Doomsayers will tell you that if you're both a mom and you're over 40, you have two strikes against you when it comes to finding a guy and dating. Don't believe them. All single people have their own sets of challenges – idiosyncratic circumstances they must overcome if they're going to meet someone new. Identify yours, and then figure out how to make them work for you, not against you.
Time Is a Commodity
Motherhood is a full-time job. If you're over 40, you have a few years of experience under your belt, so you've probably gotten pretty good at managing your hours to squeeze all your responsibilities in. You might think there's no possibility you can eke out even more time to meet a guy, but try overlapping your chores and responsibilities with opportunities. You have to go to the grocery store anyway, so do it at times when single men are likely to be there, scowling at the directions on frozen food, wondering if it's microwaveable. Initiate conversation by offering your expertise. Instead of bribing your teenager to walk the dog, do it yourself at a time of day when adult male dog owners are tackling the same task. And don't forget the Internet. When the kids are in bed and you're winding down for the day, pour yourself a glass of wine or a cup of tea and check out dating sites. There are a lot of reputable ones. If nothing else, it will give you an idea of what's out there.
Brad Pitt Is Taken!
So, get over it. Figure out exactly what you're looking for in a guy at this stage of your life. Arlene Ingram, owner of the Atlanta Upscale Singles dating service, suggests focusing on the personal traits you value in a man. If you meet someone who fits the bill, but he's gone a little gray at the temples -- don't automatically cross him off your list. If you reject everyone who's not celebrity-perfect, you might be alone for a very, very long time. This doesn't mean you have to settle for less, however. Make another list of things you really can't live with. For example, a guy with no patience for kids would obviously not be for you.
Practice Makes Perfect
Somewhere inside you there's a 25-year-old woman who once had flirting down to a fine art. If you lost that knack over the years while you were focusing on your kids, then re-kindle that old flirting magic, and put it to good use. If you're in the mall shopping for back-to-school supplies and you spy a nice-looking guy coming up the aisle toward you, make eye contact. Meet his eyes directly. Smile. Practice in front of a mirror if you must, but make sure your kids are in bed first so you don't take a lot of ribbing. Ditch the sweatpants and the ponytail before you go out on errands. You probably wouldn't have gone out without makeup in your twenties, so don't do it now. You're never too busy for a little lipstick or blush. Touching up your eyebrows is a quick fix, even if you wear glasses. Wearing a flirty cap during cool weather or a romantic summer hat gives a guy another excuse to start a conversation.
Ask yourself if the world will end if you don't meet the perfect guy. Is your own company really that bad? When you do have some spare time, don't waste it pining for an unknown Mr. Right. Spring for a babysitter and treat yourself to something you really enjoy doing. Make a reservation at a new restaurant you've been dying to try, or take up tennis. If you're uncomfortable going alone, invite a friend. Not only will you enjoy yourself, but you'll have a much better chance of meeting a guy than if you planted yourself in front of the television with a bowl of popcorn. A guy in your same situation just might take the table next to yours in that restaurant.