From single to shared parenting- changing definitions.
I chose to become a single parent
in October 2006. Just looking at that date fills me with wonder. Now, nearly six years later, the landscape of our life has changed entirely.
The single mom challenge
It's been a tumultuous process of evolution. During my single parenthood
, life did not always play fair, I made some awful mistakes
with my heart and ridiculous demands on my life. But she and I have stood strong. On the seemingly never-ending nights when she was ill and I juggled working two jobs whilst negotiating vomit, we'd keep our hope and watch the sunrise together, promising each other that the new day would bring calm.
And then he arrived
in our lives.A cautious introduction
Unassumingly, he quietly carved his way into our little bubble of two, and stepped into our life path together. He questioned, supported and loved us - on the best and worst days. He held my hand as I said goodbye to my mother
, and he kissed my daughter's tears away when the world made her cry. He celebrates my daughter's every success, from the littlest to the largest.Suburban bliss?
She's grown into a kind, gentle and confident primary school girl
. I've grown into my thirties and learnt more about myself than ever before. Even more importantly, we've grown into a life of love that doesn't revolve around just the two of us, but three. We've evolved from the days where I'd count cents and determinedly build a happy home for the two of us. Nowadays, I pack three lunches every morning and have a partner who happily shares the financial load of daily life. Afternoons are no longer a crazy rush for me. It used to be a maelstrom of dinner creation, bath time
, story time and house cleaning. Now he does her homework with her while I whip up dinner.
He was patient with us. He, slowly and without pressure, opened his life up to us, and we reciprocated. Now his family is our family, and our family has blossomed. Our love for each other was never, and will never be, a two-way street. It's a tree-lined avenue with three lanes, all heading in the same direction. There was never any question or qualm about my heart and life being a package deal. Previous suitors called it baggage, yet he referred to it as the best two-for-one deal he's ever seen. Negotiating changes, together
We discussed the concept of living together
for a long time, and kept the conversation open. He understood my concerns, I empathized with his and we confronted my daughter’s fears together. We spoke openly as a trio, about her concerns, as we slowly moved towards cohabitation.
When we started looking for our dream abode, we involved my daughter in every conversation, every house viewing and every aspect. We talked endlessly and excitedly together. We worked through each of our fears, no matter how little they seemed. We navigated our way towards our evolution, together.
I have a new favourite picture. It's a line drawing of three people, holding hands, with the caption "Life has changed". It has indeed. My daughter summed it up brilliantly with her six-year old wisdom when she said, "life is more fun with three of us".Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.Have you ever moved from single to shared parenting? Why not give us your tips for success in the comments section below.