Date My Mom, Bring Your CV

When a single mom goes out on a date with somebody new
It always winds up feeling more like a job interview

A few years ago, Brad Paisley– the country singer who married the cute girl from Father of the Bride– wrote a song about his step-father, and the opening lines have stuck with me. Back when the song was new, it was because I have two step-fathers, but now, it’s because I am that mom. Date me, and you’re applying for a whole lot more than just buying me dinner- even if we dance around it, even on a first date- it’s in the back of my head, and  it’s a package deal.

These kids are the center of my world, for better or for worse, forever and ever amen. They are the reason I am busting my hump to finish school, make Little House a semblance of a home, juggle homework and parent-teacher conferences, and still try and be a decent human being. So when a guy asks to take me out, it’s nothing like when I was footloose and fancy free. I look at him with a different eye- and I ask myself hard questions.

In my younger single days, I cut a ton of slack to the artists and free-spirits and bad boys. Today, those qualities come with sirens and bullhorns that blare “danger! danger! danger!” I’ve been down that path, got the t-shirt. No thanks! This time, I am of a far more discerning palette. A man in my demographic who is still trying to find himself sends me running for the hills. No offense- but at this point, I know who I am, and with three little people looking to me to lead the way through life, I want a man who knows who he is and is prepared for me to walk next to him. I want a man who has an education, can compose a decent sentence, knows how to wear a suit and tie a tie. I don’t need a project, and I don’t intend to be one.

Now, this doesn’t mean I expect perfection- far from it. I want someone real, who can see me and my flaws as well, and slowly grow to love each other. I’m not in a hurry- and I won’t subject my children to meeting any man that I’m not reasonably certain has future potential. That means you cannot pick me up at my house, you cannot drop me off, and you cannot come in after date. Sorry. That fact also makes it really, really hard to date non-LDS men.

Yesterday I deleted my profile (yes, again!) from an online dating site. After more emails and winks and lascivious propositioning (oh yes, I kid you not- some men think asking a woman for a booty call in the opening email is the pinnacle of suave) than I could abide any longer, I just quit the whole thing.

This may be unpopular to say, but going out with non-Mormon men helped me see clearly just how wide the gulf is between Mormons and regular people on some things. Sure, you can absolutely have an interfaith marriage- I know many people who do and are very happy. And who knows what the future holds for me- but as a convert who has battled and fought for my testimony and how I chose to live my life against tremendous opposition, I don’t want to fight that battle anymore. We like to think we’re not so different than everyone else, paint ourselves as close to credal Christians, make ourselves the family next door- and we’re all those things, but we’re also not like everyone else, and I’m not going to pretend we are.

Is my dating pool looking shallower and narrower to you, too? Yeah, I know- it’s grim. Yet, I’m fairly certain this is what I need to do. I may be looking for something rarer than the mythical purple-glitter rainbow-tailed unicorn, but I know there is someone out there as perfect for me as I am for him. And if he’s perfect in other ways, I can add my own glitter anyway.

15 thoughts on “Date My Mom, Bring Your CV

  1. You go girl! I need to call you, I want to hear all about those dates. I think there may be a fun story or two in there.

    This has nothing to do with anything, but looking at those pictures, Iwant you to come here and do my make up. I think I have eyeshadow and bronzer down, but the art of falsies and eyeliner are yet to be mastered.

  2. Hang in there, Tracy. There are good men out there, I think, but they’re a real bear to find. If anyone deserves one of them, it’s you, and I’m confident it will happen at some point.

  3. Good for you! You’ve got a smart attitude and outlook about the whole dating thing. And I love your rule about not exposing your kids to every first date that comes around. That is sound wisdom. You’re a smart cookie.

  4. I think you have a great attitude about it; My sister-in-law was widowed after only four years of marriage (with a one-year-old daughter). It took her seven years to find someone, but she was glad that she was picky about it. There were a few somewhat nice guys along the way, but they all had issues that she just wasn’t willing to deal with. She said the same things you did.

  5. Wow! You have it together and really put into words what I have wanted to advise my sister (who divorced 4 years ago). You have a vision of what you and your family need. You understand the role your faith plays in what you need and you are dedicated to your faith. I hope you hang in there and keep your eyes open because you will find it. I love the way you express all this and will have to direct my sister to your blog to see if she can learn a little from it.

  6. Wish you were in Northern Utah! I have a single friend who has already “found himself” and is a fabulous guy.

  7. Random story: My aunt went through a similar thing – 3 kids and all. She dated for the longest time and after years she decided to give up. She figured that if you added up all of the single, nice, clean cut young men who have died in all the wars over the years the dating scene in the Spirit World would be pretty awesome – and no bodies so you didn’t have to worry about a date pressing a “physical relationship.” Reluctantly, she agreed to one more blind date that her neighbor kept pressuring her to go on and presto, she met Mr. Perfect. He’s one of the best men I’ve ever known, and has been perfect for her and her boys. And she’s had a tremendous influence on his kids. Anyway, the random story is to say that I know you’ll find your perfect guy. He’s out there praying for you too.

  8. Amen to what you said! I’m recently divorced and had a lady in my ward approach me about a guy her husband works with. She told me he was a great person, though not LDS–“He just needs to meet a great LDS girl!” It was all I could do to not turn tail and run out of the cultural hall. I just got away from a man who was a “project”. This time around I’m looking for someone who is ready to wear right off the rack–no major mending or alterations involved!

    Kudos to you for sticking by your standards. I say you can’t be too picky when you have kids involved. Hang in there!

  9. I am glad that I am not the only one doing the single mommy thing. I know we are supposed to be patient but it does tend to be hard. It is really hard being a Mormon, single mommy.

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