It's a question on the minds of many single mothers playing the dating game: When should I invite my partner to meet my children?
Comedian and actress Kym Whitley is one of those single moms grappling with the "right" time for such an introduction, as the parent of 3-year-old Joshua. On an episode of "Oprah's Lifeclass" about single mothers, Whitley shares how her love life has shifted since adopting her son.
"Before Joshua, I would have men over all the time," Whitley says. "But Joshua has become kind of like the barometer. He's like the meter that made me go, 'Whoa, whoa. No, no, no. You have a record. I can't bring you in the house. You got warrants.'"
Turning serious, the "Raising Whitley" star tells the audience about her new dating style. "What I do now is I wait," she says. "What I don't want is for my child to be on an emotional roller coaster, like me... By the time he's 7, why should he have as many heartbreaks as I do?"
Life coach and relationship advisor Iyanla Vanzant takes a very different approach as a single parent. "I introduce people to my life and my children are a part of that life," she says. "Why is it that every time you meet a man, the only thing you're thinking about is whether or not he's going to break your heart and leave your life? Why can't he just be a part of your life just like your girlfriends? More women have left my life than men!"
That said, Iyanla warns against too much too soon. "Does he spend the night?... [Do] his drawers hang on the doorknob? Now we're getting into a whole 'nother business," she says.
"Single Moms Club" writer and director Tyler Perry weighs in as well, saying that hope and expectations also figure in to this scenario. "A lot of times when women meet someone and they're dating someone, there's a hope of, 'This could be serious. This could become marriage,'" he says. "Unlike your girlfriend, this could be the two of them living together and sharing a space with this child."