A Modern Family (Kaitlyn's Blog, Second Post)

St. Jane Media is hosting memoir-style blog posts from our community. You can check out Kaitlyn's introduction post here.

You could say I have a nontraditional family. I live with my five year old daughter and my lovely husband of not quite six months. Living with us is my ex, who happens to be the father of my child as well as my best friend. We eat dinner as a family. We share household expenses. We spend time as a family playing games, watching TV, going out for ice cream….. Before you cast judgment and call us all crazy hear me out.

Don’t get me wrong. There are times when I just want to be with my husband. Date nights are important in this house and generally my ex is away on weekends, giving us the space we need to be happy and well adjusted. There are still times when my ex and I butt heads about parenting styles. But I firmly believe that at this current juncture in our lives we made the best decision, not just for my daughter, but for all of us as well. 

Living together has probably been one of the best decisions I have ever made. It truly does take a village to raise a child, and the three of us make an excellent team. We are able to juggle childcare without requiring a babysitter to go on dates, and there is extra back up when she chooses to push limits like five year olds love to do.

Most importantly, my daughter gets to see both her mother and father every day, and live in a safe, and relatively affluent community that otherwise would be unobtainable without the combined incomes. Without living together, my husband would not have been able to finish law school without working full time, I would not be able to be a full time doctoral student, and my ex probably wouldn’t ever eat a home cooked meal. We all rely on one another to better ourselves for the future and to create a lifestyle our child will cherish.

“But but but… isn’t it awkward?”

NO. And I really wish people would stop asking this question. There is no bad blood between us. No jealousy, no fighting, and definitely no sharing (so stop asking that, too!). We have had no more conflicts than any other group of roommates would have. Is it so hard to accept that three adults can be mature and cohabitate the same space?  

People act as though my husband and my ex should hate each other, that my ex should hate me, and so on. But why? What would the point of that be? We are capable of putting aside whatever differences we may have had in order to do what is best for our daughter; which in my opinion, is getting to kiss all three of her parents good night.

It's also more than that. I may no longer be with her dad, but never once have I wished ill will towards him or stopped caring about him. He has been in my life for over ten years and we remain very good friends. We couldn’t make it work as a couple but we made it work as parents. Even though over the years we spent as a couple we caused each other needless pain, we have managed to overcome that and co-parent extremely well. Though we are not together, I can still appreciate him as a friend and as an amazing father.  We have an unbreakable bond: a beautiful daughter. Her happiness is more important than whatever caused our relationship to end and because of her, he will forever be a part of my family.

 Thank you to my husband who has never shown any trace of jealously towards my ex. I appreciate all the love and support you give me every day. Thank you for loving me and my daughter. 

Daughter drew this at school. She loves her family!

Daughter drew this at school. She loves her family!

We won’t all live together forever. But we may as well enjoy it while we do. 

- Kaitlyn James