As a single parent, one of the hardest things for me was getting back into dating. With all of the early health issues aside, a small part of me always felt guilty about leaving my child to do anything other than work. Much of that was the result of having grandmothers who never worked outside the home and having a mom who was also a housewife most of my childhood. I grew up with the view that the mother's primary responsibility wasn't to herself but to her child(ren). So, that's the mentality I took on upon becoming a mother.

Over time, I've come to accept the fact that the difference between my examples and myself is that they had husbands at home. I still have to make time to obtain mine, which will not happen if I don't make time for myself.

So, I've recently begun dating. My daughter just turned 8, and I hadn't even considered dating seriously since before she was born.

Over the years, I've seen some of my friends enter relationships and exit relationships. I've seen them get really close to someone, sometimes even living together; but things fizzle out. One of my biggest fears is having my daughter to see different men enter and exit my life. Of course she wouldn't come into contact with everyone I've seen, but I'm even afraid of the possibility of a man taking on a father's role with her just in case things don't work out between us. I don't want to face the possibility of him leaving her life after a bond is developed.

I've seen instances where step-parents stay in the child's life even after they're no longer with the biological parent. But there is one instance that scares me to my core.

I know that a significant other is supposed to help share your burden and make your load a bit lighter, but I can't seem to understand how mothers are comfortable leaving their daughters alone with their stepfathers (or mom's boyfriend). There are some men in my life who I know beyond a shadow of doubt would NEVER hurt my daughter in any way, but I'd never leave her alone with them. With their families, yes. Alone? Nope.

I know there are some times where mothers have to make difficult decisions and have to rely on whoever's available, but I just can't see leaving my daughter with a man who is not her biological father. At some point, I'm sure I'd have my significant other to pick her up from school, drop her off at her cousins', take her to gymnastics, etc. But as a mother, I can't see taking on a job where I have to work overnight and leave my daughter with a man, whether he's my husband or just a friend who is helping me with living expenses.

Single mothers, I want to hear from you. At what point did you feel comfortable leaving your daughter with your man... Or am I perfectly normal in saying it'll never happen? If you're a man who has taken on a father's role, do you take extra steps to make the child feel comfortable? Was it awkward for you in the beginning?

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