If you are currently navigating the sticky, murky waters of co-parenting, step parenting or life with kids after divorce, I have just finished a book that you NEED to read.
Do you want to know what happens when a Mum and a Step Mum pair up to write a memoir about their ’13 year long’ co-parenting journey together?
It’s definitely juicy! Introducing;
STEP (MOM): A DUAL MEMOIR – HOW WE NAVIGATED DIVORCE, REMARRAIGE AND CO-PARENTING WITH THE SAME GOAL…HAPPY CHILDREN.
Before you think this is another ‘how to’ co-parent book, it’s really not. In fact it’s a book that sheds an incredibly refreshing light into the ‘realness’ of raising children after divorce, especially when a new partner is introduced.
The two Mum’s describe their book as a “raw, funny, sometimes-awkward, and hopefully inspiring look inside the crazy world of co-parenting”.
It certainly is that and so much more. Take the time that Erin (Mum) photographed her ex-husband’s marriage to Tina (Step-Mum), as an example of how crazy co-parenting can be.
Yup, co-parenting is messy and sometimes a bit odd. There are no hard and fast rules and sometimes, we just have to go with the flow for the sake of our children.
The book is emotional, funny, real and gripping and it really gets to the heart of the ‘no rules apply’ journey that co-parenting can sometimes be. I loved this book so much, I literally devoured it in one sitting, and I am the busiest Mama. Now, here I am urging all my fellow co-parents to go get this book!
I’ll pre-warn you though, have some tissues nearby! I don’t know if it’s just because I’m still in the post-baby ‘hormonal’ stage, but there are some moments that really made me weep; both with joy, sadness and sometimes just ‘oh thank goodness I’m not alone’ tears.
SO, WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT, WHY DO I NEED IT AND WHO WROTE IT?
Meet Erin (Mom) and Tina (Step-Mom) Gipford. Over the past 13 years they have navigated divorce, re-marraige, love, loss, new babies and the rollercoaster that is co-parenting.
They want their new book; ‘(Step) Mom: A Dual Memoir’ to reach people who are struggling with divorce, co-parenting or stepparent relationships in the hopes that their imperfect journey will inspire other parents to reach for the same goal; happy kids!
Their journey has certainly been interesting and I love how they have made it work, despite some situations being very awkward from an outsiders perspective!
This rare insight into what it’s really likely to co-parent, from both the biological Mum and the Step-Mums point of view, is so refreshing.
Each chapter in their memoir takes you through the trials and victories that each Mum experienced during different seasons of their co-parenting life. In each chapter both Mums take it in turns to share their unique perspectives and view points of what happened and what they felt.
The book covers raw topics such as;
- The experience of messy divorce
- The introduction of new partners to your kids
- How to raise kids across two homes
- How to react when your child hits a milestone but they’re at the other parents house.
- What to do when your ex gets re-married
- What happens when new siblings come along
One thing I really love is that each chapter ends with a summary of what each Mum learnt in that particular moment of their lives. I love that both of them have taken the time to reflect and grow from the situations, no matter how hard or messy they were at the time.
This book offers so many takeaways and lessons and it has really made me take note of how my little family are navigating our own co-parenting journey. I love that this book covers some very serious topics and pulls at your heart strings, but also somehow manages to stay light hearted.
MY CO-PARENTING JOURNEY
Regular readers of Life Unexpected will know that I’ve been on my own co-parenting journey for about four years now. My daughters Dad and I openly shared the breakdown of our relationship and our separation on this blog. We did that in the hopes that it might help others who have found themselves in the same situation.
Since then we’ve shared what it feels like to raise a child across two homes, we’ve shared how we navigated family holidays and we’ve shared how we’ve been able to successfully co-parent our daughter. Especially as I now have a new fiancé and another baby!
We are four years into our co-parenting journey and I have to admit, we’re doing ok. In fact, I think we are doing more than ok. Despite feeling like we’ve got this, this book has still made such an impact on us.
Erin and Tina share loads of practical pointers that you can apply to your own situation and even though it’s not a ‘how to’ book, it is very refreshing to hear the literal ins and outs of another families co-parenting life and how they have made it work.
Getting to play witness to a whole 13 years is something quite special. After reading the book I honestly found myself feeling a little emotionally relieved. I wasn’t alone in some of my thoughts about co-parenting! Someone else feels the same way too!
I got so many takeaways from this book. Firstly, I love that regardless of what these two women were experiencing emotionally (and oh boy they went through some tough stages), their kids were ALWAYS at the forefront of their minds.
They were constantly thinking; What is best for the kids? What would make them happy? Can I put aside my own feelings and reach a decision that is best for them?
One thing that Erin has taught me, is that sometimes you just need to collect yourself and think of your kids before you react to situations. I love this! It’s definitely something I need to do a lot more.
When you’re faced with something that you aren’t comfortable with, or that takes you by surprise; such as your ex getting a new partner, or even hearing that your ex has taken your kids on a first date, then first, you really need to take a step back and breath.
Next, you need to let all your emotions come to the surface and deal with them privately. When you’ve had a moment to collect yourself, then you can think about what’s best for the kids (not for you) and make your decision from there. Love it, love it, love it!
Another thing that I learnt, this time from Tina, is to make sure that you are sharing those milestone moments with the other parent. If your kid happens to be at the ‘other’ parents house and something big happens, like a first tooth lost, then make sure you involve the other parent! Don’t let them find out on changeover day.
These are just two amazing takeaways I got from the book, but I could write pages of them! I learnt so much from these two wonderful women and I have so much respect for them.
TO ERIN AND TINA…
…if you are reading this, I just want to say that you are both incredible parents! Your children are very lucky to have you both and sharing your journey is going to enhance the lives of so many other families who have the pleasure of reading your memoir! I can vouch for the fact that reading your book is going to change the way I co-parent my child for the better. Thank you for this very real and lovely insight into your family life.
For everyone else, you can find out more about Erin and Tina on their website and their social media channels. I’ll link them below:
Then there is the book! You can buy the book (oh boy you need this book) on Amazon. I’ll link it below:
You can grab it in paperback or download to your kindle. Regardless of which you prefer, if you are parenting after separation I urge you to grab a copy, whether it’s for all the amazing takeaways, or just to make you feel like someone else just gets it!