Dating while mom-ing, part 1
Updated: Sep 9, 2019
The decision to become a single (foster) mom wasn't a difficult one. My dating life prior to having children was a lot like my clothing habits: trying something (or someone) on for a little while, spending a few weeks trying to convince myself I was into it, then having an awkward breakup via Goodwill or text when I realized that once again, of course, it wasn't the right fit. Knew it all along.
I wasn't worried about The Kids preventing me from finding The One, because I had the confidence of a 21 year old whose mom was obsessed with her (thanks mom! Love you.) Also, Tinder had just been invented and according to the app, I would always have a shit ton of dating options within 3.7 miles of me whenever I was ready to jump back in the ring. Granted, most of those "options" were dudes in their 20's who enjoyed shirtless pics, long walks to the fridge to get more Natty light, and avoiding emotional connections, but still.
Anyway, after my first two boys (#thebrothers) came into my life, I was thrown into the mom-ing deep end. For the first 18 months of parenting them, my dating life consisted of occasional flirting with guys on Tinder while taking a shit.
Scene: Me sitting on the toilet, messaging some dude.
Dude: "So, what do you like to do on the weekends?"
Me: "Ya know, finishing whatever novel I'm currently obsessed with, brunching, catching up on sleep, recuperating." (Novel=The Explosive Child by Ross Green. Brunching=I-Hop at the leisurely hour of 8:30 am with my two sidekicks who thought 7:30 was a late wake up time.)
Dude: "Sounds relaxing."
Kid: Bangs on bathroom door to yell about some fight they've gotten into with other kid, causing me to almost drop my iPhone in the toilet.
Me: *Closes app, goes back to parenting, doesn't open it for a week.
So yeah, needless to say, that wasn't going anywhere. And I am so grateful that it didn't! More on this later but suffice to say, I will always be so happy that dating did not take away from my time with my first kids. I would have HATED to lose even a minute of that precious time. What an incredible gift it was to really dig in to life with them.
I had found the One(s), and my life with them was full of love and adventures. I didn't want anyone else disrupting the nest we were building together.
Then, our foster care journey changed. Their mom was healing, working hard to build a safe home for them, and suddenly we were sharing the kids, kind of like we had divorced each other and were now the type of millennial exes you always see these days: They're friendly, but not quite friends. They share funny kid stories at drop offs but would never ask about each other's dating lives. They don't fight, but they do get into tense exchanges about whose turn it is to braid the youngest child's hair. That was me and my kid's mom.
Anyway, towards the end of our second summer together I suddenly found myself childless EVERY weekend. For a single (foster) mom with two high needs kids that scare babysitters away, that level of freedom was unheard of! I couldn't believe it. The first weekend they were gone, I binged on take out and drank pop ON THE COUCH IN THE LIVING ROOM, took 4 baths, slept 12 hours a night, and watched an entire season of Handmaid's Tale. It was incredible.
But by the second weekend, the magic was gone. I missed my kids. I was anxious and scared about what lay ahead. We were struggling with our family relationship, missing out on all of the fun bonding time we were used to having. No amount of Mexican food or cherry cokes could quite take the sting of missing them away (although not for lack of trying!)
It was during this time that I got a DM on Instagram (I know, I know. How many apps is she going to reference in this blog post? That was the last one I promise. They're not paying me don't worry. They should be though. Tinder and Instagram, please email me to sponsor this post). I had just posted a photo of me in my super sick new bikini (top: Target. Bottoms: Urban Outfitters. NO, they're not paying me EITHER. I know, it's ridiculous. Photo below for your reference.)
Anyhow, this dude I used to know in college had messaged me. He wanted to know if I wanted to get "coffee and or tea" with him sometime (a direct quote). His Instagram feed was so boring that I had assumed his page was the page of a 45 year old lesbian hippie art professor. I checked again, and it wasn't, it was the page of this SUPER HOT hispanic guy who I used to run into at college parties. Back then he wore all black all the time which made him seem very artsy and mysterious. I now know that he got himself through school working every single night as a server, so his super cool all black outfits were mandatory and covered in sauce stains.
I knew this wasn't going to go anywhere. I was super busy with the kids, and back in college this guy was the type of dude who was into copious amounts of alcohol and weekend long music festivals where you sleep in a tent and don't shower for 4 days straight. However, I was feeling down about my lonely kid-less weekends, and getting "coffee and or tea" didn't sound that bad. I figured at the very least, it would distract me and make for a good story.