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How do you have a new relationship as a single parent with limited childcare options?

(33 Posts)
muminthecity Mon 15-Feb-16 14:46:13

I'm a single parent to a lovely 10 year old DD. I split from her dad 8 years ago and have been (mostly happily) single throughout this time. I have dated and had the odd short lived fling but nothing serious, and never been at the point where I would even consider introducing someone to DD.

However, I met someone lovely 6 weeks ago. We have had several dates, lots of long phone conversations and just recently spent the night together. He's the first person in all this time that I think I might want a serious relationship with. He feels the same.

The trouble is, I have very little opportunity to see him. I've been lucky with childcare so far but the person who usually babysits is moving away next week and will no longer be able to help out.

I can of course pay a babysitter occasionally but I don't have much money and this wouldn't be possible for more than a few hours at a time.

My main question really, I suppose, is how a relationship would work at the point where we want to spend more time together/stay overnight together but but not yet at the point where I'd feel comfortable bringing him into my DD's life? Has anyone been in this situation? How did you make it work?

Rebecca2014 Mon 15-Feb-16 14:51:14

Single parent, similar situation except I do get childcare help sometimes. I think it have get point where you invite the date round to your house in the evening, when your child asleep.

muminthecity Mon 15-Feb-16 14:54:44

Thanks Rebecca, I had thought of that but my DD is a terrible sleeper. She is rarely asleep before 10.30 on a school night (despite being in bed quietly with lights out from 9) and even later at the weekends. She's also a really light sleeper, will wake up at the slightest noise.

Kiwiinkits Mon 15-Feb-16 17:39:23

You get your DD really interested in sleepovers. You host her friends for a few sleepovers then wait for reciprocating offers.

summerainbow Mon 15-Feb-16 18:16:15

Was going to say sleep over .
A sleep in babysitter someone prepare to for 20 quid .
Your boyfreind pays .
Any mum freinds that fancy a night off and few bob .
Dad or other famliy members sleepovers

314ty Mon 15-Feb-16 18:27:04

Yes it's hard. My children are too old to be sent off to sleepovers on the instruction of their mother. The older one goes when she is invited/wants to go.

I was recently dumped, officially because he couldn't do ''family'' again. I don't know if that was the real reason but that's the reason I was given, it is very lonely and depressing. I hope you figure something out.

IdaShaggim Mon 15-Feb-16 21:52:14

Watching with interest... My ex brought DD back to me unexpectedly on the first night I'd invited the guy I'm beginning to date back to mine, so I have blown the whole 6 month thing already shock

Totally unintentional though. Hoping to pick up ideas for the future!

MissFlight Mon 15-Feb-16 21:55:39

Sleep over at a friends.
Meet up on the day when dd is at school, DP and I did this, but we both worked shifts, he used to come round after I'd taken them to school wink

Girlfriend36 Mon 15-Feb-16 22:02:08

Its really tricky, I also have a 10yo dd and a couple of years ago when I was dating it was a bit easier as she could reliably be asleep bed by 8.30ish - no chance of that now!

I have got some family locally that would help out occasionally but as dds dad isn't on the scene I don't get any child-free time otherwise.

I think you could have him over to yours but your dd would have to be told in no uncertain terms that she is not to come downstairs, otherwise look for another babysitter? Does your dd have any contact with her dad or do you have any family locally?

muminthecity Mon 15-Feb-16 23:18:00

Thanks for all the suggestions, sorry it's taken me so long to get back to this thread! My sister is local and happy to babysit but she's going away for a few months soon. DD doesn't have any contact with her dad, so that isn't an option. Neither are daytime meet ups - we both work full time, and I'm term time only so no annual leave.

I think I will start hosting lots of sleepovers and hope for the offers to be reciprocated, thanks for that idea!

As an aside, when is a reasonable time to introduce a new man to you DC? Obviously not planning to do that anytime soon, but just wondered when it would be deemed acceptable? Not talking about overnight stays, just first introductions?

SolidGoldBrass Mon 15-Feb-16 23:24:02

I'd say keep first introductions casual, just that this is [name] who is a friend of Mummy's.

lavenderhoney Mon 15-Feb-16 23:26:09

It's ok to have male friends round for coffee and well as female ones. You don't have to be anything other than nice to each other.

You can have a male friend round for tea, or to watch grown up tv with. Not every night but now and then. And not Netflix and chillsmile it will be interesting to see how he behaves anyway.

Your dd can have and host sleepovers. Have a dinner or supper party and invite a couple with DC who will watch a film with yours? And you do need to find a babysitter anyway, in case you have an emergency and need someone. Also it gets your dd used to a babysitter who isn't your sister.

Ikeameatballs Mon 15-Feb-16 23:28:16

My bf met my kids at about 6 months and has seen them quite a bit at my place since then though he's not stayed over at mine with them here yet. Think that might happen over the next few months. I met his ds just after he met my kids and the kids have meet each other though they are v different ages so not in a "let's be friends" way.

I got v pissed off with my ex-bf as he met my kids early on and then got very awkward/anxious about me meeting his or them all meeting together.

