Is Co-Parenting Really Single Parenting?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Recently I came across an article on Facebook that addressed a recent interview actress Hillary Duff had with a magazine, where she discussed co-parenting with her ex-husband and single motherhood. She talked about the guilt associated with balancing a career and motherhood - which I think is a challenge many moms struggle with, as well as how splitting time with her son's father is never easy but having a great co-parenting relationship with her ex has alleviated some of the stress.

I decided to check out the comments, since as a single mom myself, I was interested in what people thought about this topic. A lot of moms were impressed with Hillary's relationship with her ex and supported a strong co-parenting relationship, some questioned her actual struggle with a career and motherhood since she's a celebrity and is presumed to have more financial stability than your average single mom. And others? Well they struggled with the idea that Hillary was even a single mom since she still had her son's father active and participating in his life. These moms were true single parents - doing it alone with no help or support from the other father/parent - and in some cases, even unaware of where he actually is.

Can Hillary be a single mom if she still has parenting help from the other parent? Since I'm in a similar situation to her - here are my thoughts...

Does my ex co-parent physically 50% of the time and work with me to make all of our children's major life decisions? Absolutely.

Does my ex alleviate some of the financial burden associated with raising two children by contributing her share of expenses? Absolutely.

Am I experiencing all of my children's activities or milestones solo? No.



But I still consider myself a single parent. Why? Because I am going at it alone. When I have my children, it's me 24/7. I do not have anyone to tap me out or alleviate the burden on a daily basis. I'm responsible for paying for diapers and feeding my children - as I do not receive child support from my ex (we pick up our share of clothing, diaper expenses when our children are in our care). I do not have someone on my team day in and day out. And the bulk of our activities? I do alone, as my ex and I share really just the bigger stuff like Pre-K registration.

I'm making all of the day-to-day decisions in my household. I'm balancing a career and motherhood. I'm responsible for making sure my children are fed and clothed and have what they need. And guess what? I do that all while co-parenting with someone that I no longer wish to even have in my life (if we didn't have kids). I'm so tired of the "who has it worse" argument. Parenting is hard in general. We all have different resources at our fingertips - some of us have a support network or family close (I do not), some of us are in a good financial position, some of us receive child support, some of us don't, some of split time with our ex, some of us have our kids literally 365 days a year. We're all making decisions that impact these tiny people's lives and doing the best we can with what we have. That's not to say my single parenting is no better or worse than the single mother without her ex in her life. I mean - I can see why it would be more difficult - but again, we all have a different story to tell.

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear them! Also - let's remember, comments are fantastic, but this is a still a forum where we should practice kindness.

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