The Co-Parenting Dance
Many people ask me what it is like to be married to a woman and to co-parent together. Some ask out of pure curiosity as the concept seems so unique to them. Others ask out of envy as they think partnering with a woman would have advantages and moments of ease that heterosexual couples or single parents could only dream of. Sometimes it does.
Rarely though is it considered that there may be very challenging aspects of co-parenting as two women no matter how healthy and loving the partnership is. Just the weight and knowledge of how much discrimination for same sex couples still exist creates an obstacle from the beginning.
There are also absolutely no rules or roles pre-prescribed to the game. My partner and I have to figure out each aspect of parenting as is comes. No one is “supposed” to do anything. This is very freeing but can also get totally complicated. For example, just deciding who would be the birth mom to our kids was certainly an interesting way to kick things off…
We are both very involved and strongly opinionated as women and mothers. We both have dedicated our lives to our work/career as long as that means we can be available for our kids when they need us. This “doubling up” is often wonderful but at times creates an experience of constant negotiation which has felt depleting lately.
As our boys get older the dynamic of control is only becoming more pronounced between my partner and I. The decisions, scheduling, food planning, activity planning, even vacation planning becomes exhausting when everything is a negotiation.
My attempt in past years to ease the stress has been to try and split decisions and activities up. One Mom gets control of XYand Z and the other gets control of AB and C. Sometimes that works and sometimes it just falls apart and becomes a free for all once again.
So this month I will launch an experiment and take a radically different approach to co-parenting. I simply will yield and let go more often. I want to experience what it would be like if I took a back seat in more situations. I plan to purposely and mindfully yield to my partner’s lead at least 5 times a day where my knee jerk reaction may have been to jump in and assert what I think is best.
I plan to keep a journal of my little experiment and report back to you all at the end of next month!
Wish me luck!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shana Hiranandani shares a home with her two boys, her partner of 12 years, a big dog and a small cat in the Pioneer Valley of Western MA. Shana earned a B.A. in Psychology from UMass Amherst and a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Antioch New England College. Shana is a Board Certified Life and Career Coach, offering consultations from her office in Florence, MA. Her monthly column offers parenting perspectives from a Jewish-Indian-American, 2-mommy household.