Where is the best place to find a new partner?

A question - do you want one? I mean do you really, really want one. Do you want one like you want deep fried carbs after six glasses of cheap white? Do you want one like you wanted Joey to end up with Pacey at the end of Dawson's Creek? I mean really, truly want it; wake up in the morning wanting it, go to sleep at night needing it, stumble through life barely able to function for the partner shaped hole in your existence because unless this is the case you might want to consider not worrying your lovely head about the best place to find a partner because finding one is W.E.R.K and having one is A.N.N.O.Y.I.N.G. 

You could channel all the positive energy you would put into your hunt towards work or art or online shopping and the pay offs would probably be much bigger. Don't tell me I'm bitter; don't tell me I'm cynical; don't ask me if I have PMT (I DO NOT. I AM FINE. I JUST HAPPEN TO BE STARTING MY PERIOD IN TWO DAYS. AND WHAT?) because you know that whenever you go for a catch up with the girls at least sixty percent of drinking time is dedicated to how haaaaaard it is to get a relationship or keep a relationship or end a relationship or manage a relationship that has recently ended and isn't being a grown up difficult enough already? 

And OK I'm a hypocrite because I have a partner right now but let me say this, I don't think I found him by looking in the right or wrong places; I think he found me when I became ready for a partner. Finished heaving? Yes, that was majorly smug but you must admit you hear it all the time -  love shows up when you're not looking for it. This doesn't mean hide in your house for long enough and Channing Tatum will knock at the door (for one he's with Jessie J, so you can let that one go now), it means someone will rock up right when you're in the middle of LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE®. And that means doing stuff you genuinely love, things that light you up; make you giggle to yourself in checkout queues, and also, when you're doing that stuff you give off all these good vibes and good vibes are hella sexy. Don't complain that there's no one to date on your darts team or in your knitting circle  or whatever it is that gets you off the sofa because the people you meet doing those things - they have cousins, they throw parties - you could be one one casual acquaintance away from the love of your life. 

If for whatever reason you are prevented from indulging in your favourite pastimes, let's say you have some pesky, selfish kids that require supervision, I think the most practical way to meet people is online. The internet isn't always the most romantic place to hang out (unless you find unsolicited penis pictures swoonworthy) but it saves a lot of time - you can tell people what you want and assess what they're offering without even showering. I've shared my experience of online dating before and the only thing I would add is to write a list of what you would like in a partner and make it very short, include only the core values you require on your Team Romance. It's useful to know what you want, it's even more useful to ensure it exists. I learned the hard way about unrealistic expectations when dating. Learned so much, in fact, that I wrote a book about it. The Reinvention of Martha Ross is launching in paperback as 'The Single Mum's Wish List' and is a Kindle Daily Deal on Thursday 21st February so if you do decide to jack in the finding a partner thing, you could read that instead. 

You’re already good enough: How mums can practice self love

Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash

Here’s a secret most of us tend to forget: We’re enough. Unsurprisingly, one community that suffers perhaps the most from this type of short term memory loss is the mum community. The majority of mums nowadays possess one defining, and ironic characteristic that is in many ways a barrier to self love, and it is: selflessness. Mums are constantly putting their children before themselves. The only problem with this is that they neglect their own needs and personal time. So how does this cycle change? Certainly not by putting your child on the back burner, but by making yourself one of the responsibilities you're juggling. A mum’s practice of self love is at first glance paradoxical, but not impossible. Hopefully these simple practices can offer some help:

Journaling Incorporating the habit of regular journaling into a mum’s overwhelming timetable can appear to be daunting at first. However, over time, this practice can be one that is both educational and fulfilling. Keeping a journal can allow mums a platform to express all their feelings on a day to day or weekly basis. It can even be a great way to remember a mum’s favorite moments with her children. Most importantly, journaling offers a way to measure personal growth and individual accomplishments. Did you get promoted this week? Journal how that made you feel. Did your child express to you how much they love and appreciate you at random? Journal your reaction, document that memory. While most of us like to believe we remember everything, specific emotions in moments like these are often forgotten and deserve to be cherished. Even something as simple as documenting the things you dream of doing and becoming can have a radical impact on how you view yourself. Using a journal to reminisce on successful times, and even to work through tougher times will swing the door to self love wide open.

Keep things comfortable Almost every mum has had a moment where she compares herself to other mums. The truth is, there will always be a mum who dresses better than you, a mum who cooks a better casserole, or a mum who just seems all around cooler than you are. Being able to love yourself means letting go of these comparisons. As difficult as this may seem, it’s a little bit easier to swallow when looked at through the lens of feeling comfortable. Self love begins and ends with feeling comfortable in your own skin, because you truly are already good enough. When you wake up in the morning, what you wear matters just as much as your overall mindset for the day. In every aspect of life you should attempt to maintain comfort, even in areas that seem trivial, like your wardrobe. Whether it’s feeling secure enough in your friendships to share what’s on your mind, or simply putting on the right bra in the morning that keeps you feeling cozy all day, keeping comfortable is crucial to happiness.

Break the routine Most people tend to lose sight of themselves and their own confidence when they’re trapped in the monotonous. While having a schedule and staying organised is a necessity for most mums, bear in mind that it’s okay to break the routine every once in a while. Life isn’t meant to be spelled out in a planner every single day. Life is meant to be lived. There are few things more freeing than waking up to a day with no schedule, and if you haven’t felt this kind of freedom, that’s a sign that you may be too organized. Pick at least one day each month and do something out of character for you. Treat yourself to some freedom! Be sure to make some time for romance as well, a break in your routine that allows for some quality one on one time with your partner is almost never something you’ll regret . Simply start to practice more spontaneity, a mum who is able to let go of things more is more likely to love who she is.

Though the words selfish and mum are rarely used in the same sentence, these simple self love steps hopefully make it easier for mums to think about themselves more mindfully throughout the day. Most mums hide under a facade that she can do it all and stay positive about herself, but in most cases, what’s under the surface is far from optimistic. If you’re a mum reading this and feeling as though you cannot possibly incorporate all of these suggestions into your schedule, just choose one to start with. Even one of these suggestions could make all the difference on your voyage to accepting that you’re already good enough!