There’s a long list of things I don’t want to hear my toddler say in the middle of the night. They’re things like “Mommy, I think I had an accident!” and “Mommy, I threw up!” But they pale in comparison to this zinger: Mommy, what’s that guy’s name?
Dating as a single parent isn’t easy. Between work and blogging and Mommy-F time, I have to juggle cooking, cleaning, and try to squeeze in 20 minutes or so for “mental health” purposes. Nailing down a babysitter for “Mommy Nights Out” is hard – not to mention expensive. Most sitters charge $10 an hour, and even if I aim to be home by midnight I’m usually looking at a $50 expense just to get out for the evening. It’s a great treat, but it’s just that: a treat.
After my last break-up, there were two broken hearts to deal with in this household. F missed the man who’d been such a big part of our lives, and although I could see that it was for the best it was a lot harder to get this across to him. And that’s about the moment I decided that F would meet people only after 4-6 months of dating – when I was sure.
And then this happened.
Around the end of August, in an effort to get myself back to me, I reconnected with someone I’d previously gone out with. We both agreed that a no-pressure approach was critical. I saw him about once a week during September. And now, I see him, on average, a couple of times a week – including his Starbucks deliveries to my office (a keeper, I know). We haven’t discussed anything, but we’ve been spending time together more regularly as of late and I found myself wondering if I’d be introducing him to F.
The Friday after Hallowe’en, I might have realized, would be a night of partying for everyone on my babysitter call list. By mid-late afternoon, I had pretty well given up home. When my date asked if he should just come over and have a glass of wine and hang out after F went to sleep, I said sure. It’s not the first time we’ve had a grown-up night on my couch while F slept in his room. I laid on the couch after F fell asleep reading newly-downloaded books on my Kobo until my phone rang letting me know my date had arrived.
I sneaked out to the front door to let him in and we quietly made our way to the other end of my flat without F noticing. Perfect. We had some wine, watched a movie and did the things that people do when they’re dating. It’s important to note that I never stay up past midnight – such a big deal for me. (This is where we should celebrate my awesomeness.) The clock, I learned, read about 3 am when F began crying. I laid with him for a moment and, thinking he was back asleep, I slipped out of his room. My date barely breathed for fear of F hearing him and getting upset. It was fruitless. F wanted to go to my room. Foolishly thinking my date had gone to grab his jacket in the dining room, I walked into the hall with F and he spotted him: the silhouette of a man standing in the light of my bedroom. And then he asked it: Mommy, what’s that guy’s name?
This was so not what I imagined for the first meeting.
Think of the most awkward experience of your life, and then multiply it by 10. I was so rattled by the experience that, after my lovely man friend left, I only managed to sleep for about one hour before getting up at 5 am and making coffee. I was the only one to lose sleep over the incident, but it’s made me think long and hard about whether or not I’m ready for a new guy in our lives and it means a conversation with my hunk next time we get together. Just us. Far, far, far away from my sleeping child.