Where my world was once devoid of diapers, babysitters and toy truck puncture wounds on the bottoms of my feet, I have come to the very grim realization that these things are just an integral part of my new dating experience.
You can blame it on my age. I have managed to escape the shackles of single parenthood at 38, but most of my contemporaries have not.
Unless I start choosing girls who are wildly inappropriate for my age range, Iâ€™m going to have to come to terms with the Single Mom and her necessities.
In fact, somebody without any kids at our respective ages is starting to look circumspect.
Itâ€™s not that I really minded at all â€“ itâ€™s just that I was living a trite, self-indulgent life in California until I was forced into adulthood by several unrelated circumstances.
The rest of the world grew up around me. Corporate Kitten was a mother of two boys, age 10 and 5. Hot Yoga Girl had a 16-year-old daughter. It was time to re-assess my dating strategy based on these new circumstances.
The first thing to keep in mind is that moms â€“ no matter how witty, charming, and sexually attractive â€“ are moms.
That means that their kids get first dibs on their time and energy. Youâ€™ll have to be prepared to take a backseat a lot of the time, and that backseat will probably have one of those child-safety belt things, which youâ€™ll be asked to haul up several flights of stairs for her when you get home.
If you want to take the Single Mom out on a date, consider offering them babysitter money. If you donâ€™t, you should at least keep in mind that their time is worth $10 an hour from the outset. Make it count.
Also, donâ€™t forget to factor in the possibility that at any moment their asthmatic youngest could go into a breathing spasm and exchange your make-out time for a nebulizer and a quick peck on the cheek as they whisk you out the door at 8 p.m.
On the other hand, a woman with that little time and that much to do has chosen YOU to be the benefactor of what remains, and that should mean something in itself.
A Single Mom has to be pretty choosy about where and with whom she spends her time.
You must also be comfortable with children, of all ages. As I creep into Middle Age, Iâ€™m inexplicably beginning to enjoy the company of young children. It must be instinctive.
If you arenâ€™t comfortable crawling into a playground to rescue a five-year-old who has just turned into a blubbering puddle of tears while his playmates clamber over you like human monkey bars, this may not be the dating relationship for you. It requires a level of maturity and the ability to think about somebody other than yourself.
Dating the Single Mom is not an easy task. It will certainly tax you to the ends of your ability to cope with inconvenience, but it can also yield the most amazing rewards.
Contact R. Chase at YourVoice@voice-tribune.com.