How does a single parent date? And how are we supposed to scope out the other single parents at the park without looking like we're trying to pick up happily married spouses, and do all that without letting your child fall off the jungle gym? And once you're out with someone - parent or not - how much do you talk about your child?
All Questions, No Answers.
I’ll focus on the jungle gym question since I still play on them. First priority is safety. I’d suggest a harness. Maybe those leashes that make kids look like dangerous pets with rabies. If this fails, you should be a sprint away from karate chopping a potential kidnapper, or resuscitating your child in the event of marble indigestion, all whhile keeping a watchful eye, approach your prey from the side.
No one likes people creeping up on them from behind. Crack some lame joke about parenthood. If he/she is decent, he won’t laugh. You’ll chat about things like the quality of the sand in the sandbox, at which point your target should mention something about his partner, and since you’ve kept it neutral, no one is embarrassed. Now you can make a graceful exit or network. After all, other parents can be a great source of play dates and even match you up with their hot, single and kid-friendly neighbor.
When we’re around other single parents, it’s because we’re with our own children, so the best you can do is hope that your kids will either play together or attack each other so that both parents have to intervene, and poof! Cupid will strike. Except that only happens in movies.
Here’s what not to do (I know because I’ve done it):
Don’t limit yourself: There are non-parents out there who can care about your child almost as much as you do, simply because it’s yours (although many single men suffer from what I call it the “National Geographic effect” and react like animals in the wild who would rather eat another male’s child than feed it). But they exist: they’re like the truffles of the romantic world, a rare delicacy.
2. If you date a non-parent (Muggle?), let them know you have a child, but not in a defensive, “I eat bullets for breakfast” tone. Just remember that unless you want to talk about your date’s job/pet/family all night, you shouldn’t bore them with burp stories.
3. If you’re dating another parent: same thing. Don’t go all Supernanny: it’s easier than unveiling the real you, but it won’t get you any closer to Californication.
Two sisters, 20-something Andrea and 30-something Claire, offer their differing views on your relationship issues.