I find it hard to meet men as a single mom because I don't exactly hang out at adult centric places these days. There's always online dating, but that comes with its caution sign. I got to thinking about where I met nice guys over the past six years of single motherhood—turns out I met a bunch of nice dudes when I least expected it. You can too! Here are a list of places you should visit with your child, but keep your eyes wide open, too.
DUH, this seems pretty obvious, but it's the kind of park that really matters when you're looking to scope out the scene. If you're going to a park with jungle gyms and swings, pick one that has a fenced in area and isn't overwhelmingly big. Why? Because you can control your kiddo and let your guard down a little bit. I met a really cool single dad at a park in Montclair, NJ. Edgemont Park is fenced in, there's safety rubber flooring, and fun apparatuses and swings for the kids. Because my son was secure in the fenced in area, I was able to sit down on a bench and chat with this guy. This is something I couldn't do at a great park like Van Suan in Paramus, NJ. It's awesome, but overwhelmingly big, so I can't take my eyes off my kiddo.
And no, it doesn't have to be a PLEASE TOUCH, KID museum. Research museums in your area and you'll find that most of them have a kid corner or even family day events. Over the weekend I took my son to the Morris Museum in Morristown, NJ to visit the Dr. Seuss Festival. There were craft stations and bright, engaging exhibits for ALL ages.
I'm a big fan of lunching with my son and I try to avoid chain restaurants because I want him to eat healthy and learn how to behave in places that don't just serve up nuggets and crappy plastic toys. I'm not saying take your kid to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, but with spring and summer rounding the corner don't be afraid to take your kiddo to a place with outside seating where everyone isn't on parent duty. We love Big Daddy's in NYC and Blue Moon in Englewood. Both have sidewalk seating, cocktails, and offer up yummy eats. Because both places are situated in areas where you can walk around and explore—we do just that after our meal.
My son loves walking around car shows and who goes to car shows? Guys! It's a great way to get exercise, engage your kid in an outdoor activity that usually hosts ice cream and raffles—and who knows, meet someone—with a badass set of wheels, to boot.
Home Depot or Lowes
Both of these giants host kid craft days on the weekends (Just check in with your local stores). My son loves to woodwork and build things during the half-hour slot and then walk around the massive store. He surprisingly loves to visit the bathroom, kitchen, and lighting area. Ikea is another cool and unexpected place to potentially meet someone and it's an awesome space to visit with kids. The store has a yummy cafe and play space for kids.
No, you don't have to belong to a gym to visit one with your kid! My son takes swim lessons at New York Sports Club, but I'm not a member because there's a gym in the building where we live. While my son does his swim lesson, I hop on a treadmill (most gyms don't mind if you use equipment while your kid takes an expensive private lesson) or hang in the lounge/juice bar area (Yum: Green Juice Take 5!). Gyms also host kid days that are ding-ding-ding FREE. This Saturday, my son and I are attending a Kids Get Moving event at the gym. My son is going to take free trial yoga, circuit, kickboxing, and swim classes. There's also refreshments, a face painter, and prizes. I'm excited to scope out the scene is this healthy environment.
The most important thing about meeting someone is honing in on things you enjoy doing with your kiddo. It's nice to meet someone with similar interests. Chances are, meeting someone at 2 a.m. in a club isn't your slice of cake these days, well at least not mine. I'm snoozing.
What are some other places you go with your kid that aren't so kiddy?