updated 01/20/2012 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 01/20/2012 AT 7:40 AM ET
So what’s the way to Maynard’s heart? Here are five things her prospective suitors need to know about the 25-year-old single mom.
1. Her Daughter Comes First
Maynard and her 6-year-old, Ricki, are incredibly close. When Maynard left town to film The Bachelor with Texas bar owner Brad Womack, she vowed she’d never leave her daughter for such a long period of time again. That’s why producers agreed to film a large portion of her upcoming season of The Bachelorette in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Guys had better know how to charm Ricki if they expect to have a chance with Maynard.
2. She’s Loved and Lost Before
At 19, Maynard experienced a series of dramatic highs and lows. She became engaged to NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick, who then died in a plane crash in October 2004. Just days after Ricky’s death, Maynard learned she was pregnant. She named their only child after her late fiancé. Maynard remains very close with Hendrick’s parents and still wears the Cartier bracelet Hendrick gave her as a symbol of the love they shared.
3. Brad’s Not Out of Her Life
Even though they called off their engagement last June, Maynard and Womack are still friendly. Womack “taught me that I have it in me to love someone again,” Maynard told PEOPLE. “I think he’s always going to be a part of my life.”
4. Stability and Patience Are Key
Maynard has never had trouble finding a date – it’s finding someone she wants to keep dating that’s been the challenge. Because she places motherhood first, “I need stability,” Maynard says, noting that it’s difficult for many men to grasp that she can’t just go out on a date or skip town for the weekend on a moment’s notice. “A lot of times in Charlotte I would go out with guys, and most guys knew my story.” Still, she adds, “It’s just a lot to handle. And with a young child, you know, it’s a lot to ask of guys.”
5. Must Love Cats
After finishing up on The Bachelor, Womack gave Maynard and Ricki a furry little kitten that has since become the love of little Ricki’s life. So gentlemen, take note: If you’re allergic to cats, you’d better bring a hefty supply of allergy medication, because nothing is going to break up this family unit. MEOW!