It almost seems that each generation lays a new fantasy trap for unwary mothers. Fifty years ago, it was the Donna Reed or June Cleaver fantasy – happiness as the perfect housewife in the perfect family in the perfect home. Twenty-five years ago, it was the Gloria Steinem fantasy – you can have it all, girl, the ambitious career, the fulfillment of motherhood, an evergreen marriage (or not) and time to write.
This generation’s fantasy trap is that if things don’t work out, you can get rid of the jerk, win sole custody of the children and the home and sail on proudly as a single mom like a ship through calm waters. Since you probably can get rid of the jerk and win sole custody, it’s the last part of that trilogy that doesn’t work – for you and also for your children.
The reality is that mountains of research now show that your children are likely to be happier and better adjusted, do better in school, be less likely to need special education interventions, more likely to graduate and go to college, have more and better friendships, be less likely to use drugs or alcohol, be less likely to run in gangs or get in trouble with the law, suffer less stress, be healthier and have lower chances of teenage pregnancy if they have shared parenting rather than sole custody.