Co-Parenting: Your Kid Might Call Someone Else 'Mom' -- And That's Okay
“Bonus parents” love our children as much as we do if we let them
There is nothing easy about ending a relationship, especially if there are children involved. If your ex decides to remarry or begin a new relationship, finding yourself immediately a part of a blended family can be challenging, especially if your child starts referring to that new parent as “mom” or “dad.” But one mom is speaking out to remind others that if another person comes into your child’s life and loves them — consider yourself lucky, and don’t sweat the labels.
Hayley Booth took to Facebook to explain that even if your marriage ends, there can be a healthy, positive co-parenting relationship that takes its place. Her four-year-old daughter, Rachel Elizabeth, has had a “bonus mom” in her life since she was 15 months old. “Often times I have people ask me how my ex, his wife, my husband and I co-parent so flawlessly,” Booth writes. “My answer is always the same– We just love our daughter. Seriously, it’s just that simple. We all love her, and nothing will ever change that.”
Booth explains that her daughter didn’t choose for her parents to live separately, so why would they put her in a position to make an already difficult situation worse? “Why would we make her life any harder by making her choose which set of parents to love?” Booth asks. “My daughter calls her bonus mommy ‘Mommy’.. and you know what? That’s okay, because that’s what she is to her, she IS her mommy. She is there for her always, she takes care of her, she plays with her, she teaches her life lessons and how she should behave, she gives her hugs and kisses goodnight, she does everything any mother would do.”
It’s hard getting involved with someone who has a child. Not only are you dating the person, but you are trying to find your place in that child’s life, as well as their extended family, their ex – the list goes on and on. As the parent of that child, it can be stressful when someone else enters their lives and you may feel threatened by them. Will my child love them as much as they love me? Will they call them “mom” or “dad”? But it’s not about you, it’s about your child. If they feel comfortable and safe enough to refer to them in this way, it means everyone is doing their job.
“I see so many women say ‘I would never let my child call another woman mom or mommy, because she’s NOT her mom I AM!,’” Booth writes. “Well you know what? You’re being selfish. If you are lucky enough for your ex to have a woman who loves YOUR child or children like their own, and one who helps raise them and shape them, why would you not allow them to call a woman they love mommy? Why would you put your child in the position to feel like they have to choose who they love?”
Booth tells Scary Mommy it takes time to get to this place. “This kind of relationship wasn’t formed overnight. Things were not always this cut and dry,” she explains. “It was hard to let another woman into my daughter’s life, much less love her like her own. There were many nights of heartache and deep thoughts and lots of praying.”
To get through it all, every single person involved has to make an effort. Your village may look different that you’d originally imagined, but if you put your child first, it can work. “Sometimes you just have to put the petty little things aside, to raise your child to be the amazing human being they are meant to be,” Booth writes.
“Don’t tell me that peaceful coparenting isn’t possible, because it is. I know it is. Because I do it everyday.”