How do they handle the complicated schedules, challenges with exes, and these guys who've never been parents? Then, I remember that they're celebrity single moms. So, what's it like for your typical single mom who gets remarried?
For instance, take Deesha Philyaw, a recently engaged single mom and founder of Coparenting101.org. She and her fiance, JB, each have two daughters. When they get married: "We are not going to live together once we marry, not for about eight years, when his youngest graduates."
"Because JB and I live in two different states, about 250 miles apart -- and because we each have shared custody arrangements with our former spouses -- we've had to do a lot of communicating, planning, and scheduling from the very beginning. So, now that we've decided to marry and 'officially' unite our families, a lot of the groundwork has been laid."
"Groundwork," she explains, means that they've had long conversations about parenting: discipline, chores, schoolwork, housework, amount of TV and media, helping kids understand the value of money and financial priorities. "JB and I joke that we each fell in love with the way the other parented first, before all the romantic stuff kicked in," Deesha adds. "Before we even met the kids, we talked about them constantly, and our time together was scheduled around their lives."
Dr. Jann Blackstone-Ford, co-author of Ex-Etiquette for Weddings: The Blended Families' Guide to Tying the Knot, agrees that the keyword here is "BEFORE."
"Before you move in together, be honest with each other about your expectations," says Dr. Blackstone-Ford, who's also the director of Bonus Families. "Before you move in together, talk about house rules, chores, discipline (and how you will approach it). Before you move in, have an idea if marriage is on the horizon. If you are coparenting after a break-up, meet the mother or father of your partner's children and put in place the rules of good ex-etiquette BEFORE you move in together ... no one is asking permission to move in together, but do your best to start this relationship (with your partner's ex) out right with mutual respect."
Dr. Blackstone-Ford adds that a common scenario is: "Well, my ex had an affair with this person and now he or she is interacting with my kids! You want me to respect them?"
"In those cases, I say do your best to keep the history away from the kids, make your
judgments in the kids' best interest, and take one day at a time. Sometimes, in those cases, it's take one hour at a time."
In Deesha's case, she and her fiance get along so well that they have even traveled and vacationed together with all four kids, her ex, and his wife. Bravo.
Tell us: Are you a single parent who recently got engaged? Are you dating a single parent? Are you part of a blended family? Any tips to share?
|Rachel Sarah, a.k.a. "Single Mom Seeking" blogs at SingleMomSeeking.com and co-founded SingleMommyHood.com, the first-ever website to offer "a whole new way to think about life."|