Nina Smith

Sleeping With Money: price you'll pay dating a soccer mom

Filed By Nina Smith | April 27, 2008 10:04 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: money, personal finance

"Our similarities bring us to a common ground; our differences allow us to be fascinated by each other." - Tom Robbins

A more accurate title might have been Sleeping With Money: Don't Date Single Parents, but obviously soccer mom is a better descriptive to get clicks on this post. After all, you're reading it. I rest my case.

Anyway, Amanda was loosely classified as a soccer mom. Technically speaking, she'd have to be a married housewife. She wasn't. She was separated from her husband. But she was a mom and until our fling, I had never dated a mother before. Never again.

Much like Aundi's revelation over at Queercents about the cost of dating a straight woman, there's a price you'll pay dating a single parent. First, you'll never be her priority. Her child or children come first. End of story.

Sidebar: Don't believe me? Then read this edition of the Modern Love series in The New York Times called Me, My Daughter and Them. Or if you prefer, catch the queer version edited weekly by The Gay Recluse. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Second, single parents are tapped for time. Of course, Amanda was able to find time to date me with actions imitating the advice listed here: (e.g. schedule a 'date' on a Saturday afternoon, go out for a latte, meet at the gym, etc.). Actually, that's where we first met. At the gym. She worked there. Groan all you like, but yes, I bagged my beautiful, bi-curious trainer. And then I tried to date her. Seriously. What was I thinking?

But the kid always got in the way. Not in spending time together. No, the together time was fine since her young daughter tagged along on many of our outings. And we had a lot of family fun as most of these activities were focused on the four-year-old: days at the beach, Disneyland, Sunday road trips, dinners, G movies, and ice cream... all bankrolled by moi!

So when I say the daughter got in the way, well, she got in the way of our "alone" time. And after the first couple of times alone, it was hard for Amanda to make time for me... of the alone variety. Get the picture. But she always was willing to spend time as a "family" and seemed to appreciate that I paid for everything.

After six months I finally said, "It feels like we're dating, it looks like we're dating, but we're really not dating." If a woman tells you her kid is everything, then what does that make you? I had just become her best friend with a fat wallet and all too willing to open it.

Maybe this post has more to do with me and my co-dependency and thinking back then that I could buy someone's love. If I do all these nice things for her then she'll love me. If I buy her this, then she'll love me. Or at a minimum, sleep with me. I learned that wasn't so with the mommy set.

It was just the kick in the pants that I needed to move on and date single, available lesbians which of course, led to other money lessons from The Year of Nina. Play ball!

Nina blogs about money over at Queercents.

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Hi Nina, I'm so glad you said this first so that I didn't have to be the one to do it. I feel like an asshole for saying that I won't date womyn with children, but I've tried it and it just doesn't work for me. You mentioned the problem with finding alone time. But there's also the problem of building a relationship with more than one person. If the child doesn't like you, does that mean Mommy is going to choose them over you? I also found it awkward to try to get it on with Mom with the kid in asleep in the other room. What if the kid wakes up?

I've got several friends who are single moms and I try to be supportive as they talk about the difficulties of having a dating life. I'm sure there are lots of people out there who want to date the Mom types. I'm just not one of them.

Maybe this post has more to do with me and my co-dependency and thinking back then that I could buy someone's love. If I do all these nice things for her then she'll love me. If I buy her this, then she'll love me. Or at a minimum, sleep with me.

I worry sometimes that I'm in the opposite side of that situation, that there's someone who's trying to do just that to win my affection. I don't like it and I want it to stop, but everything he likes to do is way out of my budget range, and possibly his from the little I've been able to piece together of his financial situation.

Maybe I should just send in a question about that to Michele O'Mara, but I don't want it to turn into a situation where I'm afraid to break it off because I've become an overpriced investment.

It really sounds like you're chastising single mothers who put their kids above all else! That's the right thing to do. If mothers do not put their children first, who will? I agree that "Amanda" should have made more of an effort to create some alone time for just the adults. This is a valid criticism. Saying things like, "you'll never be her priority" and "the kid always got in the way" sabotages any valid points you may be trying to make. And I have to wonder, after spending all that time "at the beach, Disneyland, Sunday road trips, dinners, G movies, and ice cream" with this child, what kind of bond you formed? Are you so cold hearted that you would spend all day with a four year old just so you could bag her mommy?

To Serena:
I think it's totally fine that people would choose not to date a parent for whatever reason they think is appropriate. Afterall, if you want more than a parent is willing go give, then avoiding the relationship in the first place is the right thing to do. But to answer your questions...

"does that mean Mommy is going to choose them over you?"
Yes, absolutely! This is what good parents do. They put thier children first.

What if the kid wakes up?
What if the cat is watching? Freak me out!

Serena: I hear ya. Dating someone with kids presents many challenges beyond just scheduling the sex part, but the sex part was a big issue for us.

Alex: Yes, Michele often makes valid relationship points when it comes to my money posts. Money is a huge factor in relationships and in my opinion, if he's giving you lavish gifts funded with a credit card and what you think is way out of his budget... well, run, run, run.

Rebecca: I'm not chastising all single mothers. Just this particular one because she dangled the sex carrot to keep me around paying for things, when perhaps, she really wasn't that interested in her newfound bisexuality. She was a good mommy though. And yes, a good mommy will put her child first. In my opinion, dating was hard enough... adding kids to the mix just increased the complexity.

As someone who dated and ended up marrying a single parent with a child, I feel uniquely qualified to comment on this post.

Is it hard? Yes. Will you ever be #1? No. But that's as it should be. I have to admit, there have been times that it's rough being 2nd place, but it's just a fact of life - no different for me than any other step parent.

Have I spent an inordinate amount of money on Paige? Hell yes. Kids are expensive. Has it been worth every penny. Yup.

I'd do it all over again.

Bil and Rebecca, you are absolutely right that the kid should come first. I don't have a beef with that at all.

I guess my main issue is that it's hard enough building a relationship with two people in the mix, let alone three (or four . . .). The single-mom I dated was awesome and I really liked her daughter. I just don't want kids. And I think dating Jessie (not her real name) helped me to figure that out. Kids are great . . . when they go home with someone else.

And Rebecca, I totally agree with you about the cat (and/or the dog).