Rachel, a Fathers & Families supporter, shares parenting with her ex-husband. Below she describes her experiences:
Throughout my life I have seen so many single parents (mothers mostly) raising kids. I was raised by my mother and saw my father only a couple of times a year. This is not an easy life.
When my marriage failed, we decided to share custody of OUR son. I know that I could have had full custody but this was just not the best thing for any of us.
My ex is as fit and loving parent as am I. Our marriage was over but we will always be OUR son’s parents. It would have been a different choice if there had been abuse or anything like that.
OUR son stays the night with his father on Monday and Tuesday and with me on Wednesday and Thursday. We alternate the weekends. I work like crazy on Mondays and Tuesdays and his dad works during the day Monday through Friday. Our son has never had to spend a minute in daycare and only very occasionally has required a babysitter. Why? Because we have arranged our schedules that way.
We are both very involved in his school and weekend time. It’s not a case where one parent doesn’t know what’s going on at school. No “Disneyland Daddy,” so to speak.
Also with our arrangement, we have eliminated any arguing about childcare costs. We both work and we both care for him when the other parent is working.
With our schedule, there are no long periods of time without seeing the other parent. I think this is very important for kids to have very regular and consistent contact. He has benefited huge by this. He is free to call each parent whenever. It has also helped us be consistent in discipline, because we are both so involved that we know what is going on. We both know who his friends are, what homework he has, etc. Kids can be a bit sneaky that way, but it’s harder for be sneaky when both parents are on the same page.
I know I am very lucky to have this kind of relationship with my ex-husband. We have both worked very hard to get it to this. Why have we worked that hard? For the sake of our son. It has not always been easy to say the least, but it is what’s right.
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