1. Don’t be a creepy clown
Please. Don’t try and be the best child entertainer (ever!) right from the very beginning. Don’t immediately ask to see the kids, buy them presents, take them out or make flowers out of balloons for them. It’s kind of creepy and also? Annoying. Some guys want to show that they’re good with children (which is appreciated) but take it too far, way too soon. We need to know that you’re good with US before we even let you meet and try to impress our offspring. Don’t pretend that the kids don’t exist, but also don’t come at us with face painting and Kiini Macho date plans on day one. Take your time before diving into Best Step-Daddy (Ever!) Mode. Get to know and impress us first, then maybe you’ll get the chance to try to impress our kids.
2. Accept that this will be a new dating experience for you
This will be different in many ways, so be prepared. You will not be able to do some of the things you did with your carefree ex-girlfriend, like, spontaneously decide to fly around the world in a hot air balloon. Or be hangovered and in bed on a Sunday until 4 pm. Why? Because, kids. Kids can’t fly around the world in a hot air balloon. And neither do they get hangovered and sleep in. You know how you might end up spending your Sundays? Watching an intense marathon of Spongebob Squarepants or going out for an ice-cream binge at Coldstone. You might find it hard to remember what chilling and eating pork at 1824 with other adults on a Sunday afternoon feels like. Trust.
3. You don’t know how hard our lives are. And sometimes it makes us want to punch you in the face
It’s funny how as a single mom, your boyfriend might want you to sympathize with him over the phone because he’s had “the haaaardest” day at work and then feel bad for him because he had to struggle to make himself a sandwich because he’s “soooooo hungry” and listen sympathetically about how he plans on consoling himself by spending the rest of his evening sipping on whiskey in his (QUIET) bachelor pad while he watches the game. Pause. These? These are the moments when you realize how your life is COMPLETELY different from his. And how much you want to punch him in the face for it. While he’s whining about his MINOR issues, you’re thinking about how you had a sucky day at work only to come home and start your nighttime mommy shift where you first checked your kid’s homework and then refereed a fight between yours and the neighbor’s kid and by the way you can’t quite hear him over the phone because the kids are still running around the house screaming but that’s ok, you’ll have to hang up soon anyways because you need to get your child bathed and settled for dinner and then argue with her about eating not some but all, ALL of her sukuma and then argue about what time bedtime really is but not before you drive to Nakumatt to buy some Dairy Fresh and biscuits because you just remembered that she doesn’t have a snack for breaktime in school tomorrow and then maybe, MAYBE, after her bedtime you’ll have just enough time to check Twitter and Facebook for exactly 7 minutes before collapsing in bed and doing it all again tomorrow. BUT BY ALL MEANS, dear boyfriend, carry on about how “hard” your life is right now. Not.
4. We have no time for games. We only play those with our kids.
Let me be clear, we’re not looking for instant marriage proposals, replacements for biological fathers or sponsors. We’ve been handling it before, we’ll continue handling it long after you’re gone. But, please, know what you want when we decide to date. Letting you into our lives, routines and family traditions is a big deal for us. If we let you in, it means we think you’re worth it, so please act accordingly. We no longer have the luxury of having wishy washy non-committal situationships. Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat. If you’re coming at us 1. Don’t act like you’re coming to save us (we don’t
wanna need to be saved) 2. Don’t act like you’re doing us a favor by dating “someone with a kid” because, as the great philosopher Beyonce once said in her epic Irreplaceable, “you must not know ’bout us”and 3. Come focused and come correct.
5. Try and keep up
Our single mom minds have no choice but to move at 100 miles an hour. At any given moment, we can be thinking about the household dinner menu, grocery shopping lists, work projects, kindergarten projects, school fees, which new side hustle we should start to supplement our incomes,why the baby’s cough won’t go away, when to plait our daughter’s hair because she has swimming next week…EVERYTHING. And because we do all this without having a partner to share the responsibilities with, we become thoughtful lovers, expert multitaskers, crafty businesswomen and fiercely independent thinkers. We work damn hard and when we get the chance, we play and love harder. So, please, try and keep up?