Co-parenting as an idea was lesser known till even a few years ago, revealed author and storyteller Jeol Leon in a Ted Talk.
Growing up, Leon, like most other kids, knew there was only one person a child could turn to for food, shelter, warmth, love and discipline–the mother. “My mother, who I playfully call “Linda T,” was my first example of real love and what showing up as a healthy co-parent looked like. She was a strong, determined single mother, a woman who would have benefited greatly from having a secure and stable partner as a co-parent,” Leon shared.
Leon is now a co-parent himself, raising daughter Lilah with his partner who he dated “on and off for several months” before they found out about the pregnancy. “I was ashamed, I was embarrassed, and, at times, I was suicidal. I was asking myself, what was I doing? Where was I going wrong? I never wanted the stigma or label of what some identified as the stereotypical ‘black father.’ So: absentee, confrontational, combative, not present,” he expressed.
Parenting is a big responsibility, often exhausting, which is why some amount of help from the partner could only ease the process. Today, there are parents–either separated or divorced or single–including celebrities who opt for co-parenting to ensure the wellbeing of their child.
“You see, this is co-parenting, and in an ideal world, my mother would have had a co-parent, too. She would have had support, someone to show up and give her a break, a time off. In an ideal world, every parent is a co-parent. In an ideal world, both parents share the weight of the work appropriately. Lilah’s mother and I have a schedule,” Leon added.
Parenting is not just a mother’s job, the author emphasised. “It is work, it is beautifully hard work dismantling the systems that would have us believe a woman’s primary role is in the kitchen, tending to all things domestic, while the hapless dad fumbles all over himself whenever he has to spend a weekend alone with the kids,” he pointed out.
Watch the full video to know Leon’s story.
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