The Village that Raises the Child: Stories of Co-Parenting Relationships
Co-parenting looks different for every family. But at its core, co-parenting can encourage good communication and responsibility-sharing by putting focus on the common interest: the children.
What it means to “co-parent” depends on who you ask. For some, co-parenting means raising a child with an ex-partner, or assuming a parenting role in a current relationship for a child from a previous relationship. For others, it can mean caring for a child with a platonic partner while each parent has their own independent life. For still others, it means raising a child with multiple parents, no matter what their relationship status.
But all these examples have one thing in common: Parenting together with the common goal of meeting a child’s needs.
Omisade Burney-Scott steps in for host Anita Rao in this episode to share her personal story, joined by her co-parent Michael Scott. She also talks with Zena Sharman, a writer, LGBTQ+ health advocate and the author of the book “The Care We Dream Of”, about life with her three co-parents and three children.
And Trina Greene Brown, founder of Parenting for Liberation, joins the conversation to talk about the individual work that parents can do to build healthier co-parenting relationships and resources that are out there to support that work.
Thanks to Michelle Felder of Parenting Pathfinders and AJ Feeney-Ruiz for also contributing their thoughts on co-parenting.
Advice for Co-Parents, by Co-Parents
Strive for equity in your relationship, not strict equality
“The systems [want us to] try to figure out a way for it to be 50/50. And in reality, we have to honor where people arrive and what resources they have, and honor their contributions.” - Trina Greene Brown
Be open and honest with yourself and with your co-parents.
“Have a lot of conversation upfront about your dreams, your visions, your values, the logistical stuff — and also just be open to what unfolds. There's a big difference between the planning and the imagining, and then the experience of becoming a parent.” - Zena Sharman
Find gratitude in your relationships.
“Identify something … about the family you've created together that you're grateful for. Keeping these positive thoughts in mind can truly transform your experience as a co-parent.” - Michelle Felder
Acknowledge the challenges, but don’t let them stop you.
“It takes some work and some planning, but you can do it.” - AJ Feeney-Ruiz