I am a single mother of a daughter. At one stage we had another single mother and her daughter move into our third bedroom. Our daughters used to play together at the playground. The other mother told me the owners were moving back into her rental and she didn’t have bond money and had nowhere to go, so I offered up the room at a very, very low price.
It was great fun and our parenting styles were the same, so there was never an issue of one child getting away with something while the other didn’t. Financially it was also great and so was the division of chores. It was also beneficial if one of us had a date, as there was no need for a babysitter, or if one had work, the other had the girls. Co-parenting at its finest.
On reflection I did more parenting. Teaching the simple things such as clear your plate, take out the bin, set the table, clean up after yourself, washing in the washing basket and I did more babysitting as the other mother had casual work and was dating more than I was (I simply wasn’t that ready). In turn, the other mum did more cooking and involved our daughters in that (I hated cooking then and still do now). It doesn’t sound very balanced but it was – that’s how much I hate cooking!
Her daughter was also a couple of years older than mine, and they became as tight as siblings, and fought like siblings, and defended each other like siblings.
We have not shared a home with another single parent since this experience as we moved to a smaller place a few months after they moved out. It was the perfect experience at the time for us as mothers and for our daughters. To know that you could reach out and someone would help. That is a big learning curve for many single parents, to know it is ok to ask for help and to have someone to discuss the mundane and the joyful with.
The key is to respect the other, have the same parenting skills and not use “use” each other babysitters or housekeepers.
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