Single parent and dating feelings

When my divorce was new, talking with my ex was painful.

We were angry at each other, and, let's face it, looking for ways to hurt each other.

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Then I made a conscious effort to invite friends over for dinner, ask a neighbor to help me move my couch, and chat with the other moms at drop-off.

Slowly, my sense that I had a contagious disease lifted, and I found myself expanding my definition of what makes a family.

But things like finding a place to live and paying for it all by myself, taking care of almost all the day-to-day parenting of two small children, and trying to find a job when I'd been out of the workforce since college terrified me.

I felt like a flake -- not a strong, capable mother who was going teach her children to succeed despite the obstacles ahead.

"Newly divorced and single moms and dads do have to be kind to themselves and allow for less structure, but you can't let it all go and turn into a roommate instead of a parent," says Neuman. I didn't have the time or energy to stress over some of the finer points of household management like I did when there was another adult helping out -- but at the same time, my kids needed structure and the sense of security it provides, now more than ever.

So I began to really focus on figuring out what mattered and what didn't.

Dating after divorce can be fun, but when kids are involved, you have to be a bit more careful ...

Dating after divorce can be exciting, but when you have children it's a risky proposition.

We'd stay up late watching videos and fall asleep in my bed. Without another grown-up in the house, I realized that it was easier to slide down to my children's level than lift them up to mine.

It wasn't long before I realized that this was no way to live -- we needed some order in the house.

But no matter how right I felt I was, deep down in my heart I knew: Being in constant fight mode was horrible for my kids, and it was making me even more miserable.

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