my son, I must let my head take charge a bit more often.
I have been in a few situations where I did want to collide my worlds only to hold out and then see things fall apart making me ever so happy to have kept my son out of it.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Be sure to check out what everyone else is thinking about today!
Are you more like Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda or Samantha?
Ever eat cake out of the garbage?
Favorite time period in your life?
If you are divorced with kids, how do you handle your dating life?