Behind every pretty, smart, and successful woman stands...herself. Being single can be empowering and more importantly, it’s fun! But at some point, many single mothers toy with the idea of dating again. And thanks to online dating sites, getting back out there is easier than you think. All those nights spent stalking people on Facebook and Instagram, well, online dating is kind of like that. So if creepin’ is totally your jam, chances are, you’re going to actually enjoy this.
Building a profile is something you should take seriously. This is akin to a writing a resume for a job that you really want. You are searching for someone who may potentially meet your kid(s) and become a regular part of your life. You know the saying, “…you get out what you put in.” Same concept applies here. Time is of the essence for single mommies, so writing a good profile is key to finding the right types of guys. And it’s absolutely cheaper than springing for a babysitter, only to find yourself winding up on dead-end dates.
Think of online dating like marketing. In case you slept through this course in college, marketing is the action of promoting and selling products and services. In this case, you are marketing yourself. Think of it as self-promotion. Make sure your profile highlights your assets, personality, and what you want in a date; not what other people tell you that you need. This is about you.
Here is how to build a dating profile that doesn’t suck, gets you noticed, and better yet, actually works!
Choose a Dating Site
There are many options when it comes to dating sites, so choosing the best one may seem like a daunting first task. There is no right or wrong answer for which platform you should pick; it basically just comes down to personal preference. But remember, the bigger players usually have the most subscribers, so your chances of success are higher. Reputable sites like Match.com and eHarmony have over 120 million members combined.
There is an equally long list of sites to stay away from. Sorry Tinder, hook-up sites probably aren’t best for finding a suitable, long-term guy. Stay away from any site with XXX or suggestive words in the name, need I say why? But also, it is not uncommon for these sites to share your data with third party vendors (i.e. you will be spammed…a lot). And I also suggest staying away from the free sites that don’t require a paid subscription to be a member. Paid subscription sites mean you have some skin in the game. Chances are, this is where you will find higher quality guys who are also taking this whole dating thing seriously. Furthermore, paid sites allow you the option to block people and report concerns, which is helpful when you live near Scottsdale, AZ and men 40 years your senior keep asking you on dates.
Select a Profile Picture
Your mom probably used to say that “…it’s what’s on the inside that counts.” Well, you aren’t trying to date your mom, and unfortunately looks do matter to a proportionately high number of guys. Selecting a picture is important because he can’t get to know you if he swipes right past you! Remember, there are hundreds (sometimes thousands) of profiles for a given area, so you have like 1.5 seconds to grab his attention. I know you love that picture of you and your girls from Cancun, but this isn’t the place for that (he’ll be confused… which one is she)? And that really cool bungee jumping picture where you’re free falling from a bridge? Save it because he can’t even see your face.
Choose a headshot that highlights your face and shoulders (not too close, not too far away). A non-selfie is preferable, but I realize the world we live in, so it’s a judgment call. Work head shots are also great, think LinkedIn profile picture, as long as your aren’t wearing anything too stiff and formal. And for the love, do not use a narrow picture that you had to crop someone out of. When we see an awkward hand, or random strand of hair, it leaves us wondering who used to be standing next to you.
At the bare minimum, follow these criteria:
- Use a good quality image - no blurry pics allowed
- Save the cleavage shots for another time
- Make sure the lighting is good - too shadowy makes it look like you’re hiding something
- Do not crop people out and leave behind stray body parts
- Recent photos only - preferably six months or less
- No kids in profile pics - just you
- Choose a picture of yourself that you love - confidence is key
Looks are what will grab his attention, but your personality is what will keep him. Your mom wasn’t totally lying.
Build a Photo Library
The more the merrier! The first thing you will notice about a guy who catches your attention is that you’ll want to see more pictures. Guys are visual creatures and are exactly the same. Try to upload, at a minimum, five photos. eHarmony did a recent study that showed 10+ was preferable. Here is where you can put your bungee jumping and girl’s night out photos. But be sparing… ten huge groups shots from a distance aren’t all that helpful. And don’t pull a bait and switch. That college pic from eight years ago when you weighed twenty pounds less and had platinum blonde hair...if it doesn’t closely resemble you anymore, save it for Throwback Thursday.
What about my kids? Yes! If you are comfortable sharing pictures of your children, absolutely do so. Limit it to one or two, maximum, and make sure you are also in them. This guy is trying to figure out if he wants to date YOU. There will be time to share dance recital pics later.
Choose a Captivating User Name
Think of this like the subject line of an email; who is this from and why the hell should I open it? Choosing a user name is kind of like choosing a Twitter handle or Instagram name. Sharpen those creative skills for this one, because as is true of most user names, the awesome ones are already taken. Think of keywords that relate to you: hobbies, your profession, your city, sports teams you like. Or get super clever and think in terms of license plates (L84TTYM). But picking something tacky like “MissThang34DDD” will haunt you forever, so just don’t.
Hint: Stumped on that license plate? Late for Tee Time (golf lovers unite! And yes, that is an actual plate from Nebraska).
Write a Bio that Doesn’t Suck
Guys have notoriously short attention spans, so unless you are detailing how you rebuilt a car from scratch, keep this section to the point; be concise, mind your grammar, and use complete sentences. Highlight who you are, what you like to do, what your best qualities are, and what type of guy you are looking for. Try to stay away from using the word “I” repeatedly (i.e. I like this and I like that, and I did this and I did that). Write your bio using descriptive words rather than sounding like a narcissistic asshole.
Self-promotion is really hard for a lot of people, especially women, so ask a friend to help you if you get stuck (seriously, have them help you list your strengths and best features). Best friends are great for highlighting qualities you might easily overlook about yourself.
Keep it light-hearted and add in some humor. Be sure you are writing a bio that is true to yourself as you currently are, not who you wish you were, or who you want to become. Nobody likes a poser. And for readability, break your bio into short sections, separated by line breaks to make the content easier to digest. You are writing a summary, not a novel. And keep the tone upbeat. Rather than stating everything you don’t want in a potential date, state what you do want. Positivity attracts positivity.
Kids…To Say or Not to Say
Should you beat around the bush and creatively hide the fact that you are indeed a mother? No. There is nothing to be gained by covering up this huge and very important fact. Do you really want to date a guy who wouldn’t even consider you if he knew he were a mom? These guys likely don’t have much staying power for the long haul anyways; better to not waste your time.
Being a mom means that your child is a major component of your life, and that whomever you choose to date will potentially become a part of their life too. How would you feel about dating a guy who hid this fact from you? You don’t need to go into detail, nor should you, about the relationship status with your baby daddy, and you can save the small details about your child’s personality until after you are dating someone. I know it’s hard not to talk about your kids (it’s what we do as moms), but remember, this guy isn’t on Match.com to find a kid, he is looking for a partner…who just may or may not happen to be a mommy.
What are you waiting for? Get back out there. Follow these guidelines and build yourself a dating profile that doesn’t suck. Keep an open mind about the men you meet, take the time to fully read their profiles, and don’t give out any personal information too quickly. Most importantly, use that motherly instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Be sexy, be confident, be you!