Dating as a single mom appears to be a little tricky. Yep. I am nearly divorced. Sigh. I haven't dated anyone in 20 years. I met (my soon to be ex) husband as a teenager and now at 38 years old...I am for sure out of practice and a little scared.
What should be the expectations? The rules?

First of all, at this stage of the game, I am not "the happy go lucky 20 year old with no responsibilities". I am saddled with schedules: work, kids, and home. My free time is minimal, and I am TIRED pretty much all the time. So, as I embark my journey into the big, bad world of dating, I've established a few standards for myself during this process:

1. I am a package deal.
To any man who wants to date me, my kids are non negotiable. Now, this being said, my potential suitor will not meet my children for quite a while, but it is important that they know they are part of the deal. They are my priority, the loves of my life, and will always come first. So, if you aren't interested in kids, please move on.

2. Act like a gentleman.
One piece of valuable advice I received during this process is to keep my standards high. Therefore, when it comes to dating, I expect a man to behave like a gentleman: pick me up, open the door, offer to pay for dinner and treat me with general respect. Now, this being said, I'm not trying to set back the progress of feminist movement in any way, but I personally believe in chivalry. I am raising my son to be a gentleman, so I would expect nothing less from my date. Best to make these standards known initially.

3. Sex.
Yes, I've had it. Yes, I love it. But, no, I am not desperate for it. Dating is a process and requires a certain maturity. My decisions and behaviors impact not only my life, but the life of my two little ones. With the threat of STDs and pregnancy, I would never want to do anything to put myself or my health in harm's way.

4. Sexting.
In this day and age of overexposure, I will not chance the embarrassment of a nude pictures ending up somewhere for public consumption. I am a mother and must be cognizant of how my choices affect my children. I would never want to bring shame to their world. Best to save such activities for more established relationships.

5. Respect me: Treat me like a woman, not a child.
Two things of significance have happened thus far in my life:
- I have created, birthed and raised two human beings
-I am single after a long term relationship with my children's father.
I have endured real life challenges and survived them. I am not in any rush to get married, or to have anyone's baby. I am a grown woman...not a desperate little girl waiting for her Prince Charming fantasy to unfold. I simply seek companionship, with hopes of perhaps something more.

At 38, I've accepted who I am, and am looking for a companion to do the same. I have come to the conclusion that you attract what you seek and that patience is a virtue. Dating as a single mother will not be easy, but I'm hoping to survive the process with my head held high. My goal is to be a little more Grace Kelly and a whole lot less Kim Kardashian.

Wish me well. I am certain to need it.