Fish, Bicycles and Tables

by mssinglemama on August 27, 2011

I received such a sweet e-mail this weekend and had to share. This one is from

Thanks for your awesome site! I am single and pregnant, 30 yrs. old, and 17 weeks along. Was engaged then canceled the wedding, ended the relationship and (surprise!) I’m pregnant! I love how upbeat and positive and progressive you are. How do you handle bad days? I seem to have a lot of bad days because I’ve been so sick all along and am still getting over the breakup and baby’s father issues. Sometimes I don’t know how to face what’s coming, and although I’m independent, smart, and well-educated, and I have a good job, I get scared about the lack of support I have.. family lives in another town and have had a rocky relationship… friends are great but they have a lot going on in their own lives and my closest ones are single/childfree and live in other cities too. So I’m trying to figure all this out… Your blog gives me hope that me and the little one will one day again be traveling, shopping, coffee out, exploring awesome cities, and learning and growing like I’ve done before but in a different style… I love reading what you and Benjamin are up to, and OMG, what a cute kid!!!!

I love the way this girl thinks.

So (after reading that fabulous link above), tell me–what does he bring to the table? That guy you are dating or considering dating? Or, if you have no flames now, what about your ex? What did he bring to the table?

If you are drawing a blank… well, you can get the drift. What if he actually takes from your table? Makes you feel anxious, plays on your insecurities, or what if he has good intentions but by dating him you are distracted from what matters most?


What a tricky thing, this single mom dating thing. And I have to tell you, now that Benjamin is five years old, dating is not the same. Even if I go out for the night with girlfriends, I am ruined the next day. Tired and hung over do not fit into my schedule. Throw a date in the mix and wow…  there is the prep ahead of time and then the date itself. So, if I am going to take the time to go out with a guy I am finding that my standards and requirements are higher than they ever have been.

My table definitely feels full. And also ringing in my head is the Gloria Steinem quote Angi shared in her comment on this post – ““A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.”

I love it and would love your thoughts on this.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura August 28, 2011 at 12:20 am

Shouldn’t women think about what their date brings to the table anyway? I think it shows how culturally ingrained poor self esteem is for women in our culture that we continually choose to date and marry men who detract from us. I realize the power of loving someone despite their flaws and acceptance, but lets face it, many of us ended up as single mom’s because our relationships with our ex’s became damaging to us and our kids. Perhaps, if we thought more carefully about what we bring to the table and had a more positive view of ourselves, we would have those who are of our standards rise to the occasion. If I am spending the time, the money, and the energy to go on a date, I sincerely hope that its worthwhile because I believe that I am worthwhile (and guess what! my kid is worthwhile too).


mssinglemama August 28, 2011 at 11:15 am

YES! We absolutely should. And this is an awesome comment. Everyone read it.


Hayley August 28, 2011 at 12:48 am

I hate to say – but my ex envoked lust with his unbelieveable appearance. That lust clouded EVERYTHING!!!! I totally forgot I even had a Table. And when I remembered about my Table and the red flags about him began, I set my Table ablaze not wanting to have my fantasy infringed upon! How crazy is that? It’s ridiculous!!! And that’s why I’m a single mom. I dismissed my Table like an idiot!


Mike November 8, 2011 at 10:36 am

It’s not that bad its okay.


Star August 28, 2011 at 7:28 am

I have to say…dating with kids is really hard…but being engaged and a single mom is no easier. Now that the euphoria of finding someone that brings everything to the table that I was looking for has worn off, I’m still constantly trying to balance having a young relationship and young children…and now needy stepchildren. There are definitely reason why the traditional dating, then marriage, then kids model exists. It is so hard attending to the needs of everything at the same time. My fiance is extremely supportive but it doesn’t eliminate my type A perfectionist conscientious self from trying so hard to attend to everyone’s emotional needs and feeling a little overstretched! Add a new set of needy in-laws to that and I can tell you…finding prince charming is not the end of the story!


mssinglemama August 28, 2011 at 11:15 pm

This is an excellent point and I can say I know exactly how you feel, having recently been engaged (as you all know). It seems like it would be magical and wonderful – and it is, because there are those perks to being in a relationship – but managing all of it is very difficult. I’m not sure what the solution is. I think you just have to want it bad enough to work for it.


Anna August 28, 2011 at 8:05 am

Now that I have an ex-boyfriend (bleh), I’m realizing what a relief it is to return to “just the two of us” — me and The Boy. Will anyone ever bring enough to “the table” for it to be better than “just the two of us”? Maybe not. And I’m OK with that. At least right now I am…


Momma Sunshine August 28, 2011 at 8:08 am

For me it’s not all about being a single mom that has made me raise my standards. It’s also about simply being older, wiser, and having a better sense of myself than I did when I was in my 20s. Throw in being a mom – which is a huge reality check and teaches us all about priorities in life – and that makes for a woman who no longer wants to waste years “settling” for a man who doesn’t bring anything to the table.


Lara August 28, 2011 at 8:44 am

This is a timely post. I’ve think the table metaphor is a good one for all kinds of relationships, and it’s one I’ve been mulling over quite a bit lately. I’d like to say what my daughter and I bring to the table will be enough for us, but I just don’t know. I’ve been w/o a partner for three years now, and it’s getting increasingly hard to do it on my own – it being not the day to day parenting but the going to bed every night without anyone to share it with. So we’ll see. But I’ll be thinking A LOT about my table. Thanks!


eb August 28, 2011 at 9:22 am

Bono of U2 said, “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” in one of my favorite songs. I like that too. Didn’t know Gloria said it similarly first.

