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Parenting Outside the Relationship

As we continue to discuss parenting while partnering, we would like to give a shout out to parents outside a so-called traditional relationship.

Single parents — WOW — you bring more fire than you even knew you had before you had no choice but to light that spark. You are the textbook definition of “digging deep” — balancing work, life and (OH YEAH) negotiating peaceful parenting relations with your ex.

You are tired and need a break but when you get a break you miss your kids with a throbbing ache unique to your situation. It’s like going from 60 to 0 — sudden stop. You are so consumed with their needs — the snacks, the snuggles, the snow boots — that when they are momentarily out of your care, you feel lost.

Those single-ish parents who have moved on to another relationship might be surprised to find that not a whole lot has changed — you are still, in some ways, a product of love lost and a family unit divided. You take on more parental responsibility than your new partner — naturally — and you still have to communicate with your ex.

But then…you’re good at this, aren’t you? You’ve transitioned from “everyone thinks I’m the worst parent for going through a divorce” to “divorce made me a better parent — stand back while I shine.”

And to the stepparents who fill in the blanks and CHOOSE to love little kids they never knew as babies, who promise to love babies who will never call them “Papa” and who parent really well, if not somewhat from the sidelines — we see you and we thank you for being so darn awesome.

We acknowledge that there are ALL SORTS of relationships. Best friends become “second mothers” to children of busy working moms. Some kids have two homes, some have two dads, some live with grandparents. “Traditional” and “typical” are antiquated words.

Single, married, partnered, step — the message from us during “Relationship Month” is to make time for the supportive relationships in your life. Be it your best friend, your own parent, your partner or your therapist — make time for that part of yourself that connects with other people, beyond the people you parent.

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