You’re filling out mundane paperwork for a new doctor for your 4 year old. The next question: Where does the child primarily reside? And I check off two boxes, mother AND father. I scribble in the numbers 50/50. But what does my marital status have to do with my parenting? Everything and nothing.
Hi! I’m Julie. New Orleans Native. Business Owner. Sister. Daughter. I’m lots of things. But first always and forever, I’m a mom. My children have a father, but we don’t live together or share the same last name. Oh, and we used to be married. To each other. Good or bad, you can’t recognize my parental status without acknowledging my marital status. Sure, my children are not being raised in the traditional 4b,2b, 2800 sq ft, 2 car garage life. But they are happy. And so am I.
My life isn’t going to look like many, and it doesn’t have to in order to be good, wonderful, warm or loving.
I am not a single mom though.
They are being raised just as much by their father, with a sprinkling of extended family and friends that love them so much. If we had to pick a title, we co-parent. We have two separate lives that run and intersect and co-mingle in and out of days, into weeks, through months and into years. What does that mean for others? I don’t know, and I didn’t spend a moment of time to find out. But I know what it means for me.
We work together, as a team, raising the children with the children’s best interest in mind. We do our best to seek cohesiveness and respect the fact that we will do some things, maybe a lot even, differently.
How did we get to this point?
How did we go from “Let’s end this marriage,” to “Hey, I’ve got a date this Friday, can you take the kids?” Gah! Yes, that actually happens. Some folks would never want to discuss this publicly. And certainly, there are things meant to stay private. And you best believe I ran this past their dad before publishing this.
When life is picture perfect, we’re so glad and happy to Instagram for days the smiling faces. Facebook albums full of family vacations. But when our life is different or in transition, but perfect for US, we remain quiet and refrained. We may be afraid of being judged or maybe shamed that we are no longer “normal” or “perfect.” I encourage you to embrace your family structure! People will judge you anyway, so you may as well be your happiest and most authentic you!
We don’t always approach raising the kids the same way.
But we try not to get in each other’s way also. If the children’s best interest are being met, then we let it go.
Co-parenting takes a lot of communication. It means taking your issues with the other parent and taking them out of the equation. Right / wrong / keeping score all goes out the window if you want to have a happy co-parenting life. It is rare not to speak to or text their father about homework, girl scouts, snack day, a broken tennis shoe, speech lessons, a birthday party, a rash … nearly every day.
Maybe one day we won’t need to communicate as much. Maybe we will use group texting with the girls in the loop. One day at a time for now.
Thanks for sharing your story Julie. Beautiful family!
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, Andrea! I appreciate your kind words of support!
Enjoyed reading your blog. Long, long, time friend of your father and grandfather Trapolin through work (insurance). Your dad and I spoke recently and he is very proud of what you are accomplishing in life.
Thank you so much for your message! How very kind. My Dad has been wonderful and I like to think my Papa would be proud too!
Julie, this is the future for so many, women, there is no road map, you are doing a great job as a mom, business owner and also as a role model for your girls and so many others!
Keep up the good work!
Thank you so much Diane!! Talk about role model, you continue to make so many strides!
Wow!!! Love your words!!
Thank you so much! I am speaking from the heart!
Yes, one step at a time. Take care of yourself in order to take care of them. They will teach you so much. I co parented 40 years ago when there were no blogs……or computers!
You are strong and compliment our gender. Thank you.
Thank you so much, Marian! You are so admirable and thank you for paving the way!
Awesome. You are my hero
A father in the same boat
Equal Co parenting is what every child wants
We need to make sure we elect judges that support this
Thank you, Michael. I’m so glad to hear you’ve been able to positively co-parent as well!
And yes – I’ve heard of judges who default to the mother and it’s up to the father to prove himself, very unfair approach to do so without cause!
Really enjoyed this, thank you. And nice to hear other successful co-parenting stories. My husband and his ex are very successful at this also. Is it always perfect? No. But it’s always worth it, and we’re all raising their 2 together. Heck, she’s one of the emergency contacts for our 2 younger ones. It just makes sense – she’s known them since birth, loves them, and they love her. Hopefully we’ll see/hear even more successful co-parenting stories as time goes on. 🙂
Thank you so much for your note, Julie! YOU are exactly the future girlfriend and wife he wants it, I want in our family! You are a rock star wife and Mama! Here’s to family!