Here’s what happens when you find out I’m a mother

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Apparently this is what happens when you become a mother:

This is hard for most mothers, I think, when our complex identities become overshadowed by this one role. But it’s particularly challenging when you’re dating as a single mother, because you want to be seen in all ways when you meet a romantic prospect. We must be seen to be loved. Unfortunately our society is not child-friendly and that means it’s not mother-friendly either. Children are seen as inconvenient baggage rather than another (small) member of society. 

There is no ideal time to bring up the fact that I’m a mother in a dating context, especially online. I’ve tried every tactic I can think of (bar having a photo of my kid in my profile)(that’s just ick) and it’s always a little awkward. 

(One guy said he was more concerned about how my cats might get on with his dog. That guy got one hundred points for that reaction. The points were entirely useless and we never ended up meeting.) 

Here are some of the things I’ve said on my Tinder profile or in conversation:

I have lied about it, even on dates. Just completely left out the fact that I’m a mother. That option is quite satisfying, it’s like proving to myself that there’s enough going on in my life outside of my parenting role that I can carry on a conversation without ever mentioning it.

I have never gone past the first date with someone if I hide that crucial piece of info though. If I like someone then I’m not going to keep that from them – it’s hardly a basis for an honest relationship.

Usually I just wait ’til an appropriate moment comes up in conversation, and hope that the other person is at least subtle about ghosting after that. That’s the most common reaction. It’s like I get a flashing neon sign on my forehead saying “TOO DIFFICULT” and men stop noticing me.  

I had an ex-boyfriend who broke up with me because he met someone else who “didn’t have a kid, had a great rack, and an apartment in town.” (I know, what a jerk. I have a great rack too.)

I am more than just motherhood, even though my son is important and life changing (and yes, sometimes inconvenient and energy draining or full of joy). Just like you are more than your job or your ceroc dance class or your addiction or your degree or the rugby you play on Saturday mornings or the books you’ve read or how many times you’ve had your heart broken. We are all these things and none of them in isolation.

Motherhood adds to my identity, it doesn’t take away from it. See me for everything I show you.

Oh yeah, and sorry if you find out by adding me on Facebook. Like I said, I haven’t really figured this out yet. I was totally going to tell you. Definitely. Probably awkwardly. 

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1 Comment

  • Ben Zolno
    July 21, 2017 at 11:51 pm 

    Life is unfair, as illustrated perfectly by Charlotte Fielding. I have never dated a mother; I would like to think I’d be more open minded were that to have happened, and less stupid like some of these guys. :/

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