Hey single moms, don’t google ‘date a single mom.’ Trust me, don’t.
Also: Don’t trust google. Because there is so much negative messaging out there when it comes to unmarried moms and romance: Only losers and pedophiles want to date you. You are a selfish whore if you take a moment away from your children to have a romantic life. You must get married ASAP to be a good role model for your children.
To all of which I say, HOGWASH!
I’m here to tell you: There are so many wonderful, loving, successful and attractive men who are open to if not actively interested in women who are moms. Honoring your romantic, sexual and emotional needs is a gift to your children, as you are modeling a healthy, full life, and relieving them of the burden of fulfilling your emotional needs. Sure, get married or otherwise partnered. But only if you really want to! Lord knows the nuclear family model didn’t work out so great for most people.
All the negative messaging around single mom dating is amplified, it seems, for single moms of special needs children. Here, I tread carefully because I am fortunate that my children are not special needs (insert sarcastic dig at my kids that surely insults mothers of children who have actual special needs). After all, I get very much that there are real challenges of dating as a single mom, and those challenges are amplified, often, when your kids demand so much more of you than healthy kids. It is just a fact.
So when a mom posted this comment, I paused. Here is our conversation:
Mom: I admit I went for sole custody when I divorced, mostly because my son has non-verbal autism and can’t be shifted around from house to house constantly. My son is difficult at times. The ex chooses not to use visitation at all. It miffs me because I’d like a break now and then. I’ve made peace with never having a romantic relationship again. That’s impossible when you have a child with special needs. No one wants broken, old, fat, ugly, and damaged goods, but I’d like to be able to go out and see a movie once in a while. Such is life. One day it will be over and I’ll finally be rid of this misery.
Me: I appreciate your situation, though there is a wonderful guy (or 20!) out there for you – get out there!
Mom: That is not how life works. I appreciate you have a brand to uphold and an image that goes along with it, but you are doing a disservice by making proclamations like that. I do not know anyone in my situation who has ever found love again. Have a child with special needs makes you unmarketable to all but the worst sorts of leeches, abusers, and scum. I will not expose my child to that. Do not give people false hope. It’s morally wrong.
Yowch! I tossed it out to the lovelies (almost 5,000 of us!) on Millionaire Single Moms Facebook group, many of whom are moms to special needs children. Here is what they said:
Tiffany: “Broken, old, fat, ugly, and damaged goods.” She’s stuck in a victim place and until she can find some self love, yeah… it probably IS impossible. But not impossible because of her child, that’s just an outward challenge that’s easier to focus on. And she just isn’t feeling the normal rejection like many divorced women feel, that is multiplied as she is feeling it for her AND her son… and maybe some resentment toward her son, which compounds the guilt and pain, but if you say it out loud or even admit it to yourself, you’d confirm (falsely) what an awful mom/person you are. None of it is based in facts, but it feels so very real in the moment that it is so hard to step back. This mama needs some counseling and some support! I was raised with a special needs sister and my parents had to fight for so many of her services that allowed her to be more independent. It took both of them, so I can’t imagine how impossible it does feel to her! Sending love and encouragement that the right people will come into her life to help HER so she can find a way out of this darkness!
Amanda: I have a foster son with autism….I does make dating bit of a challenge.. My free time is bit harder to get. My ex does not take him. I get respite for him two times a month. I have had many guys not be interested when I tell about him.( Which i know is his loss) I find guys tend to think I need someone to save me or get freaked out by my responsibility. But I do disagree with the women that you won’t find love again. It will take more work to have someone else be a part of our lives, but not impossible.
Susan: I have a son with high functioning autism. I’m lucky enough to have an ex around who is kind and flexible and shows little desire to have a social life of his own. I also have a dream sitter. So I am more able than most to make time for this kind of thing.
For a long time I felt like this mama–unworthy of love. It took me a long time but I changed. I hope she can get the help she needs to see she is worthy too. She sounds really beaten down. Everyone should have someone to make them feel wanted and sexy. To help them out.
Jane: A friend of mine has a 13yo autistic child. She has been together with her man for almost 10 years. He’s amazing and treats the child as his own. The bio-father has nothing to do with the child.
Lana: I have four special needs kids and a boyfriend with zero kids ;)
Katherine: Yes love can be found. I’ve done it and seen it for others with special needs children. There are some wonderful men out there who are understanding and supportive. Having a special needs child doesn’t mean you live your life alone.
Ellie: I have a child with autism – he’s high functioning but can be extremely difficult and doesn’t exactly sleep well. If anything I’m that much slower in bringing ANYONE around – even female friends – because it is taxing on all relationships. But, I would say find a way to get out or she’s going to burn out. She needs time apart from the constant care of any child, more with a special needs one. And if a man is a good man, he will want to be there for her and the child and will try to learn about his needs.
Jess: I don’t have a child with special needs, but I am dating a man who has full custody of a special needs child. I adore him, and my kids adore him too. We make it work. When you are in a relationship with someone, you accept all the things that come with them.
My recommendation would be to put yourself out there in the dating world. Start at the beginning, date without bringing your child into the equation beyond, “yes, I have a child.” Find an excellent care provider so you can date. And then get out there.
Ruby: We all have those days of hopelessness, right? I catered a wedding of a beautiful couple; the bride’s son was on the spectrum. And I could see how much the groom cherished not only her, but her son as well. It’s totally possible to find love. Totally. It was good for me to see, for sure!!!
Podcast: “I’m a single mom of a special needs child”
Podcast: Author Amy Silverman on raising a child with Down syndrome
Join Millionaire Single Moms on Facebook – no income requirement, only positive, motivated single moms allowed (and we talk about dating, sex, money, career, parenting, divorce and other stuff you’re thinking about and no one else will get).
The post Can a single mom of a special needs kid find romance & love? YES! appeared first on Emma Johnson.