YML Voices: Co-Parenting Doesn’t Have To Be A Struggle

Illustration credit Mark Hoffer

by Lauren Thomas

“Thanks for inviting me and J to hang out with you. I really had fun, and look forward to building an authentic friendship with you.”

That is part of the text message I sent to my son’s step mom. THIS IS A BIG DEAL!

I had my 1st child when I was 19, about 2 years later his dad and I married, and about 1 year after that we were divorced. This was a very hard time in my life, but we have both moved on and remarried. His wife is lovely, but I had a wall up. I didn’t allow myself to truly get to know her.

At first, I tried to pretend that I did not know why, and I was “fake nice.” You know, you smile, you speak, give one word answers, but I wouldn’t allow myself to go deeper. Imagine my surprise when my phone rang, and she was inviting me to hang out. Yeah, I was shocked too.

I went, mainly for my son, (who was in heaven; he really loves her) but I ended up enjoying myself. Actually, I had a great time. I got to know her. She is no longer my ex’s new wife, or my son’s stepmom. She is Kelly, who is in school studying to be a teacher, who loves children, who likes to dance, who thinks that I AM A GREAT MOM, who took an interest in my life, but most importantly, she is Kelly, who my son loves.

As I think back, I can now admit why I was guarded. I was worried. I was scared. I did not want my son to love her. I did not want her to take my place. Hanging out with her showed me that she had no intention of taking my place. She is looking to support me, and help me raise a well rounded child.

Now, I can move forward and be my normal loving self. I will treat her the way I treat any other friend. I will make an effort to go deeper and be my authentic self by taking my guard down. I will show her who I really am as I get to know who she really is. It may not always be easy, but I can already see the benefits.

So, what’s the point here? Well, simple. Let your guard down. Co-parenting can actually go well, and after seeing my son so happy I would venture to say that we should make sure it goes well. We all know that our children did not ask to be born. They also cannot decide what situation they are born into. They don’t tell their parents to marry, divorce, or remarry. We, as adults make those choices. We have to remember that it is our responsibility to provide our children with the best life possible, and that includes helping to make them happy and well adjusted. I know that it can be hard seeing your child form a relationship with another “mom,” but don’t do what I did. DON’T GET BITTER, BUILD A RELATIONSHIP and welcome the extra help!

Lauren Thomas is a wife, and mom of two wonderful boys. She is a lover of blogs, and this is her first post. She holds a special place in her heart for young moms and knows success is possible! Follow her on Twitter at @laurenashley_83





  1. She hit the nail on the head with the “DON’T GET BITTER, BUILD A RELATIONSHIP” statement at the end. A lot of exes don’t take into consideration how hard and stressful it can be dating and even marrying someone with kids. It takes special man/woman to want to take on a ready made family. You’re talking about kids who’s attitudes, personalities and behavior are 9 times out of 10 already ingrained in them.

    Treat your ex’s new spouse the way you want or would want your new spouse treated. With respect! Great guest post!

  2. AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME. One thing is for sure, honey, you “DO NOT EVER” have to concern yourself with “YOUR PRECIOUS ANGEL” ever loving “ANYONE” as much as he “LOVES” his mommy. I love how he loves his mommy –

  3. It’s refreshing to hear that not all women who are current in your ex’s life see you as a threat. She sounds a lot like me because if anyone is going to be around my children, I would like for us to have some sort of relationship. But, being as young as I am, it’s not commonplace although I wish it was.

    Lauren, Kudos to you honey! I wish you and Kelly a wonderful friendship!

  4. I love this post…and the message…I had my first child when I was 17 and got married when he was 2 months old…we separated, got back together, had my daughter, and separated for the second and final time a little over a year later…my ex has never remarried (although I did briefly) and so I have never had to deal with a step mom in my children’s lives…I always say that if/when I do encounter that situation, I would approach it in the manner that you have laid out in your post – no bitterness, and with the children’s best interest at heart.

  5. Its not easy being the other woman,and for you to be accepted by your husband’s ex wife so when you are its a big deal.thank you for helping most people understand that they aren’t here to replace the moms but rather to support them.

  6. What a beautifully written post. Your son is truly lucky to be loved by two families.