Co-mothering is a new trending buzzword that describes my current context quite accurately.
After experiencing financial struggles for quite some time and sharing that experience with my close network of good friends, one of my best friends Christy and I would often note that we need to be more like immigrant families and cram more people under one roof in order to financially get ahead.
One day we got gutsy and snooped online for a rental home online that would accommodate both of us, all our children, and animals. Surprisingly, we found one in our desired area, and in the end would actually cost us each less than what we were already paying for our individual two-bedroom apartments.
Suddenly, we had an opportunity to move into a five-bedroom house, with a double car garage, a fenced yard, a finished basement, air-conditioning—and it was only a block from the kids’ school.
So, even though my history of living with male partners told every bone in my body not to make another residential move, (I had already moved homes five times in the past four years), and living with male partners had not served me well—I decided to take the risk and make a leap of faith and rent the five-bedroom house with one of my best friends.
Trust was of the essence. Trusting my gut (which had a history of poor guidance) and trusting my best friend that this actually could work. Together, we decided it made perfect sense, and was the only way we could both get ahead financially, and emotionally.
Co-mothering invited opportunities to support one another emotionally and financially. We could help shuttle kids to and from school, activities, be available for ex-husband drop-offs, share the cooking of meals, cleaning, shopping, and the caring for pets.
In hindsight, this was one of the best decisions I have made in a long time. The presence of another adult, and a best friend, in my home has helped to improve my mental health tremendously. When I am stressed I share my thoughts and feelings right away, as opposed to my past practice of ruminating for days. This has helped me to heal and move forward quicker than ever before.
My resilience and stamina for problem-solving and bouncing back is remarkably improved, and I laugh all the time. I debrief my days with her every night, we collaboratively plan for future hiccups. We coordinate our schedules every Sunday to plan for success during the week in regards to kids, meals, groceries, school projects, and parental transitions.
The kids are happier than they have ever been. They have two happy loving adults to rely on. They have more kids to play with and share chores with. Big kids walk little kids to school, older children babysit younger children offering “the moms” a little room to breathe.
When parent-child relationships get heated, one mom taps out and the other steps in. When one mom can’t sew, or help with a school project the other steps in. When one mom has an appointment, or wants to go out with friends, coverage is in place. When a glass of wine is needed to culminate the day, there is always company. It is truly a marriage of friendship and families in every way, and the best part is we are all more stable and we are happy.
The children refer to us as “the moms” and also as Mom 1 and Mom 2. We love our new life and curating our own happiness in unique, innovative, and unconventional ways.
These brief moments where I trust my gut, face my fears, and move forward experiencing success pull me out of my funk, increasing my confidence and belief that there is hope.
I can move forward happily and successfully. I can resume a “normal” life…whatever normal is?