Co-parenting after a divorce can be hard, and the stereotype in our society is that there's always a power struggle between the parents and their ex's new partners. But stepmom Emilee Player of Columbus, Georgia, is showing the world it doesn't have to be that way.
On Saturday, Player posted a photo of her blended family supporting her 4-year-old stepdaughter, Maelyn, at a soccer game while wearing custom-made T-shirts. Maelyn's parents wore shirts that read "Mom" and "Dad," and their new partners wore shirts that read "Stepmom" and "Stepdad."
"Because of us, I will never believe co-parenting can't work! I KNOW through experience it CAN WORK! Choose to do what's best for your child and everything will just fall into place ," she wrote in the caption.
The post went viral, gaining over 32,000 likes and over 82,000 shares in just four days. While some of the comments were negative, telling the parents that they should have "worked things out," the majority of users applauded the family for their maturity and for putting the needs of their children first.
"This is how we do it and our kids are so much better for it! I dealt with the pain my parents caused us with their horrible fighting," one user wrote. "We are friends. We have meals together, hang out together on weekends, we are a team! We were awful to each other when we were together, but now that it's about the kids, we get along great and the kids get to see what real teamwork and support feels and looks like. Bravo to you guys for getting it right!"
Maelyn's mother, Clara Cazeau, told Channel 2 Action News that she and her ex have been sharing custody for the last three years and that the relationship works really well. But they never expected their family post to touch so many hearts!
"We always take family pictures like that every holiday,"she said. "I had just gotten these shirts made. Emilee posted the picture and made it public - but we had no idea it would go that far."
She also said that they key to good co-parenting is to "have each person 100% in it" and to "put your differences aside for the good of your child."
Meanwhile, Player said that she already sees the positive effects of their amicable relationship on the little girl.
"[Maelyn is] accepting of everybody. And I think that's because she's been taught to accept everybody by the people who love her."
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