Co-parenting Week on the Young Mommy!

I’ve become fascinated recently by the topic of “co-parenting,” where the mom and dad (who are no longer together) are able to work together in the best interests of their child, regardless of any messy situations that arise. I know many of my readers are single moms, who are doing the best they can to create a world full of possibility for their kids.

But in that world there is the reality of a not-so-distant ex/child’s father who is always in the picture. How do you move on in a way that doesn’t negatively affect your child? How do you manage to push old feelings aside and start fresh?

I’m dedicating this week to the topic of co-parenting, giving you resources and tools to make this relationship – the one between you and your child’s father – the best that it possibly can be. Are you ready? Let’s go!

I thought I’d kick off today’s post by sharing the spotlight. Many of you already know Alicia (say hey to her when you get the chance), but for those who don’t, Alicia is a fun mama hailing from good ol’ NYC. She talks about the realities of being a young mother at her blog, Mom Delicious, and I fell in love with her writing style. I can tell she is a passionate person, but most of all she’s passionate about her son, Aiden. Take a minute to read her post kicking off Co-Parenting Week here on the

My Son’s Parental-halves: The Strain, Stress, and Sometimes Success of Co-Parenting

by Alicia Harper

I was never married to my son’s dad. Instead, when we found out I was pregnant, we moved in together because we were very much in love and ready to raise our precious baby boy, Aiden together… under the same roof.

That is until sweet turned sour, our relationship took a turn for the worse, and we broke up. Then I found myself all mixed up in this thing called co-parenting.

When I became a single mom, I read all sorts of articles about co-parenting. “Children need to feel loved by both parents” and “children need to know that they do not have to choose one parent over the other” is what some of the articles would say.

{Now the articles are not talking about the fathers who are completely out of the picture for one reason or another. Besides, it’s their loss because they will miss out on the blessing and amazingness that is their child. The article is talking about the fathers who remain active participants in their child’s life post breakup, be it twice a week or twice a month. But I digress…}

Almost all of these articles ended with something like this: Put your emotions aside and focus on the child. As I read this, I thought, Ha! Now the ‘focus on the child’ part I can do very well, but the ‘put your emotions aside’ part… huh? Am I even mature enough to do that?!

Like when Aiden’s dad says he’ll do something for our son, but does not follow through. Or when he and I discuss Aiden’s expenses/child support, but he wants to contribute less even though he is financially capable of contributing more. It gets my skin boiling. Boiling! I want to just tell him off and say something like, “You can be so selfish and that’s exactly why we’re not together anymore!” I feel the urge to say this along with a lot of other less-than-appropriate things. And I feel the urge to say all of this in front of Aiden.

But I don’t. Sometimes it takes every fiber of my being not to tell him off. Keeping my feelings to myself has never been so hard. Ever. Man, there really is a thin line between love and hate!

But I refuse to speak badly about Aiden’s father in front of Aiden. I do not want my negative words to affect the way he views his dad. He’ll form his own opinions as he grows older. More importantly, I do not want Aiden to internalize these hurtful and loaded words, and take them on as part of his personality.

With my past break-ups, the breakup was the end. Like the we’re-no-longer-together-so-you-no-longer-exist type end. But I cannot do that with Aiden’s father because we are tied for the rest of Aiden’s life, whether I like it or not. Our romantic relationship is over, but our parental relationship is not. Birthday parties, graduations, school functions… we will have to see each other at these events and be cordial for Aiden’s sake. I have to be able to put my feelings aside (as hard as that may be) in order for Aiden to survive and thrive this split.

I made it so that now all of our conversations and contact revolve around Aiden. Sometimes I hate that it seems like such a business transaction, but that’s a fact of our co-parenting situation. We’re cordial around each other, we smile and greet one another in Aiden’s presence, and we discuss Aiden’s daily activities. It’s. All. About. Aiden.

As it turns out, the people who gave that advice to “put your emotions aside and focus on the child” were actually onto something. It’s still not an easy task. Every time I speak to Aiden’s dad, it’s a struggle. Every time I see him, it’s a constant battle to put my feelings aside and focus on Aiden’s wellbeing. Because it’s Aiden’s right to have the best relationship possible with both his parents.

So even when I get angry and do not feel like answering the phone when he calls or opening the door for a scheduled visit, I put my emotions aside because if I let my feelings take over, that will be a missed opportunity for Aiden to be with his dad.

I have also learned to accept the fact that his parenting style is different from mine. Way different. I’ve learned to allow him to do his daddy thing and parent the way he knows how. He doesn’t read to Aiden with the same expressions that I do; he doesn’t sing with Aiden the same way that I do; he allows Aiden to watch a little more t.v. than I’m comfortable with, but that’s his parenting style, not mine. And that’s alright.

Turns out, I am mature enough to put my feelings aside. And I have been doing it. And I will continue to do it for the wellbeing of my son. Correction, our son.

Alicia thinks being a mom is so delicious and blogs about the realities of being a young single mom over at Mom Delicious. Visit her blog for more (you won’t be sorry – she is truly a dope writer!).


  1. What an awesome post! Alicia is doing a really great job co-parenting with her child’s dad. I know that can’t be easy, but she is so mature and seems to be making it work, despite the challenges.

    I love her blog – I’m a follower already!
    .-= Yakini´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.

  2. Alexandra says:

    This is one of the many things we have to do as mothers. We always have to think of our kids first nomatter what. I loved the post and I will be following Alicia from now on.

    Keep up the good work!

  3. This is a great blog…and something that I need to take into consideration with my ex husband. But its so hard to put feelings aside when you been through so much with that individual, or when they piss you off. I want my children to love both of us and I do want us to get along for the sake for them. I hope in time while i practice being a co-parent that their dad will try harder to be one as well.

    • @Tiffany – Let me tell you – I won’t put Alicia’s business out there, but she has been through a LOT with her ex. A lot. And she’s still standing. I know it’s hard, but you’re doing the right thing and moving in the right direction. :)

  4. Thanks for all the support ladies. I will be the FIRST to say that this is no where near an easy task. As I’ve mentioned in the post, it is truly a constant and daily struggle. But it’s a struggle that I endure for the sake of my son. If I can do it, anyone can!

    And yes, Tara… I’ve been through it with my ex.
    .-= alicia´s last blog ..Winners of the 50 American Express Card! =-.

  5. Speaking from the ‘other’ woman’s side as the girlfriend of the father who is co-parenting, I wish more women would see that when they decide to speak ill of the father around the son, and put their personal feelings in the situation (resulting in ignored phone calls, etc) the the child is the one who looses.
    It takes YEARS for some folks to get ‘civil’ enough to let things like drop-off’s, special events, holidays go smoothly. Society would have you to think that it’s always an issue of an absentee father, but they don’t look at issues from the male’s point of view- sometimes the mothers themselves push the father away by making it difficult to spend time with his child. In family court more likely than not, judges are partial to mothers and some men (not all- after being humiliated in court) simply give up fighting for rights and the only one who suffers is the child.

  6. Alicia, I feel like u took into,the parenting situation. I did learn from your post that Im really not trying hard enough to make my parental relationship with my daughter’s father work. Im letting my personal feelings get in the way too much. Im going to try to do that alot less. In fact Im going to call him right now to schedule a visit with him and Amani. Thank for the motivation, Miss Alicia