Being a Single Mom can be lonely at times and make you yearn for a partner. To make matters worse dating as a Single Mom can feel like an uphill batter against an endless shortage of time, money and energy. My son is still young, and I can barely fathom dating.
And, yet, I see a silver lining that is necessitated by an incredible lack of time. Being a Single Mom has made me rock solid in my commitment to be healthy and grounded, both of which will serve me incredibly well when I’m ready to date.
Before becoming a Single Mom, I felt general haze of loneliness cast over my life. I worried about whether anyone would want to date me if I had a child in tow. I was worried about prioritizing a baby over a partner because I yearned for both equally.
Now that I have a little one, I never feel lonely. Even when I’m alone working frantically on my book and business or playing alone with my son, I never feel any loneliness.
My heart feels filled to the brim. I don’t feel like I am lacking anything. And, that is an amazing place from which to date because it keeps me aligned with a sense of purpose and rightness rather than seeking to fill a lack.
I know who I am and what’s important to me. It’s easier to have clarity about my goals and what’s good for me … and my son.
Because time and money are precious, I cut to the chase quickly in all areas of my life. My gut is in charge, forcing me to make what might sometimes feel like brutal decisions regarding who is worth my time. I no longer have time for a man that doesn’t make me feel amazing or bring out my best and that’s a big plus in dating.
I imagine sitting across the table from my date. My intuition kicked into high gear and picking up on subtle details of my date that I may not even consciously register. He’s either “in” or “out.” This could cause me to miss out on some diamonds in the rough, but I trust that this skill combined with laser sharp focus on what’s good for me and my son will yield positive results.
And, let’s not forget that as Single Moms, we are forced to take it slowly since it’s not easy to have ‘adult sleepovers’ or stay out all night for hot and heavy make-out sessions when you have a toddler or child at home. But this allows true emotional intimacy to grow with a man before throwing myself into sexual intimacy. It makes me feel a bit old-fashioned perhaps, but I think it’s a much more powerful way to begin a relationship.
Finally, I think about how empowered being Single Mom makes me feel. I struggle and want to tear my hair out, collapse from exhaustion in a great heap on the couch. But, underneath it all, I am amazed at my tenacity, resourcefulness, and strength. On those days when I feel defeated and overwhelmed, I rebound quickly and again feel empowered and blessed, knowing that I am doing the best I can and that my best is pretty darn amazing.
So, I invite you to focus on the ways you’ve honed your ability to find an amazing partner. You may feel far from dating when your child is young, but when you decide you are ready, I’m confident, you will be smarter and wiser.
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Why Plan C? Well, motherhood rarely comes the way we hoped or expected. Sometimes we have to move well beyond our original vision. In my case, Plan B was to become a single mother by choice, using an anonymous sperm donor. I ended up at what I affectionately call Plan C because I needed to use an egg donor as well.
Even if your plans didn't work out as we expected (psst, it never really does), don't let it stop you from embracing your unique path.
So that we can get to know each other better , I want to share my story with you and why it put me on a mission to help women all over the world do whatever it takes to become a mother--if they decide that’s what they want.
As a child, I was obsessed with babies. If anyone asked me if I wanted kids when I grew up, I would exuberantly respond that I wanted eleven babies (I know, right? Eleven??) I distinctly remember stalking a pregnant mother in my neighborhood, asking if I could care for her child once it was born. She obliged and I spent every day after school at her house. You could basically say that loving babies and kids was my hobby.
But somewhere along the way, I lost my conviction and clarity. I went to college and law school, graduated at the top of my class, and got a job at a prestigious law firm during the dot-com boom in Silicon Valley. I was focused on my career and worked insane hours. Dating, however, was not my best skill, and I wasn’t taking any intentional steps to find "the one." When people asked me if I wanted kids, I would always say, "I don’t know. It’s a decision I want to make together with my partner once I find him."
In contrast, most of my friends who wanted babies were deliberate and intentional about their dating efforts. They spent time on dating sites, went out specifically to meet men, even hired matchmakers. Soon, they moved on to marriage and began having kids.
But I just never found him.
However, I was fast approaching 40 and there was still no partner in sight.
As I faced the closing of my fertility window, I realized I needed to think about whether or not I truly wanted children ... with or without someone to co-parent with. I wasn't panicked though. Friends all around me were having babies in their late 30s and 40s. My own mother had me when she was 39. I thought that, if anything, my generation had proven that having a baby later in life is possible and, in some ways, more desirable.
It took me over a year of contemplation to decide to take the leap into solo motherhood. As much as I loved children, I wasn’t certain that I was ready to give up my freedom and life of spontaneity.
Who would I be if I couldn’t travel the world, go see various spiritual teachers on a whim, stay out late dancing, and sample all the best restaurants and music festivals?
The flip side started to seep in too though: Would life get boring for me if I only had to focus on myself? At some point would I get bored of travel, retreats and dancing?
Already, the last few times I had traveled somewhere exotic, it didn't have the same allure. The intense drive of my spontaneous life was fading. Something else was calling me. I was looking for something ... more.
And then one day, my teacher said to me, "Have you noticed that you cry every time you talk about not having a baby?"
It was true! And that was a startling realization. But, as I considered the idea of solo mothering, I just kept thinking: This isn't the way I thought my life would unfold! I had to mourn the life I thought I was meant to have and re-imagine the remainder of my life unfolding an entirely new way.
My greatest fear was — Would I be alone forever if I have a baby by myself? Who would want to date a single mom?
I was also deeply concerned about financial stability.
How would I manage alone — financially, emotionally, logistically? What if I lost my job? Or couldn’t work again due to physical pain?
My teacher reminded me that nothing in life is ever certain.
People who find the love of their life end up divorced, cheated on, and even widowed. Happy couples remain childless due to infertility. No one's "dream life" is promised to them. And, everyone's job safety is impossible to predict.
I could freak out about having a baby alone and miss my chance at becoming a mother, or I could lean into the uncertainty and let the rest of my life unfold as it was meant to. Having a child alone did not necessarily mean I’d never meet a life partner. It might mean delaying the partner for several years, or it might mean that being pregnant would make me feel amazing and sexy and call in the partner I’d always dreamed about. It was truly impossible to predict.
Then, one day in meditation, I had a vision of a little girl in a frilly, pink dress riding on a swing on a glorious spring day. In that moment, I knew — I wanted to become a mother more than anything. All of my indecision vanished in an instant! I was ready.
I wanted to be of service in some way, and I realized I wanted to be of service to a child. (Of course, at the time, I had NO idea just how much surrender and sacrifice motherhood would entail!)
I researched the logistics and started trying to conceive a child alone with the use of an Identity-Release donor (which is an amazing process, by the way, but that's a story for another day).
But then, my OB/GYN informed me that if I wanted to have a baby, I’d likely have to use an egg donor. WHAT? This was definitely not part of the plan!
I refused to listen and instead spent a year trying to get pregnant with my own eggs (I won’t even start trying to explain the lengths I went to on that front) I finally accepted that I'd need to use both a sperm and an egg donor.
I finally came to terms with having a baby via egg donation and I have no regrets.
On April 3, 2014 my son was born. Happily. Gloriously. A beautiful, healthy, amazing son. And, I can’t imagine a more perfect union. I have no doubt I got the child I was meant to have.
Motherhood is about love, plain and simple ... no matter how complicated the journey is getting there.
You can read my whole story in my new book: Motherhood Reimagined: When Becoming A Mother Doesn’t Go As Planned: A Memoir. It’s due out Oct. 17th but you can pre-order your copy now.
All My Best,