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I’m happy to confirm that my son has positively transformed my life in so many ways, he’s the most wonderful and perfectly-timed gift I could have wished for.
Plus, having a child helps you put things in perspective; I’m ten times more confident and capable now.
"Introducing the children too soon can set the stage for a modern tragedy," says Cantarella.
"It's not only the woman who can be hurt if the relationship ends, but the children as well." A savvy single mom should wait as long as possible before introducing her kids to the potential boyfriend and never make the intro around the holidays, the experts advise."Women should gain a sense of her boyfriend's interaction based on how he treats her and possibly his own children if he has them," says Cantarella, who suggests erring on the side of caution.
It took me a long time to get over the stigma of being a single parent – especially when it came to dating.
I now realise that my family is something to celebrate, rather than hide, and that the right person will recognise this also.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, use it to your advantage, and remember: having a child helps you sort people into a ‘worth it’ and ‘not worth it’ pile early on.
‘Baggage’ implies a disadvantage; something bulky and extra, weighing you down. However, growing up in a society that sees single motherhood as a one way ticket to loneliness, poverty and the benefits system, I see where the ‘b’ word has come from.
"Once the boyfriend is introduced there is no going back, and expectations are raised," she adds.
What to do instead: Time is the best measure of knowing when to introduce the children.
But it’s taken me a while and a lot of bad dates to get here. When I first returned to dating, I didn’t mention my son on my online dating profiles, or when I met men in real life.
Because of the stigma surrounding single parents and myths I was believing at the time, my subconscious told me I would have more luck keeping my profile baby-free. On my first date after being pregnant, dumped and giving birth – when my self-esteem had hit rock bottom – I sat opposite a man who visibly quivered when I revealed I was a mum and compared my child to his ongoing battle with Crohn’s disease.
That’s your territory, especially in the early days.