Co-parenting isn't always easy — especially when it involves an ex as well as your respective new partners. Hayley Booth and her family, however, have made it work beautifully.
In a Facebook post last week, Booth discussed what it's like for her and her "village," as she calls them, to raise her 4-year-old daughter.
"Often times I have people ask me how my ex, his wife, my husband and I co-parent so flawlessly," she wrote. "My answer is always the same — we just love our daughter."
That foundational love, she wrote, is why she loves that her daughter calls her ex's new partner "mommy."
"No child deserves to be tossed around back and forth, used as a bargaining chip, or to be put in the middle of any adult drama," she wrote. "She didn't choose to be born, and she certainly never chose for her parents to get divorced. Why would we make her life any harder by making her choose which set of parents to love?"
Booth tells Refinery29 that she and her ex-husband split up in 2014, and her daughter has known her "bonus mommy" and "bonus daddy" since she was fifteen months old.
"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 wrote on Facebook. "It takes a very special woman to take a child that they didn't give birth to under their wing and become their mother."
"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?" she continued. "Why would you put your child in the position to feel like they have to choose who they love?"
Booth also says that she and her ex's new partner have a great relationship — "we talk every day" — but of course, it took time to develop that bond.
"At first it was difficult," she says. "It's hard to let another woman love your child and it's hard to accept that your child loves another woman."
Eventually, however, she says that she was able to overcome their differences, because "in the end it's not about our feelings it's about our daughter."
While this level of close co-parenting might not work for everyone for one reason or another, Booth's attitude is admirable, and she and her village have formed a close, unique family because of it.
"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," she wrote.
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