• Shona Dee

How to Love a Single Mother

How to Love a Single Mother

The single mother – whether single by design or default – has wants and needs universal and unique to that of all women, all over the world. Like most women, the single mother wants to love and be loved. Unlike some other women, she needs to balance her desire for romantic crazy nonsensical love with the love, and responsibilities, she has for the children who came first. And this is no easy task!

How to love a single mother?

She loves her children more than she loves herself; she tells herself that they are all she'll ever need, and most of the time she believes this. She fills her days with work and tending to her little one’s needs and desires, her desires pushed so far back in to the depths of her consciousness that she barely even knows they are a thing.

But then there are the nights she feels as lonely as all hell. Holding her wine and staring at the same old crap on TV, she finds her thoughts wandering to the idea of – shock horror - adult companionship. But having spent a near lifetime with the same person every night, it is not an easy thing for her to put herself out there. For even daring to dream that she should be allowed a scrap of adult excitement in her tightly controlled world, she feels GUILT - a whole lot more guilt than she should.

Truth is, she is a contradiction - one minute strong, confident and completely invincible, the next she is a bundle of insecurity, fretting over choices she has made and where she is headed next. Yet for all of this incongruity, there is one certainty. The single mum has an endless capacity for sharing her love. It is what she does and it is who she is.

Here are some things that you will need to do if you are considering being a part of her world. And if you are a single mother, I hope you can relate.


Be upfront with her

She doesn't have time for time-wasters. Tell her what you’re after from the get-go. If you’re looking for a long term commitment, great! Tell her this. And if you’re not, great! Tell her this too. And if you’re really not sure what you’re after, have the courage to tell her this, because chances are she’s feeling exactly the same way.

Because really, she’s done the whole wedding/marriage/babies thing. She doesn't spend her time fretting about a biological clock or scoring a massive rock for her finger. You’re more likely to find her fretting over finding a blessed moment or two of peace after way too many unsuccessful attempts at wrangling a screaming and/or kicking child off her body.

So you’re nervous about having to meet another man’s kids? Guess what? She’s more nervous. She has spent a lot of time, and put a lot of her heart in to building a protective little fortress around both hers and her children’s lives. She’s not likely to let that fortress be penetrated by the first guy showing a scrap of interest in her. Don’t assume she is on the market for a new husband and father figure for her kids.

Be honest about where you stand, and give her the time to be honest and vulnerable with you about where she stands. With upfront honesty, you may just create something beautiful together.

Be patient with her

She may be more of a hot mess than not at times. She desperately wants downtime - she wants to zone out and forget for at least two seconds that she has a shite-load of responsibilities - things to do, people to feed, stuff to pay, mess to sort. But her mind is racing a zillion miles per hour as she tries desperately to control every freaking little thing in her world (or is that just me?).

Here’s the thing. If you can be patient with her and her crazy mind, you will be rewarded. She needs you to show her (and to keep reminding her) that she alone cannot save the world. She gets so lost in her little cocoon of single motherhood that she does actually forget this from time to time. So be there for her.

Gently steer her away from the kitchen sink if you find she’s spending too much time there. Listen to her go on and on and on about the injustices of the schoolyard, all the while gently reminding her that none of it actually really matters all that much. In time, she will loosen up. And that is when you will find yourself rewarded with her beautiful capacity for sharing love.

And whilst we’re on the topic of patience – be mindful that she may sometimes cancel or reschedule date nights due to sick kids, or a problematic ex. Know that she doesn't like doing this, but her responsibilities must come first. Again, this will ease in time as she slowly adapts to the idea of having a companion in her life, a companion who is willing to chip in, help out and be there for her when life doesn't go to plan.

Lastly, let her decide the right time for an introduction to her children. This will be a big step for her, and one that she will not take lightly. Rest assured however, if a meeting between you and the kids is on her to-do list, she thinks you’re pretty damn great!

Show consideration for her

She doesn't always know what she wants - she does know that she has a newfound interest in certain things after the liberation of her separation or divorce - but generally speaking, she’s a bit of a conflicted mess at times.

She is still perfecting the art of balancing her own wants and needs with those of her kids’. She didn't think a lot about desires in her previous life, but they now occasionally SCREAM for her attention. Be considerate of this, and her, during the early days of courting. Let her have her space when she needs it. With your help, love and support, she will in time find the perfect balance of woman, mother and lover. I did!

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