Staying Sexy as a Single Parent

Be the Hot Mama You!
Sexy! As a single parent, it may have been a while since you looked in the mirror and thought, "Sexy!" Now you know it's time--time to get back into the dating pool.

Sexy is so much more than the shape of the body - it's the movement, the confidence, charm, the playfulness, the confidence, the clothes, the hair, and the laughter. Once you're inspired to do this for yourself for now and for your future, you can get sexy and get noticed.

Plotting your strategy
For starters, assess where you are and what needs to happen to get where you want to be.

The body - How close are you to your goals for your body shape? If you need to lose weight, name that number of the weight you want to be, put it on the calendar, set weekly and monthly goals. If you need to tone up, take some measurements. Target the areas you're going to work to lose the flab. Get to where you are comfortable in your body regardless of what number is on the scales or tape measure.

The clothes - Watch out for the oversized Momma gear. Choose select tops, bottoms, shoes, and accessories that are fashionable and adaptable to a variety of settings. What clothing items can pull double duty as you go from work to a parent conference to a dinner date?

Hair and makeup - Think fresh. Find a beautician who knows how to make those little snips to give you the latest look. Visit the makeup counter and pick up a couple additional items that highlight your features.

Your heart - Being a single parent is stressful. Chaos, grief, depression, and betrayal may be in your recent past. Nothing from that list is sexy, so you know you've got to find a way to become fun once again. Rediscover who you are. Minister to your soul through friendship. Do things that make you feel good about yourself. Have fun.

Your mind - Your "other" will have some interest in your past relationships and your daily life, but you'll need a fresh flow of information coming into your life to give you a thought-provoking perspective with a broad world view. What's your favorite way to learn? Nail down if expanding your mind means you'll be reading, listening to the radio or podcasts, or taking a class at the community center. You'll need to go beyond the Mommy/Daddy topics and branch out to topics such as the community, fitness, finances, education, etc.

Identify your triggers - What is it that thwarts your best efforts to take hold of your life? Take it on. Get your plan for how to respond when triggers are going off everywhere.

Making time
So much of getting sexy can be a family activity, especially once your kids are a little older. It may take longer to reach your fitness goals when you involve the family, but you can follow through because your smart choices are good for everyone. Try all the old standbys - biking, playing at the park, hiking, walking, working out at the gym (if you have teens), or swimming. You can involve the family in healthy eating, learning, and shopping.

If you're waiting until you have time alone to work on you goals, it's probably going to be a long wait. Your kids will enjoy seeing you healed, happier, and trimmer. Involve them in your new efforts (without letting it slip why you're suddenly so motivated.)

Finding money
Home - keep it close to home. Sad to say, but most anything that you do or prepare at home is cheaper than most anything that is done or prepared away from home. Wish it were the other way around, but it's not. Videos, wii games, and online programs can provided structure and some degree of moral support for your workouts. Pack a healthy lunch plus snacks for you and the kids. Try doubling recipes and putting the other half in the freezer for another night.

Consider your local storefront Plato' Closet or the online outlet ThreadUp for consigned yet still fashionable clothing items.

One of the hottest looks of all is a playful smile - and that doesn't cost a dime when your heart is happy because you're living your life.

Maintaining energy
Nothing robs the body of "sexy" faster than fatigue. It's the classic "I'm too tired" excuse, because, truth told, there's just not enough you for everything you're called to do. The solution--your new pursuit of sexy has to be more than the 40-minute Zumba class. Your pursuit has got to come from inside you and it's got to be your new mindset all day long. That way, on the nights when the fatigue wins over the gym, you've still got your confidence, still got your smile, and still got the high heels.

Staying motivated in and out of relationships
Let's face it. One of the hardships of dating is that the relationship may not work out. You invest yourself in someone else, and you get hurt. To keep yourself sexy in and out of relationships, think about taking care of yourself for you. Be strong enough that if no one ever noticed you, you'd still stay fit and flirty just because you're worth it. You don't want all your good progress sidelined by a bad date. Stay in it for you and for your kids. Then when you have that perfect date, it will be a great bonus for the person you've become - that best person you can be - that person you love.