co-parenting works if given the chance

We’re thrilled to bring this guest post by our friend Stacy
. Stacy is a single parent, founder and
President of 
Companion Natural Pet
of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Divorce is a reality of life for many people.  I have a few
memories of my own childhood experience and know it can be ugly and
tragic while taking a huge emotional toll on everyone involved,
especially the children.  But it doesn’t have to be that

Just 5 years ago if you asked me if I would ever come out and live
my life as a lesbian, I would have said no.  I didn’t anticipate
the universe would “require” me to come out in order that I
become a happy and fulfilled person.  But it did.

It was the birth of my child that helped me to recognize who I was,
and that I couldn’t compromise my personal happiness living in a
“privileged”  heterosexual society, if I was to show my child
true honesty and joy.  How would he recognize personal integrity
and truth if I wasn’t living it myself?

I came out, I mean really out, when my son was a year old; I was
31.  This meant separating from my husband of 4 years and facing
all that we face when we’ve lived in the closet our entire adult
lives.  But I knew I didn’t want to disrupt the life I had
envisioned for my child—he has a loving father and should
continue be enriched every way possible. 

It may be considered unusual that my break-up with my husband was
so amicable. It is true that makes it easier.  But anyone can make
the choice to do it. We simply both agreed that the most important
thing in both our lives was our child. Above anything else, our son
should be allowed both parents as his primary caregivers.  Neither
of us would move our child out of reach from the other, try to
replace the other with a new lover or pit him against the other for
any reason.  It just is what it is; respect for the roles we both
play in his life.  We may have changed as individuals, and
recognize that we can’t always be together as a family unit
anymore, but our son deserves his parents, at all costs. 

Despite so many less-than-happy stories of divorce, each day I am
blessed with the reality that my ex-partner and I see eye-to-eye,
and are able to cohesively and lovingly share our child as we
always intended while living our own lives.  We live in a duplex,
I have the upper unit and my son’s dad has the lower.  He has
his own room at both places and shared custody is naturally equal
and works out nicely when we each need time out of town or a night
away.  It won’t likely be this way forever but for now, while
our son is small, it seems most nurturing for him.  The best part,
for me, is knowing that my son has the security of both parents in
his life every day and that our divorce isn’t even something he
is aware is taking place. 

I know, not everyone in the midst of divorce is afforded this
luxury nor has the laws in their favor.  But just in my own circle
of friends in our neighborhood, our family arrangement has made an
impression that has inspired others to think about how things can
be done differently when life’s inevitable changes crop up. 
First and foremost, the children need love, communication,
stability and consistency.  Children deserve homes where they are
safe and loved no matter how their family is comprised.