Single Minded Moms; When Should You Give Yourself Permission to Date?

By Melissa Chapman

Bubbly, fresh-faced, rock star extraordinaire to the pre-school set, Suzi Shelton, actually has a lot to say about the answer to this question. Standing, amid cheering five year-olds and their parents swinging their hips to her catchy tunes like; “So Long Chocolate Cake,” Shelton appears pretty comfortable in her skin. But everyone has a back story, including Shelton, who as a single mom valiantly dated with her toddler in tow!
“When I got pregnant with my son Sebastian his father and I, who had been dating for two years, decided to move in together to test the waters,” says Shelton. “However, after he was born, our relationship became more about raising him, than focusing on each other.” 

Despite their best efforts to make it work; even attending weekly counseling sessions to understand the reasons behind their relationship’s demise, they finally decided to call it quits.

“Even though he was just two years old I really believe that Sebastian could sense that I wasn’t happy living with his Dad,” says Shelton. “We both knew that we wanted Sebastian to be raised among love, and we realized that arguing all the time was definitely not the kind of environment we wanted to raise him in.” 

Like every single working mom Shelton faced the challenges of raising her son, paying the bills, finding adequate baby care and trying to be “okay” with the fact that her ex was already dating someone new.
“I was alone for a good solid year and I thought this is how my life was meant to be,” says Shelton. “I wasn’t even interested in meeting anyone else. And I couldn’t imagine having to go through another break-up and drag Sebastian through it too.”
Shelton admits that dealing with all these single mom challenges was a gradual process for her, and that joining a meditation group really helped her find and center herself. A year later feeling a renewed sense of confidence and truly blessed to have her little fella, she and Sebastian spent Christmas with her family in Ohio. When her mother offered to babysit Sebastian and encouraged Shelton to tag along with her sister and meet up with a group of friends, Shelton welcomed the opportunity to just hangout!
Then life threw her another curve ball, but this time, it was a good one! That night she got reacquainted with an old high school friend named Dave and it was like being hit by a lightning bolt of instant mutual attraction.
“I think because Sebastian was only two and a half at the time and still pretty young, when I introduced him to Dave that weekend he thought of him as just another friend that he was meeting,” said Shelton. “I really think how and when you introduce your child to your new friend depends upon their age. If Sebastian was older I might have handled things differently.”
And yes, those first few weekends, when Dave flew into New York City and stayed over at Shelton’s place were a bit tricky. Mostly Shelton worried about letting Sebastian get attached before knowing whether things between her and Dave were long-term.
“Initially I worried what if we broke up my child would be scarred forever?” says Shelton. “But Dave earnestly tried to make a connection with Sebastian, and they’d just be like two buddies hanging out playing trains and Sebastian loved having a playmate!”

Having this experience under her belt, Shelton’s offers single moms ready to take the dating plunge, a little sage advice.

“The two key things you need to take into account are how old your child is and how important this person is to you,”says Shelton. “But you should never feel like you can’t date. If you have someone in your life that is making you feel good your kids will want to meet this person.”


Other Single Minded Women Articles You Might Enjoy:

Single Mom Seeking’s Rachel Sarah Helps Single Moms Get their Date On!

Single Minded Moms: No Frills Guide to Internet Dating for Single Moms

Online Dating Tips for Single Moms

For more about Suzi Shelton check out, these days her life is pretty interesting. Not only is she currently married to Dave and Mom to a daughter named Emma, but she lives just a few blocks away from Sebastian’s’ Dad, his new wife and son. They are like one big extended family; they even babysit eachother’s kids!