Farzana Sumra believes single mothers have a right to find love [Courtesy]

"My mother, for example, has been a widow since 2007, and she never put herself out there to find love again, and I respect that, but I also saw her loneliness. So yes, children are a gift and are wonderful, but they cannot be your whole life. A woman is more than a mother," she says.

Farzana says being a single mother comes with its share of stigma, especially when it is as a result of divorce.

"When I got divorced, I was treated badly by society. You experience little things like married women not wanting to be your friend or not allowing their husbands to sit near you. You are treated almost like a second-class citizen. I used to feel bad until I put my foot down," says Farzana.

"Then there is the pressure or double standards, where society is okay when single men who have children date, but the same cannot be said of women. Society expects single women to find wholeness and contentment in motherhood, and women who dare to go out to look for love through dating are looked at as being not good. This is the reason many single mothers steer away from dating. They fear being ostracised."

Farzana says single mothers also deserve love just like everyone else. However, she says that while it is okay to date, it should be done within healthy boundaries, and as a result, has several dating rules that she lives by.

"First, I let my date know that I am a mother. Second, I am clear that the man who will be coming into my life is not coming to be a father to my boys, but a role model because they still have a father. Third, I do not invite men to my house.

"Even though I date, my children have never seen a man in my life since I divorced their father, as I do not want to confuse them. I also do not want to introduce my children to someone I am dating unless I get to a point I am certain the person is serious," she says.

"I enjoy going out on dates. I am that lady who pays half the bill and I realise that can intimidate some men, but that is just me. When you date, it is great because you get to know what you want and what you do not. You also get to meet different people and add interesting layers to your life," she says.

Farzana adds that single mothers should not be ashamed because they desire love beyond the love they share with their children.

Although she is enjoying dating, she is not in a hurry to settle down.

"As much as I am getting back into the dating scene, I am also enjoying being single and the freedom that comes with it. In this single season, I have travelled half the world, and got to fully enjoy my space and time. I was married back in 2010 and I never really got a chance to live on my own and this season is precious to me."

 Mwendwa Mbaabu says that depending on a child's age, a parent should know when to tell them that they are dating [Courtesy]

Mwendwa says that depending on a child's age, a parent should know when to tell them that they are dating.

"Between age 10 and 15, a child is especially sensitive and believes that if their mother is dating, her date wants to take their mother away from them. My daughter is now 17 and when she was younger, we did not discuss dating with her, but now she can see and understand that I am getting dressed to go out to meet someone, and I do not hide the truth from her. She now encourages me to date," she says.

However, she warns that even in dating, the child's needs must be put first.

"If you are dating and you feel the person is interfering with your role as a mother, then you need to let him go. Some men can be selfish. They could know you have a child but want to take you on a trip out of town for three nights without regard for your child's needs. Any relationship that comes at the expense of your role as a mother is not good," she says.

Mwendwa says society is not always supportive of single mothers dating, puts pressure on single women to find completion and contentment in being single and makes it seem like their need for love can be quashed with their love for their child or children.

"If you are a single mother and feel you are ready to date, please do not let the opinions of others prevent you from diving back into the dating world.

"A lot of times, women believe the lie that one is not allowed to want love because they are single mothers and can end up having an unhealthy dysfunctional relationship with their children," she says.

"They end up being too attached to their children as they put pressure on them to fill the void or gap that a relationship is supposed to fill, which is unfair to the children. This can cause problems later on when the children get married," she says.