Who Wants To Date Their Mother?

Do any other reality TV junkies remember a show on TV last year called "Who Wants To Marry Our Dad?" Well, my life is starting to sound very very similar lately. All you have to do is listen to my kids for a day, and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about.

Their father and I separated this year after 10 years of marriage, and all of us have been through some huge adjustments in our lives. I won't dwell here & now on all the details, but just know that it hasn't been easy. We are just now starting to cope well with our new lives, and learning how to figure things out and move forward.

Our daughter seems to be taking the changes better than everyone. Her religious faith is quite strong, and she very confidently has declared that she gave the whole situation to God, and "he has a plan for everyone", therefore she's not worried at all.

Our son, however, seems to be having a tougher time. At fourteen years old, he is trying to deal with his own emotions, his changing hormones, and now this new instinct to step up and be "the man of the house". He is trying to be a father to his sister, and to his mother too. I am an adult, and don't need a "chaperone", and he and his sister already have a father who is not planning to relinquish his role at any point in the future. So this continues to be an ongoing battle with us.

I personally had a very rough time in the beginning, but am now doing okay. I am learning how to live again, as a single woman, but most importantly as a single mother. My kids will always come before my social life, and they have made sure to not let me forget that when it comes to me exploring the world of dating again. In fact, they have each given me their own list of "criteria" that any man should have to pass before being good enough to bring home to meet them. Some are just plain funny, and some brought a tear to my eye. Read on and enjoy:

* Piercings - my daughter said none, while my son said no "weird" piercings (nothing other than ears)

* Tattoos - my son said tattoos are cool, but my daughter said NO tattoos allowed.

* Bad Habits - both said no smoking, and my son added that there shouldn't be any other bad alcohol or tobacco habits. My daughter said he can only drink on special occasions, like weddings and anniversaries.

* Animals - both agreed that he must like dogs, and other animals, too.

* Age - they both said he can't be old, and should be close to my age.

* Sports - both kids said it is important for him to like sports and/or other outdoor activities.

My son says that he must not fight with me, and mustn't ever kiss me in front of them. He wants somebody who will discipline more than I do (at least be harder on his little sister). He also said that "Mr. Right" must like to play video & computer games, and must be taller than 5'1". And his final requirement? He must pass the "Mother In Law Test", meaning my mother-in-law must meet and approve of any man that I think I am ready to bring home to meet my kids.

My daughter is much pickier..... She added that he must have hair, but no facial hair. She hates beards and mustaches. He must have a good paying job, and like to shop. He has to be willing to spoil my kids. He should like to play board games, and listen to the same music as her. He has to attend church. He can't hog the TV, and should enjoy dancing crazy once in a while. She also stipulated that he should know how to cook, do the laundry, and enjoy doing other housework and yardwork without complaint. And of course, he should always be ready to get rid of any creepy-crawly insects or stinging/biting creatures that enter our house.

She then added that anyone who meets any of these additional requirements will get "bonus points" from her: - owns a convertible sports car

- plays any instrument (preferrably a guitar, violin, or piano)

- knows some form of martial arts, or is at least willing to learn

Both kids agreed that this perfect man must be nice and not have a bad temper. He must treat all of us with respect. And most importantly, they said that he must like kids! Sounds a lot like that new movie coming out.... "Must Love Dogs" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0417001/), doesn't it?

As you can see, my kids both have a good head on their shoulders, and seem to be thinking pretty maturely about the idea of "mom" having a life again. I did agree to take their requests into consideration, but would not promise to stick to them completely. There has to be some compromise, right? We want "him" to accept us with all our quirks, and trust me...we ALL have quirks!!

But there will surely be no flexibility when it comes to the requirements of liking kids, and treating us all with respect. I have those on my OWN list of requirements....... But that's another story for another day entirely.

Valerie Zilinsky of Michigan is the single mother of two wonderful yet high-maintenance kids, a 9 yr. old girl and a 14 yr. old boy. She is proud to be the co-owner of the following websites for parents: http://www.RaisingOurKids.com, http://www.RaisingADaughter.com, and http://www.Mom2MomList.com

In The News:

Three Ways to Change Your Parenting in the Teenage Years  Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley
What is platonic parenting?  The Week Magazine
Three ways to avoid parenting entitled children  The Independent | SUindependent.com
Picky, Picky  Slate

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