Co-parenting can look very different from one situation to the next. What works for one set of parents might not be ideal for another.
However, one woman has caused a stir by calling some parents for a style of co-parenting that she likens to babysitting.
“Disrespectfully, if a child has to pack a bag to stay at your house, it’s not co-parenting, it’s babysitting,” a mom who goes by “Allie – Realistic Mother" says in a TikTok video. Allie can be seen packing things like toothpaste, medicine, and other things into a backpack that she is preparing for her children’s visit with their father.
Like Allie, many might feel that they are taking on the majority of the responsibility when it comes to co-parenting. Oftentimes, before parents split, the separation of duties has organically fallen into place, with the mother traditionally taking on a majority of the childcare. If that has been the status quo, it might take some time for the father to get used to duties he’s not accustomed to doing.
While 51% of parents in custody cases agree that the mother should be the custodial parent, the aim is for the responsibility to be equally balanced to protect and foster the well-being of the children.
Bad co-parenting can have detrimental outcomes for the children involved.
Every family will approach co-parenting differently, and the goal is that the routine puts as little stress on the kids as possible. The act of packing a suitcase and shuffling your little one back and forth can do the exact opposite, making the child feel like a visitor in each of their respective homes.
According to HuffPost contributor Candice Curry, having a child pack a bag and differentiating between the items mom bought versus those that dad purchased can create a divide that continues to grow as parents draw a line in the sand and can make kids feel like they are two different people. Curry agrees with Allie's point that at the bare minimum, each parent should provide the basics for their kids (like clothes, a toothbrush and, as Allie explains, any medicine the child might need) to make them feel more secure and at home.
Healthy co-parenting through communication and cooperation gives the kids involved a sense of stability while maintaining their emotional well-being. Minimizing conflict will reduce stress and anxiety in your child, make them feel safe, and possibly stop them from blaming themselves for the split and the resulting acrimony.
According to research conducted by Ohio State University, keeping the peace starts with co-parents seeing one another in a positive light and working together to create a positive and secure environment for their child.
Allie's point is that each parent should be able to provide basic necessities for their children.
She explains that the expectation goes both ways, whether the little ones were going from mom’s house to dad’s or vice versa. She explained that she had packed her baby’s pacifier, vitamins for allergies, natural cold syrup for her two-year-old, and a few other toiletries, all things that she believes both parents should keep on hand since they are both aware of the need for them.
“I’m providing those things for him because Dad won’t do it,” Allie alleged. Each of the children has their own separate bag filled with clothing that she also has to send with them to their father’s home. She asserts that basic things like clothes, diapers, wipes, etc. are things that should be present in each household to meet the needs of the children.
Allie closes by saying that if you choose to have children, you should be able to provide for them adequately.
If not, according to her, that makes you under qualified to be considered a parent, and you are simply babysitting your own children.
With that said, this mother is totally valid in expecting her children’s father to step up to the plate and take good care of them when it’s his turn. When parents are together, it may feel like one parent is simply filling parenting gaps while in reality, both parents should know how and be able to take full responsibility, for the sake of the kids.
NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington. She covers lifestyle, relationship, and human-interest stories that readers can relate to and that bring social issues to the forefront for discussion.
This article originally appeared on YourTango