For me at 6 months I was making the judgement that I wanted my be to be an important part of my life and that meant meeting my kids. Others might come to that decision sooner. If it got much past that point I'd be wondering why I or they didn't want it to happen and if the relationship had legs.

muminthecity Mon 15-Feb-16 23:37:11

Thanks, it's interesting to hear others' opinions. SolidGold that's exactly how I was planning it to go in the beginning.

I do have friends who would babysit occasionally or in an emergency, but I wouldn't like to ask often and they wouldn't be willing to do it on a regular basis.

Cabrinha Mon 15-Feb-16 23:39:45

I'm aware that I'm in a minority here.

I don't believe that it does children any harm to know that their mother is dating. It also doesn't do then any harm to know that dating is not always a long term thing. I don't mean in a casual way! I mean in a getting-to-know-you-but-don't-know-where-it-will-go way.

In fact, I think it's quite positive that children see their mother not settling. It's a good message to send "I didn't like him enough, so I stopped seeing him".

I think it's wrong for a total revolving door, and I also think it's wrong for kids to be expected to accept someone as My New Daddy, when they're not.

But I don't see a problem with a 10yo being told "X is coming over this evening - he's my boyfriend, I like him though we're still getting to know each other. He'll say hello when he arrives just before bedtime".

The issue to me isn't about a child meeting a boyfriend, but about how much you can trust having a stranger in the house.

It really doesn't sound like your daughter is going to be meeting a new man every 6 months!

gooseberryroolz Mon 15-Feb-16 23:42:30

Lunch dates (lots!). Then dinners and DVDs at home. Then family days out.

I met DH and remarried without using any childcare (DC with autism).

Akire Mon 15-Feb-16 23:42:44

Can you met him on weekend at cinema or park ? He could be just a friend or something for time being. I agree I would want to see how he was around kids and how daughter reacts so you can know better how to pace things.

Some people really find children hard work I would want find out before I got to serious!

gooseberryroolz Mon 15-Feb-16 23:45:33

(Admittedly that only worked because we both control our own hours.)

Cabrinha Mon 15-Feb-16 23:45:35

I probably wouldn't introduce a boyfriend as a friend. I don't see the point - I don't think there's any harm in children knowing that their mother is dating. She's 10 - she'll have a fair idea what a boyfriend is! If you don't usually have male friends popping in, and she's like my daughter, you'll get "oooooooh, is he your BOYFRIEND?!" anyway grin

I also think a gradual low key introduction to the idea that mum dates is potentially easier for a child than being catapulted straight into "tonight you'll be meeting X who you've never heard of, didn't know I'm dating, and btw we're thinking he might move in".

For my 7yo daughter, finding out I had a boyfriend was a combination of giggly curiosity and indifference. I'm glad it was no big deal to her.

muminthecity Tue 16-Feb-16 00:34:18

Interesting to hear the opposite viewpoint. I've often read threads on here where women are criticised for letting a man get to know their children too soon, and I've always thought it'd be awful to let my DD meet someone only for us to then break up. Maybe I'm wrong, and introducing them a bit sooner isn't a terrible thing, as long as it's done gradually?

You're quite right that at 10 my DD is not as innocent as I like to think and would probably assume he was my boyfriend even if introduced as a friend grin

Also, he does have a child of his own who he has regular contact with so he is already used to being around children and understands all that is involved (though I've never seen him around children or met his child yet of course.)

Cabrinha Tue 16-Feb-16 00:41:20

My then 6yo met my last serious boyfriend really quickly. Like, 3 days before we got together grin
He was a plumber working on a big job at my house and met her at work. By the end of the week, I was on girlfriend ratesgrin

So there seemed no point in keeping him hidden. It was actually very useful to see him interacting (naturally and brilliantly) with her.

We dated for 18 months. I could have introduced her at 6 or 12 months, result would have been the same - the split.

The split was amicable. He'd never had a 'father' role - even though we went on hols together with his child (who he was R for). He was just my boyfriend. She was fine with the split.

A year on, he's working on a big job down the road and she stops to chit chat on our way to school some days.

Depends on your child's personality, but I just don't see the drama.

I think a new boyfriend in a low key role at 3 months is actually less of a thing to angst about than a really serious full on one at 12 months.

Cabrinha Tue 16-Feb-16 00:44:51

The way that I try to protect her from splits (she's met 2 boyfriends now - though I've had more!) is two ways:

- I frequently drop in that dating is getting to know someone and may not last (for example, when she gets all giggly about being a bridesmaid, I gently remind her that the man is still on trial!)

- I don't let a man take a big role in her life that would then leave a gap

muminthecity Tue 16-Feb-16 01:04:12

Cabrinha - that's really, really useful. Thanks for sharing your experiences flowers

IdaShaggim Tue 16-Feb-16 06:23:28

Cabrinha flowers from me too, that's really good advice

314ty Tue 16-Feb-16 08:02:17

Yes, agree cabrinha, i basically said same to my dc.
I wasnt able for six months of creeping around.

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