Last week we gave you part one of an interview with relationship Guru, Damon “The Champ” Young, Editor at Ebony.com and one half of the talented team at Very Smart Brothas. I reached out to him for blogging advice but it quickly turned into me getting free words of wisdom on the guys I’m meeting as a new mommy. It was a long talk and so I broke it into two interviews. Here is part 2.
Currently, I am suffering from dating amnesia. I can’t remember the last time I went to dinner or to the movies with someone of the opposite sex who didn’t fall into the friends category. As a first time mom, I dedicated the past year to bonding with my little girl. I spent most of that time as a stay-at-home mom. I loved every minute of it, but often forgot that I wasn’t only a mother…I was a woman as well. When I did get asked out, I would raise an eyebrow and ponder if the person was husband material, because after all, I wanted to get married, and I didn’t want to waste my time. Even if he was a good catch, I usually turned him down. I would rather date my daughter and spend my Saturdays at the zoo or the children’s museum. Then, one day I realized I lived in the United States–a place where arranged marriages aren’t the norm. I can’t jump the broom without jumping back into the dating pool. And besides, every date doesn’t have to lead to the alter. It may just lead to lunch!
To help me recall what it’s like to be single again, I’ve enlisted dating expert Damon Young, an editor for Ebony online and blogger for Very Smart Brothas.
Heather: Hi Damon! Thanks for stopping by again. I used to be a self-proclaimed dating expert, but lately I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be single. My Mondays and Fridays seemed the same on my social calendar! But I’m back! And I have a lot of questions. First off, does the dating pool expand in a way for those who now have children and are more open to dating someone with kids as well?
Damon: Yes and no. I mean, if you’re a person (man or woman) who was hell-bent on not dating anyone with children, I don’t know if having a child yourself is going to automatically change that mindset. I guess it should, but people tend to be slow to change regarding things like that. At the same time, perhaps having a child helps you recognize the importance of certain qualities in a mate, and maybe this recognition helps you consider people you might not have before you had a child.
Heather: Ok, so once you’re dating, just how much information should a woman reveal about her child’s father? Should she avoid discussing her ex altogether when entering a new relationship?
Damon: I don’t think that’s a subject that can or should be avoided. Should the woman say things like “Well, Derrick used to call me Coffee Brown in the bedroom.” Probably not. But, the new guy will have some questions about your current relationship with your ex (and even questions about why you broke up). If this is a person you’re serious about, you should answer them.
Heather: When should a woman introduce the man she is dating to her child(ren)? Is it wise to bring the new man to family functions, such as birthday parties?
Damon: It would probably be better if she waited until she was convinced that the relationship was on a certain, long-term track. Introducing the new guy to the kids before that is inappropriate, irresponsible and, frankly, dangerous. But, once a certain period of time has passed and trust is established, I don’t see the problem in bringing him to family functions. I’m sure her aunts and uncles will have a good time picking on him.
Heather: My maternal grandparents were married 65 years and had 15 children together. My uncles will definitely put fear in a man if need be….lol…So, what are the negatives of dating a single mom? What are the positives?
Damon: The two main negatives would be the knowledge that you’re always going to be second on the totem pole as well as the fact that there will probably always be another man in her life — a man she, at one point, (presumably) cared very deeply for. The main positive is that a guy may be able to see first hand what type of mother the single mom is. You don’t have to draw assumptions about her “mothering potential” the way you have to with a childless woman.
Heather: I can think of some more positives:)
Damon: I wouldn’t add any positives as much as I’d say that anything that was a good quality while she was childless still should be a good quality after she’s had the baby. I mean, if you were an awesome person/great catch before you had the child, you’re still going to be an awesome person/great catch afterwards. Yes, the baby changes things, but it doesn’t really change things that much.
Heather: Right! Sometimes people make you feel like now that you have a child you will have a harder time finding a man. Men approached me pregnant and later pushing a baby carriage. A cute kid can be an icebreaker”...lol. Speaking about that, some men are more attracted to women with children. Maybe they think we’re more nurturing, unselfish and perhaps even good cooks. How does having a child/children work to a woman’s advantage?
Damon: The things you mentioned definitely count. Also, if you’re dating a guy who already has kids, perhaps he’ll look at your child/children and think “Whoa. If we get together, we can create our own AAU basketball team or group of tiny Avengers!” Whether he has kids or not, I’d advise any guy dating a single mom to be patient, considerate and, most importantly, treat her like a woman…not a “mother.” Her having a kid doesn’t mean she still wouldn’t like to be approached, courted, respected and desired just like any other woman.
Heather: True! What are some other misconceptions are about single moms? I was worried about being seen as a stereotype when I am NOT a statistic.
Damon: When a woman has kids, I think many people (men and women) automatically assume that the woman ceases being a “person” and becomes a full-time “mother” whose every thought and action revolves around motherhood. Basically, people think that a woman having a child means that they just won’t be interested in the same things, have the same personality or even be attracted to the same type of people. While I’m sure new parents do experience some slight personality alterations, if they liked Tarentino movies, traveling and T.I. before they had children, they’ll likely still like Tarentino, traveling and T.I. afterwards.
Heather: I still love Tupac (who I think is still alive by the way:) Before Baby C was born, I took trips to Thailand, Columbia, Jamaica and lots of places in between. Now as a first time mom (who is back to my high school weight…woot woot!) I’m ready to break out my bathing suit and dust off my passport. I adore spending time with my daughter, and now that she’s almost a year old, I realize it’s OK to want “me time” that doesn’t involve a baby gym or a children’s festival. Will I still take Mommy & Me yoga? Of course! But I’ll also take a breather from the day-to-day stresses of single mommyhood. And when mommy is happy, the whole house is happy!
Thanks again Damon for all of our conversations!
BMWK family, are children a deal breaker when you’re looking for a future mate? Have you changed your “list” of requirements as you aged? What advice would you give to someone dating a single mom?
To see part one of this interview, click here.