'I've learned through experience that negotiating the combination of dating and 'single-

Today is Singles Awareness Day. For some singles, it’s a time to celebrate on their own; a time to assert their independence and freedom. As a single parent though, you’re rarely, if ever, alone.

I’ve been a single parent for six years. My boys are 11, 9, and 7 years old. When we’re together it’s go-go, high energy and lots of activities. I want every minute to strengthen our bonds and create memories. Even when they’re not home, they occupy my heart and thoughts. Nevertheless, it’s important as a single parent to find moments to be truly single, to have a sit with your thoughts, treat yourself to lunching out, or even a first date!

One advantage I’ve discovered as a single parent is that I don’t need to rejoin the dating circus. Having already helped bring three little humans into the world, I am not looking to reproduce further. And, having nurtured and guided them thus far, I’ve proven myself in no desperate want of a parenting partner. That being said, I have come to a place where I desire to date again, to find someone my own age to spend quality time with. This has been a challenge.

I’ve had a few relationships while parenting solo. I’ve learned through experience that negotiating the combination of dating and single-with-kids takes mindfulness and intention. Consider your feelings about juggling another ball. If the thought creates anxiety or uncertainty, maybe single while parenting is best for you and your kids. That’s great. They will grow up and you can have time in the future to prioritize dating.

When I date, I try to do so with intention. How much of my precious time do I want to spend on the first date carousel? I consider which types of dates will help me decide if it’s worth pursuing something further. And I always have a date plan and a backup plan, because it’s okay to switch things on the move when necessary, we do it all the time as parents.

Whether you are spending Singles Awareness Day with your kids, truly on your own for a bit, or heading out to meet someone new, do something that brings you joy. A little you-time can make for healthier parent-time.

Nils Dahlgren is Awesome Solo-Dad. He writes at awesomesolodad.com and on Instagram @awesome_solo_dad

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