Help, My Mom Is A Player!

The terms 'parents' and 'dating' usually conjure images of stern papas standing at the window with the light on till the wee hours of the night. But this writer's the one doing the waiting. And it's not for her daughter -- it's for her mother. How does one tactfully and gracefully deal when Mom is dating? Find out here.

Woman getting dating advice

Maybe this is payback for all the times I came home past curfew in high school. Because now I'm pacing across my living room, willing the phone to ring, so I'll know that my mother arrived home safely from her evening out with "The Podiatrist". Luckily, before I'm completely convinced this alleged "podiatrist" is actually an ex-con with a foot fetish, my cell lights up. She's home! They had a great time. He has two kids that live in Chicago. Spicy food gives him acid reflux. He does yoga three mornings a week. She's going to the movies with him Saturday. I don't even know The Podiatrist's name, but now I've been briefed on everything else, including his gastrointestinal issues.

My parents got divorced a couple of years ago. And now that the dust from the "d-bomb" has settled, my mom has slowly entered the singles scene. From teaching her how to text to screening potential suitors online, it can be challenging to be a daughter and a dating coach. Here are five tips for dealing when your mom is looking for a second chance at love.

Tip #1: Show her the Ropes

If your mom hasn't been on the market since plaid bell-bottoms were in style and being in a relationship was called "going together", she needs a crash course in Dating 101 ASAP! And who better to clue her in than you? Your experiences (the good, the bad and the ugly) will come in handy when mom needs to craft a witty email to a crush, or an in-depth explanation for why he didn't call. (Back in her day, the only "games" people played involved dice or a deck of cards. Clearly things have changed…)

Tip #2: Tell her to Spare Some Details

You're all for making mom's transition through unchartered territory smoother, but you don't have to always be her personal Carrie Bradshaw. Remind her that some details are better off dished to her friends, not her daughter. Although you've accepted that your parents are building new lives apart, sometimes the reality of how much things have changed can be difficult and sad, no matter how well adjusted you are in your current family situation. While you're delighted she went rollerskating with a man named Alfonso, it's okay to tell her you want to skip the play-by-play of the date.

Tip #3: Teach her How to Crop Her Own Photos

One of the most frustrating experiences you will ever go through is helping your mom set up an online dating profile. This requires the patience of a Buddhist monk or a very, very stiff drink. Be prepared to spend hours helping her compose a winning "About Me" paragraph and cropping images until the perfect profile picture is posted. To avoid being on 24-hour "tech support", walk her through how to upload, edit, crop and "wink" back at someone without your assistance.

Tip #4: Have a Support System

Ring, ring
My brother: "Hello?"
Me: "Who is this Jim character?"
My brother: "He's the skier."
Me: "The skier? Does he have a real job? This guy sounds like a serial killer."
My brother: "Jess, get a grip. I gotta go."
Me: "But mom doesn't even know how to ski! She --"
Click.

Keeping tabs on Miss Social Butterfly can be time consuming and make you a bit delusional. So, having a sibling, friend or spouse to share your "dating coach" duties and ease crazy concerns is key.

Tip #5: Don't Act like Her Mother

Remember, your mom is a smart, successful, level-headed adult who knows how to make good decisions. Her judgment may get clouded every now and then (like when she had coffee with a man that may have been stalking her in a parking lot), but you don't have to play the role of "strict parent". She already had two of those back in the day.

All she has to do is follow your "text me when you get home" policy, and it will be smooth sailing.

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