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Yes, I date. I’m a dating single mom and it’s hard. Really hard. Even harder than the single mom part. Over the past 2 years, I’ve been constantly adjusting and readjusting my thinking as to do I even want a man in my/our life? My toddler and I have a pretty good little party going on and I’m not sure about letting anyone crash it.

Of course, in many ways, I’d like to “model” a normal relationship for my daughter. I’d like to have one more person to help me pick her up from ballet class on time. But, it’s hard. Any man who wants to be with me, it’s a 2-4-1 special. If he’s in it, he is going to have to love my daughter as much as he loves me. And I don’t mean in a prison-worthy way, which, is, yes, whenever you meet someone new, a constant concern. I have a friend who says if she found a guy and he wasn’t so keen on her child, she’d work around it. For me, there’d be no deep soul searching. He’d be out the door. If he didn’t like my daughter I wouldn’t be able to like him.

Which beings me to: I’ve been dating one special guy for over 6 months. Well, 6 months and 2 days now. He’s been counting. The bulk of my emotional energy goes into things like Penelope’s “Fear of Thunder” and “Standing on Chair” syndrome. But he’s here. He’s met Penelope numerous times and he’s still here. He buys me roses and he even uses the “L” word for both of us even though I am still too muddled to say it. It’s all been quite an adjustment.

I’m so surprised he wants to be with us. When I was single I only had to concentrate on making one person happy: Him. I’d cook for him, surprise him with romantic and interesting junkets around the city, buy him carefully picked out clothes and shoes, and have the time to scour the Zagat’s for cozy, little-known restaurants. Now the best I have to offer is family fun day at the Parrot Jungle and a juice box.

What’s a single mom to think?