According to the statistics, more than 12 million households are headed up by a single parent these days, 84 percent of which are single moms. These days one of the most famous of those single moms is Maci Bookout, star of MTV's Teen Mom and more recently Being Maci, a special that updated fans on what she's up to these days.
No longer in a relationship with Ryan Edwards, her one-time fiance and father of 4-year-old son Bentley, the reality star has had her ups and downs, most of them very publicly. But these days she and Ryan are co-parenting happily! And she shared some surprising secrets behind how they make it work -- even when they're dating other people -- with The Stir. Check out what Maci had to say about her former fiance and why she's still co-sleeping with her 4-year-old:
On what Bentley is up to these days:
He's up to everything. He [just] started pre-K, so he's really excited about that. He's obviously been riding his dirt bike and his bicycle. He learned how to swim this summer without any life jacket or any floaties or anything.
He's been doing a lot of cool stuff, and it's really fun to see him grow into his own personality and be his own person.
On how single parenting led to co-sleeping with her 4-year-old:
He's still sleeping with me, which is crazy because when he was first born, as soon as he was 3 months old, I got him sleeping in his crib. It was a lot of work to get that done, and he did sleep by himself for a long time, but since it's just kind of been me and him for the past year, I don't know.
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I feel like if I made him sleep in his own room, I think that he would actually be fine with it, but I'm being selfish.
I think he'll be fine when we're ready, well, when I'm ready. I might just be a little selfish on this for a little while.
On why Bentley likes having his parents split up:
He actually deals with it well now. There was a tough time there for a little while when Kyle and I split up and it was just me and Bentley. I think that's when it kind of hit him that things are different and that he doesn't have his Mommy and his Dad in the same house -- especially going to school and seeing the other kids being picked up by their Mom and their Dad sometimes and the other kids talking about their parents.
He did have a rough year that year, but now he appreciates it more because he gets two of everything. He gets to have two Christmases and two birthday parties and two of every single toy because he's here with me and then with Ryan.
I think now he's learning to kind of appreciate it and think of it in a positive way rather than a negative thing.
That's all me and Ryan have been trying to do, show him that he gets two of everything, two awesome families or one big family, however he wants to think about it.
On Ryan as a parent:
He's come a long way, and I know that he knows it. You can definitely see it in Bentley and Ryan's relationship now and how much it's grown in the past year and a half.
On how she and Ryan manage to co-parent:
I think the biggest thing we've learned and really started doing the past eight or nine months is that we are the parents. My parents aren't parenting him; his parents aren't parenting him. Even if we do have a serious boyfriend or girlfriend, and they do need to be good influences and good role models for Bentley, but WE are the mom and the dad.
The decisions need to be made between us and not necessarily everyone else that is around. Since we've kind of caught on to that and learned to communicate with each other, rather than letting everyone else's opinions get involved, it's made it a lot easier on us, and I think it's made it a lot easier on Bentley too.
On how Ryan deals with her boyfriend, Taylor:
He's fine with it. He and Taylor have met and they get along great, and I think that we both just understood that whatever person is with me, my boyfriend, and whoever he decides to get in a serious relationship with -- that person has to obviously respect their boundaries for their role in Bentley's life, but at the same time, they're going to have to step up and be the second parent, considering that I can't be there all the time and Ryan can't be there all the time.
We both just have understood that and that's our goal, to find people that can respect the situation that they're in and also step up to the plate with what their responsibilities are.
On the chance of a reunion with Ryan:
Most people can have their first love, and when things don't work out, they just go their separate ways and that's the end of it. But with Ryan and me, we just happen to have a child, so we're going to have to deal with each other forever.
But as a couple or getting married or anything like that, that's not anything either one of us is interested in. We just weren't meant to be together like that.
Do you co-parent like Maci? What are your single mom secrets?
Image via MTV