You may not be storing sperm in your freezer for a future pregnancy like BET’s “Being Mary Jane” but more and more parents are bypassing courtship and heading straight to co-parenting. They don’t want a lover, mate or a partner. They just want someone who wants to love and support their kids as much as they do. Enter: Modamily.
ABC News recently did a report on a new trend in parenting where expecting mothers or parents who have children from previous relationships can search for co-parents on-line through companies like Modamily, which basically serves as Match.com for moms and dads without the dating. As ideal as it is for most of us to be in a loving relationship with the mother or father of our children, there are enough single parents to prove that that isn’t always the case. So some parents have chosen to get proactive about who they want to share their parenting responsibilities with, and save the love for later. “If you’re blessed to meet a soul mate and you just gel and it works and you have children, that’s ideal, no one is disputing that” says 42-year-old mother, Hope who was featured in the story. “But what about the rest of us who didn’t meet that person, or not in time?” Hope is planning to get pregnant next month; she already raises two children with two different fathers, but her youngest’s father, age 67, feels he’s too old to have another children.
Modamily (a play on the words “modern” and “family”) is a website whose purpose is to put together people who would like to engage in the process of “the shared raising of a child between two loving, committed, and financially secure adults.” Its founder Ivan Fatovic says the website aims to help “solve the problem of quickie, clock-ticker marriages and resulting divorces.” and is targeted at older adults. Unlike an anonymous sperm bank, the website helps people find partners based on mutual values, shared interests and common concerns. After finding a match, co-parents can then draw up an agreement about shared responsibilities. More than 5,000 people have signed up on the L.A.-based Modamily, which goes beyond a sperm bank by matching up people who don’t just want to donate their sperm or eggs, but their time and attention as well.
Skeptics argue that this ultimate flip-off to the nuclear family sends a confusing message to children, but my feelings are the same when it comes to adoption, gay couples and blended families: the more people a child has in their lives to care and support them on a consistent basis, the more stable and successful that child will be. Does it really matter if they are related by blood or if their parents are involved romantically? Being in my prime childbearing years, I can understand the pressure of hoping that the person you fall in love with will also share your same values in reference to raising children and also be financially stable. Sites like Modamily may take the “romance” of out starting a family, but what they do try to ensure is that you truly have a partner in parenting.
What I would argue is that by searching for a co-parent like shopping for a used car, what a child may miss out on is a healthy example of a romantic relationship by two people who have chosen to build a life together. It can’t always be about raising this kids. Growing up, it was great for me to see that although my sister and I were me parents’ top priority, they were so much more than mom and dad with two little girls in common. They had a life before us filled with inside jokes, they have fun together (sometimes more when we weren’t around) and they sacrificed and supported each other, not just their children. As long as kids learn that family is about more than legal contracts, specified schedules and Google searches, than Modamily might be a great option for parents who are willing to delay their own desires so that their kids can have two supportive parents.
Toya Sharee is a program associate for a Philadelphia non-profit that focuses on parenting education and building healthy relationships between parents, children and co-parents. She also has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog BulletsandBlessings.