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What to Expect When Doing This Parenting Thing Solo: Dating Edition

Blues Clues Playing Card
Flickr: Armydre2008.

The Single Life

What to Expect When Doing This Parenting Thing Solo: Dating Edition

Can we talk Barney? A single mom dating again tries to get back into the swing of things.

When preparing for the birth of my child, I read many of the same books that moms-to-be read. Years later, I’ve come to the conclusion that these “What to Expect” books need to come with a second book that is housed in a small glass case with the words: break in case of emergency. This other book would be called “What to Expect When You Gotta Do This Parenting Thing Solo.” Among the chapters would be tips on how to date without completely turning yourself off to the concept.

If I had this book, I would’ve remembered to secure babysitting before agreeing to go on the first date with a Dominican cutie from my job. I was so excited my flirting was reciprocated, that I forgot I had a baby at home. And the flirting? It was like riding a bike – you never actually forget how to do it. I was quite proud at how adept I was at it, actually. I was so into this guy. It felt great to know these old, fun feelings hadn’t been completely obliterated by my experience with my ex.

PLUS: Leaving My Father’s Son

I should’ve known my first foray into “single mommy” dating would be launched from the workplace. After all, isn’t it a well-known fact that a good amount of married couples first meet at work? My Dominican cutie wasn’t the only sweet looking thing here, either. I was surrounded by all sorts of beautiful men. They were from different cultures and countries. One was from Venezuela, one from Germany, Israel – it was the United Nations of gorgeous men!

Regardless, out of all the eye candy, I was smitten with the Dominican. He was perfect. We had that shared culture thing. I could speak to him in Spanish, English or Spanglish. He had been in the military at one point, which gave him that sexy “hero” vibe some ladies love. Nice height. Nice voice. He had all the ingredients for the perfect fantasy.

Two weeks of flirting and sexy glances by the proverbial water fountain led him to ask me out on a date. One would think I was in high school and not at a brand new job. If I had looked in a mirror right then and there, my reflection would have been my 15-year-old self – all giddy and happy. This was it! I wanted this guy and it seemed pretty much “in the bag.”

MORE: Why Do We Get Nervous on a Date? It’s Psychology, Baby

All of a sudden my excitement gave way to anxiety. A year home with a baby left me with the social skills of a toddler. If it wasn’t about “Blues Clues” or “Barney,” I had no idea what to talk about. I wasn’t sure how to entertain anyone over the age of 1! What the hell was I going to do? Bring some Teddy Grahams and stuffed rattles on our date? Oh mi Dios! What did I just get myself into?! Where’s that damn book when you need it?!

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Nydia Mata is a photographer and single mom of a little boy who happily shares her journey to the time of baby wipes.


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