(barely) Surviving Shared Custody

When I popped my firstborn son out, I was an unwed, mostly-single mother. The father of my son was, like me, 20 years old, and my pregnancy was unplanned. By that, I mean I nearly fell off the couch when the second line appeared on the pregnancy test. I'd been regularly taking birth control pills and my sex-life was non-existent.

However, there was that pesky line proving that birth control pills are not, in fact, 100 percent effective.

My pregnancy was the antithesis of joyful. I inelegantly waddled back home to my unhappy parents, and by the time my son was born, his father and I were barely talking to each other without an intermediary. We were a poster for the slogan, "Just because you CAN make a baby together doesn't mean that you SHOULD."

Thankfully for everyone's sake, we split shortly after Benjamin was born.

Now that said infant is now a whopping 10 years old, we've managed to work out most of our differences. And not, like you might think, with a hacksaw and garbage bags.


I won't blow smoke up your ass and say, "Co-parenting has been a dream!" because that would be a lie that lying liars tell, and I am many things, but a lying liar is not one of them.

My ex was Furious George that I met -- and married -- another man. It seems that after he'd spent most of my pregnancy blaming me for said pregnancy (ignoring that my little old egg was just SITTING there doing NOTHING while his sperm did all the work), he'd now decided that it was high time to be a family. Even if we hated each other. It was sort of like the scene in National Lampoon's Vacation where Chevy Chase finally loses his cool and yells, "It's a quest for fun! I'm gonna have fun and you're gonna have fun, we're all gonna have so much fun we're going to be whistling Zippidy Doo-Dah!" out of our assholes!"

Insert, of course, some vaguaries about family rather than fun.

Co-parenting hasn't been the easiest thing I've had to deal with. Sometimes he comes on the weekends to pick the kid up, most of the time he doesn't. Luckily my son doesn't particularly care. They're not close. My ex has his own life now, just as we have ours.

Holidays like Father's Day, though, present a particular breed of awkwardness. On the one hand, my ex and I aren't exactly FB BFF OMG BBQ, so ponying up for a gift isn't something I care to do. On the other, if it matters to my son, of course I will. But my son has another father -- my husband -- who is there to take him to doctor's appointments, violin lessons, school conferences. He's the one Ben calls his "father." Having two fathers will, no doubt, confuse him at some point, but for now, he's perfectly content. As am I.

Certainly there will be more and less awkward years, but for now, we're all surviving. Thriving, even.

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