Among the stars of Teen Mom 2, Leah Messer Calvert has a parenting situation that's truly unique. She is the only one of the girls to remarry and divorce, and the only one to see her ex-husband get married again as well. The weddings make the twin daughters of Leah and ex Corey Simms the only children on the MTV series to have two stepparents in addition to two biological parents.
But while theirs is a different story from their co-stars, Leah and Corey's is markedly similar to teen parents in America. Most teen parents do not stay together. In fact, 8 in 10 guys never even marry the mother. Stepparents are common for the children of teenage moms and dads.
And when The Stir sat down to talk to Leah about sharing her children with her ex-husband's wife, the Teen Mom had a surprising -- and surprisingly mature -- take on the role stepparents take in a child's life.
On how she's built a good relationship with her ex-husband:
Corey knows how he grew up. He grew up in a split home. And I know how I grew up. I grew up in a split home, and I didn't see my dad ever.
I think that's what gave us the momentum to want to do better for our kids. We felt tension between our parents; we felt uncomfortable around our parents. We felt uncomfortable to talk about our mom to our dad or our dad to our mom, so we wanted to prevent that for them, to give them the most stable life we possibly could with us not being together.
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I think that's how it was so easy for us to put the past behind us, because it wasn't about us. It was about the kids.
On husband Jeremy Calvert as a stepdad and Corey's wife, Miranda Patterson Simms, as a stepmom:
I feel like the stepparents should be equal as the parent.
You're giving them the leeway to do whatever they want just because they have the "step" parent name. I feel like they should have just as much power as the actual parent if they're married.
Now, if they're just dating, then I feel like let them get to know that person, let them see that they are going to be a parent in their lives.
On why she's happy Miranda is her kids' stepmom:
She's got to play mom when I can't be there. She's got to correct them if I'm not there.
I feel like she's never gave me a reason not to [trust her]. I honestly don't think she is going to give me a reason, but if she ever did, I would say something. I would talk to her, but the girls love her. The girls talk about her. She seems to be a good mom when I'm not there to be a mom.
No one will ever take my place, but I want someone to be the mom that I can't be when I'm not there. I want someone, if they're sick, to comfort them the way Mommy would or if they're scared to hold them like Mommy would. I want that for them because it's not their fault.
Pretty inspiring stuff, huh?
A little spoiler alert -- we get our first real look at Miranda on episode one of Teen Mom 2, which airs at 10 p.m. ET on January 21 on MTV.
How do you think Corey and Leah are doing handling their divorce and kids?
Image by Jeanne Sager