If you’re a single parent it’s likely you’ve tapped the online dating market in an attempt to meet someone. As a single mom, perusing the two online dating sites I’m signed up on is kind of a nightly ritual. I like the idea of swiping left or right – and having the power to block a creeper or reply back that my favorite breakfast food is a mimosa. I mean, berry-berry pancakes.

According to a new study by Plenty of Fish (POF), an online dating site, 44 percent of the women who are online looking for love (or a date, or some action) are single moms – so clearly I’m not alone. I reached out to a few others for tales of the good, bad and ugly of online dating as a single mom:

No sex, please, we’re single moms?

“I hate when guys post pics of their groans and happy trails. All they are saying is, ‘I want sex.’ And that’s an obvious turnoff for a single mom.” – Laura D.

Must love kids dogs

“I met a single dad – sort of – online. I have two kids under 4 and a Labrador retriever. His kid is furry, but a Lab too. Babysitting can be tough, so I arranged for him to meet us at a dog park. I explained I talk to everyone at the park while the kids play with all the dogs. It was the best first date. Our dogs got along, we got to know each other and it was fun seeing him interact with my kids (who had no idea I was on a date). We’ve been together 7 months.” – Mollie C.

Sleep deprivation has lost its allure

“One guy took me ‘clubbing’ after our sushi date. Ugh! I get that I’m a young single mom (I’m 22), but I’m so past bottle service and dancing until I’m sweaty. Also, he kept me out until 3 a.m., so I got 2.5 hours of sleep before my toddler demanded Cheerios and Elmo.” –Olivia D.

Shake up that routine

“I love dating online as a single mom. I’m really selective about who I chat with or wink at –or swipe right to. If it doesn’t work out romantically, I always consider it a fun way to shake things up. Single motherhood can be pretty routine, so a nice dinner, jazz club or hike with a new friend is cool.” – Sara W.

For more intel on the fearless and fun trend of single mothers making their mark on the online dating market, I spoke to Sarah Gooding, Director of PR and Resident Dating Coach for POF. Check out our chat:

Christine Coppa: 44 percent of women on your site are single moms. Wow! Why do you think moms are taking over the online dating pool?

Sarah Gooding:

Single moms have hectic schedules and likely don’t encounter many single men in their day-to-day lives, which makes online 
dating the perfect solution. Online dating can be done while watching a 
soccer game, waiting to pick up from dance class – or late at night over a glass of wine. This makes it easy and accessible for single mothers who are always on the 
go. Online dating is also a great option for single mothers who are a bit apprehensive about dating again and would prefer to put themselves back on the dating market gradually. 

CC: Agreed, so help us single moms out. What’s
 a good headline for a single mom? Should we be bold and write 
something like “Must Love Kids” or is it better to lure him in with something more general?

SG: Single 
mothers should never attempt to hide or downplay their children, but I 
would recommend leading with you, not your kids. You are the star of your dating profile!

CC: What’s your take on single moms posting pics of their kids on dating sites?

SG: Whether
 you’re a single mother or not, your profile photos should be about you –
 not you and your girlfriends, not you and your cats, and not you and your kids. There is plenty of time to show your date photos of you and 
your children and share how much you love and adore them.

CC: What are some tips for a single mom when she writes the “about me” section?

SG: Before writing your online dating description, consider these two pieces of advice: Similar
 to your photos, your online dating description should focus on you. Of 
course, not mentioning your kids would seem disingenuous because they 
are such a large part of your life. That said, it’s not necessary
 to elaborate on how important they are to you and how much you love 
them. These conversations will happen in due course if and when the 
relationship progresses.

Secondly, write about what you do for a living and want in a relationship – not want you don’t want. Mentioning things like, “I don’t want someone who is full of drama” or “I’m not interested in anyone who plays mind games” reads a little bit like a list of what went wrong in previous relationships. Focus on the attributes and 
qualities of your ideal partner and leave out any underlying resentment 
towards past partners.

CC: Single moms are 3.4 times more likely to date a single father than a childless woman is – why so?

SG: Single
 moms and dads understand that children are always the first 
priority. This can be a difficult reality for someone without kids to understand and accept. Additionally, single parents live a similar lifestyle (typically revolving around their child’s schedule) and can relate to the difficulties of going through a divorce or dealing with an absentee parent. There’s more common ground.

CC: I love that the study addressed the fact that single moms aren’t looking for knights in shining armor or insta-dads for their kids. Tell me about what the study revealed.

SG: Generally speaking, single mothers on our site are independent, happy and are very clear about what they are looking for in a partner. They typically don’t waste their time with anyone who is not serious about finding a relationship or being part of a loving family. Of course, this doesn’t mean they are looking for a partner to fill the void of a father. Instead, they tend to look for a partner who will love their children and be a positive role model. It’s a whole package deal, not an I-need-you-to-be-my-kid’s-daddy thing. Big difference.

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Photo by  Andrew Neel on Unsplash


Author, blogger, reporter and cheese-lover Christine Coppa has written extensively for Glamour, Babble and Yahoo! Parenting. She wrote the single-mom memoir Rattled!. Christine hopes someday to find a man with her golden retriever's personality. She lives in New Jersey with her son.

1 Comment

  1. Angry Ann

    Angry moms rule to the world. I was raised by one. We all were. That’s why the world is full of such happy people.