I have no time for dating. Sounds fun but the reality of it is not worth it much like what you said.


April August 28, 2011 at 12:47 pm

I think the real question to ask is, “What do I want a partner to bring to the table?” Juggling career and kid often feels like a lot and I question being able to successfully juggle a relationship as well. But maybe I’m looking at it the wrong way. Maybe I need to see a relationship not as something that pulls from my table and my energy – not as something that requires me to take care of someone else but as something wonderful, helpful and complimentary to my life. Anything less than that is off the table…


Missjlouise August 28, 2011 at 7:56 pm

My ex brought mostly good stuff to the table including being a fantatic father! My mistake was getting rid of everything I had at my table to make room for his “glory” I made him my God and he stood on me. Now my table is looking better than ever and I have tight guestlist on those invited. Like Lara said this can apply to all types of relationships.


MissMissy August 29, 2011 at 5:55 pm

WOW!! Hayley COMPLETLEY summed it up! I literally could not of said it any better… the only difference is that we (baby daddy) and I have grown up together. As far as the table, I lost complete sight of ever even having one, and what I bring. He admittedly brings NOTHING and didnt deserve even a portion of what I poured into him. In the end, it is all completely my fault that I stayed and allowed this to continue, all for the sake of a 18 year “friendship” and trusting a man for the first time ever in my life. The result is: single, pregnant when I wasnt supposed to be able to have children, with a man, pardon me, BOY that will never step up to the plate, and completely terrified.
But now I can say… I have sight of the table… and there one and a half sitting at it. And that’s just perfect for now and until a worthy team member comes along; then Ill contemplate another chair.


Melissa August 30, 2011 at 1:34 pm

I love what Hayley said. I too, have once burned my table for a man who was just so smooth I didnt even realize what was happening. I lost sight of everything else BUT him. Never again. That was years ago. I like the TABLE idea. I have yet to meet anyone who brings enough to the table to offset what he takes away from it. Lets face it, no man will ONLY bring TO the table. They will all take away a little something…its the man who can bring me a balance that im looking for. There are some things on my table I could stand to lose…if he could replace them with something better.


Jacqueline August 31, 2011 at 2:52 am

I have been a single Mommy for all of eight months and I am not even ready to date. And when I think about it, I imagine what can a man bring to the table for not just me but my boys as well. Tricky new life indeed.


Angi August 31, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I go in phases of wanting to date and not. When I get asked out I start going “there”…Marriage, more kids, etc. Ugh. I was asked out by a friend I haven’t seen in nearly 15 years. I was all excited that it might be the right time for both of us. It was about 3 weeks between the “asking” and the “going out.” For three weeks I had angst and was stressed, wondering if this could be the one. Nope. I just didn’t feel anything. Once I got past that date, I’m back in the space of being totally okay being alone. I LOVE her quote under her post #3: “If I am alone for the rest of my life because I don’t find something great, then I will still die a happy lady. Happiness is my goal – not any old relationship.” I don’t know if I have room at my table but for me and my little guy right now.

Thanks for posting MSM! 🙂


Kate September 1, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I REALLY love that quote. Thanks for posting this.


susan September 4, 2011 at 4:47 am

hmmm i think maybe i have a different take on this. i would say that the table is already piled high with all things good – and a few things that threaten to topple off…i don’t seek anyone who may bring anything else to the table – but i would be real happy to meet someone who might be glad to pull up a chair and join me there. if they have some good stuff to add then that’s great too.


Sarah September 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I wonder if you’ll ever stop being a narcissist. Do you ever do anything for others? Volunteer, use your “fame” to help others, etc…? Do you ever think that your lack of a boyfriend or love or whatever isn’t the end of the world? I have never read such a self absorbed blog.


Michelle September 9, 2011 at 9:23 am

If this is how you feel, why do you read this blog?


EMMA September 9, 2011 at 3:51 pm

I recently broke up with someone that brought everything “to the table”…so why u may ask did i break up w/ him…because i didnt bring the most important thing to the table !! luv!!! i was not in luv!! i didnt feel attrated to him…!! so what happens then?? what if its us that dont bring everything to the table??


Max September 11, 2011 at 6:40 pm

This analogy is flawed. Say you bring “wit, or intelligence, or a successful career” to the table. But he is looking for kindness, humour, attractiveness and intelligence. And he brings many things to the table you are not looking for. What this is, is just a way to rephrase the term “laundry list” – a dreadful way to search for a partner as you focus on minor aspects of their life and ignore their personality. THIS type of laundry list search leads to low self-esteem; people judge themselves by wealth, education and a list instead of just feeling good about themselves.
I am not surprised this ‘table’ idea appeals to a bunch of women who simultaneously have low self-esteem with an unrealistically high opinion of themselves.
Your “standards and requirements are higher than they ever have been” yet how many men would think highly of a woman who can barely handle a night out? How about instead of lists and tables you just find someone who you like for their personality, and who ignores your flaws and likes your personality? Crazy I know.
P.S. Fish don’t need bicycles… but fish want bicycles so badly.


kaleigh October 20, 2011 at 11:29 am

Some people are single moms because they dont want to be in a relationship. also they are single because they dont want to be with the dad because maybe the dad is not a great dad he maybe is a dead beet dad..Or maybe the mom jus dont want to be with that person.


anton August 6, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I really love this one..Looking for partners? Why don’t you try this site?


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