Dear men,

I know it’s been a while, but there’s something I want to talk about. That’s right… dating with a woman with children. Time and time again I’ve seen so many negative posts about dating a woman with children. If you’ve been with me since the beginning, then we are in our 30s now—if you’re just joining me, I’m speaking to and for those of us who are that age. The fact of the matter is that a lot of us have children now, men and women alike.  You’re either with it or you’re not and that’s cool, but for those of you who are still willing to give us mothers a chance, I figured I’d give you a few pointers to make the experience a little smoother. Don’t let your friends scare you; while we may be single mothers, a lot of us have our shit together and if you’re gonna take a stab at a woman like that, you had better know what to do when you get in it. I can’t get all the tips in one article, but this should get us started.

Here’s some friendly advice on dating a woman with children.

If you don’t want children, leave her alone.

First things first. If you know you’re a man who doesn’t want children, do both of you a favor and step back. I’m gonna come right out and say it. That’s selfish. There’s nothing worse for us women than investing time in a man (while trying to maintain everything else we have going on in life) just to find out that he doesn’t want children. ‘Cause what? Don’t get me wrong, I am one to believe that once you’ve had the opportunity to experience the beauty of parenthood you’d be crazy not to want it, but still, I know some people are absolutely sure that it’s not for them. Regardless, whether you’re on the fence or set in stone on not having children, let sis be. There’s someone out there who can’t wait to love on them and it’s unfair to her and her child(ren) to have to wait on you to make up your mind. Get out of the way.

Children are protective of their mothers; if they don’t like you that’s probably a sign.

It’s strange, but just like a mother has an innate sense when it comes to her child(ren), so do the kids. If I had acted quicker to the few times my daughter showed her distaste for a man I invested in, I might have saved myself a couple of heartbreaks. Even as a toddler, she was able to alert me to the fact that she didn’t prefer said man around. Don’t get this confused with what it takes for a child to warm up to you, but if after so long the child just won’t come around… it could be a sign. Take heed to that. I’ve seen it and I’ve experienced it. A child’s intuition isn’t one to ignore. That goes for us too, mamas.

Ask questions, but accept the answers.

If you’re going to be man enough to date a woman with children, understand that there is obviously a history before you. Asking questions is completely fair, but don’t ask any questions you don’t want to know the answer to. I hate shit like that. If you don’t want to know how her and her child’s father got together, don’t ask. If you don’t want to know who the father is, don’t ask. So on and so forth… If you don’t plan on sticking around, quite frankly, none of that is your business. However, if you do plan to stay in her and her child(ren)’s life, then be open to her answers and don’t pass judgment. Let her answer and respect those answers. I assure you, the majority of us never planned to be single mothers. Exercise grace.

That’s her child’s father…

No matter the relationship the mother has with the father, understand that that man is still that child’s father. This is a very sensitive subject so I really won’t get into it too much, but it does need to be said that at the end of the day… that is a biological parent. Whatever relationship they have with their child, it isn’t your place to speak on it. Leave that between them. If you all are just dating, even though I’m sure some will disagree, that’s just really not your place. Leave that between the parents for now.

Be genuine in your intentions.

At the end of the day, they are kids. They pass their own judgment and they love their mama. Don’t go building relationships with the child(ren) if you are going to hurt their mom. Be genuine with all of them. Don’t do too much. Don’t do things expecting something in return. Believe you me, if you didn’t do whatever it is you thought was so spectacular, mama would have figured it out. We would do anything for our child(ren). Operate from your heart. Kids don’t forget as easily as you might think. Also, consider that it isn’t easy for her to date you knowing she has her child(ren) to think about. They are her life and she’s choosing to share that with you. Have mercy on you if you decide to take that for granted. We don’t play about our babies and that’s on period.

If you’re not going to commit, don’t comment.

Whew! I can’t stress this enough! I’m speaking from my own experience here, but hear me well. If you’re not going to commit to me and by commit I mean MARRY ME, then do not comment on how I parent! I’m willing to consider how you feel when we are in a serious relationship, but ultimately as long as I’m still a single mother, I will do things as I see fit. I’ve been doing it thus far and until I know my partner will be a staple in our lives, I’ll continue doing just that. But maybe that’s just me… Just tread lightly here. Especially if you’re not a full-time parent. It’s insulting and you probably don’t know the half of what it took and what it takes for her to do it alone.

I’ve missed talking to y’all so much. Until next time.

Love always, Isis.