Back in the Game?

Before Lily married Rick on the television show Once and Again, the travails of her life as a single mom were among the most realistic on TV. It's not easy to juggle motherhood with the all-too-human wants of the adult woman's heart and body. But where there is a will there is a way.

Here are five tips aimed at getting your daughter used to the idea that mom has a social life.

• Before you begin dating, sit down and have a talk.

Explain to her that while she is indisputably the focal point of your life, it would be unhealthy for her to be your entire life. In order to be the best mom possible, you must have a well-rounded existence -- that includes work that matters, caring friends and a social life. Before you start dating, you want to set some ground rules that are comfortable for her as well as for you. The issues involved here include how many nights a week you are allowed to date, how much time the man or men in question are allowed to spend in your home, whether she is to occasionally be included in the dates (such as in an outing to a baseball game or concert, or a dinner at home), and so forth. Tell her that the ground rules can be opened for renegotiation at any point by either party.

Affirm that your desire to date is not about getting back at or replacing their father, it's about getting on with your own life. Also, tell her that it's not your intention to hide your dating activities from your ex. Your daughter should feel free to talk to her father (within reason) about what's going on in your life.

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