The Last Time I Went on a Date, I Got Pregnant
Yes. You read that headline correctly.
A couple of years ago, I went out on a date with a guy that I met at a New Year’s Eve party. Over the course of a couple months, there were some nice outfits, a few intellectually stimulating conversations, two dinners, and a few cocktails. Now there is an adorably charming one-year-old little girl, and a 31-year-old VERY single, mildly entertaining, mom.
Yes. I got pregnant. And had a baby. By myself. Well, I’ve been blessed with amazing family and friends – but day-to-day, it’s just Ellie and I.
The very single part of the story is at the crux of the internal struggle I’m having about my New Year’s Resolution. Many around me have been asking when am I going to start dating again. For months my canned response has been, “In the New Year.” Well here we are in the New Year, and here I am wondering how the hell I am actually going to date.
For those of you saying, “What do you mean, ‘How are you going to date?’ Just put your party pants on and get out there,” here is a little word problem that I bet you never encountered in your 3rd grade math class:
John likes Cara. John asks Cara to meet him at 8pm for dinner. Cara asks the babysitter to come over at 7pm to watch Ellie. Before the babysitter arrives, Cara gives Ellie Cheerios and straps her into the high chair so Cara can shower. Then Cara dries her hair, even though the sound of the hairdryer makes Ellie cry. The babysitter arrives. Cara meets John, they have a lovely dinner, followed by some adult beverages, and Cara arrives back home at midnight. The babysitter costs 13 dollars an hour, plus a $20 cab ride home for her, and for the sitter – so neither one of them gets mugged or worse by riding the subway alone late at night.
How much does this date cost Cara?
Well you math whizzes might say $105 dollars. Assuming John picks up the entire tab (which is a topic for a different post).
105 dollars is a FORTUNE in a single mom budget, or any budget for that matter. Four dates in a month, and I can’t pay my rent, or buy groceries. And yes, I could ask one of my very lovely friends to stay with Ellie. But that is a big favor, a long subway ride, and a lot of coordination for…and there is my major question - for what?
Yes, I’d love to meet a partner to share life with, and to build a larger family for Ellie with. But I don’t have time to do things that have a guaranteed return – like scrubbing the tub and mopping the floor. (I really love a sparkling bathroom.) Anyway, dating is a crapshoot under the best circumstances.
And if you have ever dated in Manhattan, you probably know those aren’t the best circumstances. Obviously.
But I’ll let you in on a secret. The real issue is that there is nothing I’d rather do on a Friday night, than give Ellie a bath, give her a milk cup, and put her down.
And then check on her 67 times during the night to make sure she is still breathing.