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So a mother and stepmother walk into a bar…

This may sound like a joke, but it’s a real and necessary scenario. With divorce at an all time high, coupled with a significant number of children being born into non-wedded homes, it is inevitable that a single person on the dating scene will cross paths with an individual that is co-parenting with someone from a previous relationship.

The horror stories of how dating someone with a child is practically asking to be startled out of your sleep by a crazy woman banging on a front door hollering, “My baby needs pampers,” or similar scenarios run rampant. While these phenomenons do exist, I venture to say the numbers of individuals looking to create successful and productive co-parenting situations grossly outweigh the foolishness that we all are accustomed to hearing about.

Blending families whether in a serious relationship or in marriage is not an easy task, and those who live the reality know that most of the issues have few things to do with the children and everything to do with the adults coming together and being respectful, compromising adults on the tiniest of issues to life altering ones.

Women co-parenting with men – that are dating,  have married or are planning to marry –  play a large role in setting the relationship between their child and the father. While some would beg to differ, in a situation where the mother is the custodial parent she basically holds the puppet strings and any man who wants to do right and see their child knows that he must tread lightly. In his jerky, puppet string movements read “treading lightly” the other woman in his life is often left in the dark and slowly grows resentful of his child’s mother.

As some males choose not to share their co-parenting woes and situations with a woman he is dating, once marriage becomes an issue he has the duty to put it all on the table and together the individuals involved should come together to discuss the familial structure moving forward.

While the idea is totally farfetched in some situations, I always encourage women to reach out to the child’s mother to get the conversation going from a woman’s perspective.

Women are maternal and emotional, the thought of another woman telling her child what to do or what to wear, or what to eat is a hard pill to swallow – especially if the relationship with the father isn’t on the best terms.  Another woman should understand this and work toward making the mother feel comfortable about the child being in her care. If you want your expectations to be made known it’s far better to make them yourself in relation to the chances that they may be lost in translation somewhere between the carrier’s memory and delivery.

Truth be told, some women are not at the maturity level to sit across from the woman who is with the man she once dreamed of a family with – but reality says blended families exist.  And if they are to promote loving homes for the children, the women involved may need to look at stepping out of their feelings and into each other’s shoes to fully understand the experience and work to make it the best for all parties involved.

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