As a divorcee with kids, your dating prospects includes those with and without kids. Your kids are an integral part of your life, so naturally you want to make sure those prospects will be able to connect with your sprouts and you and their offsprings will be able to mesh together.
The dilemma is you do not want to parade around a bunch of people in front of your kids….but how do you know if you want to take this person seriously without evaluating their parenting skills and if they have lil’ ones, how their lil’ ones connect with yours. Will this person you have a connection with, fully embrace getting to know the extension of you– your heartbeats.
First…. Do not make such a huge deal out of the first meeting. Let the person know it is not a big deal that you are inviting them as an (accidental bump-in) where you are with your children. It does not mean you are thinking about “wedding bells” or looking for a parental figure for your sprouts. Just trying to gauge whether this person will feel comfy with this part of your life. It is all about finding a “Good Fit”.
Pick a casual spot. Neighborhood park, amusement park, family fun-center such as Chuck E. Cheese, family night at the Museum, a kid-friendly concert
Second….Make it an accidental run-in. Coordinate the time you plan on arriving at the destination.
Third…Communicate to the kids that the person is someone you know that you just happened to run into. If they inquire, the person is always just a friend of yours, nothing less or more. You don’t want to say it is a co-worker because if the relationship does progress between the two of you, you will be caught in a lie.
When your potential has Sprouts:
Once the two of you with your kids arrive at the destination, introductions of your children can be made. Let kids be kids. Some kids take a second to warm up to new people, where others are outgoing and will be ready to be besties at the initial greeting. I encourage the first meet and greet to be at a place with lots of kids activities. Eventually, kids tend to gravitate towards each other when there is fun play involved.
Priority is to ensure your sprouts are enjoying themselves and are comfortable.
Casually observe how your friend wears their “Mommy” or “Daddy” hat with their own children.
Don’t worry about them engaging with your kids so much specifically, but how they interact with your kids and theirs as they are playing with each other.
If you feel comfy, take turns watching the kids for a few minutes. Such as excusing yourself to attend the restroom. That will provide each of you the chance to get some one-on-one time with each other’s kids.
When your potential is Sans Kids:
A casual bump-in is preferred.
Introduce the person to your child. From there, let the communication flow between your child (ren) and the person from there as you are tending to your child’s needs and wants at a particular venue.
Watch how that person engages with children. If the person is not a natural, it is not necessarily a deal breaker. If you really like your potential mate, wait awhile and arrange another “Playdate” date. Someone who does not have children, may be extra nervous of doing or saying the wrong thing. Give that persona couple of passes and help them feel comfy.
Go With The Flow
As a divorcee, with younger sprouts, I learn that children love playdates. While they may not be completely oblivious, they definitely appreciate an opportunity to romp around with other children. Children are also appreciative to explore another adult’s mind in a fun family setting. So don’t look at it as exposing your children to different prospects while dating. If you keep your cool about it, they have no clue and won’t make a big deal about it. They won’t know the difference between scheduled playdates with friends they know and the accidental play dates, especially if your kids are just outgoing and make friends easily while at play.
Don’t think too much, it is just a disguised meet and greet. For those that are dating someone with children, we as single parents don’t have any unreasonable expectations. Just because we want you to meet our children, does not mean we want you to act out the part of “daddy” or “mommy” figure in their lives. We just want to see if an approrpriate friendship could likely develop between you and our heartbeats.