Serena — young mum of Skye — explains the secrets behind her good co-parenting relationship with her ex and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.
Here’s what Serena says in the video if you can’t watch it…
My name’s Serena, I’m 25 years old, and I’m a single mother to Skye who’s 3 and a half years old. I split up with her father when I was 5 months pregnant and so then, I guess, been a single
mother since she was born.
It was hard at first…
I’d say, because she was young when I first let her go off unsupervised to her father’s, especially with him living 60 miles away. So it was hard for me to let go and not worry, ’cause she wasn’t round the corner.
But I felt like I had to give him that opportunity because obviously he’s her father — he’s shown an interest so it’s only fair that I allow him to see her.
Communication is key.
I feel that… especially for the parent who doesn’t spend the most time with their child — so I guess the father in this case.
He phones her every day, mostly in the evening — early evening — to check how she’s been, how her day’s been, what she’s got up to at nursery.
Try and keep [the other parent] involved.
What I do, I keep Skye’s father involved in any updates, and with him I think that’s important because he lives 60 miles away, so I do feel the need to keep him up-to-date with any changes or developments that she’s going through.
He was trying so I gave him a list, I said get coconut oil — it has to be organic, that’s the products I use in her hair and on her body.
Even now — she’s 3 and a half — I always still text him to make sure he’s feeding her properly, and y’know, that she’s gone to bed at an appropriate time. I do, even now, give him tips, I guess.
Again, maybe if one parent’s a smoker — Skye’s dad’s a smoker so I’ve emphasised on him when he does have Skye, to not obviously smoke in his car. He says he doesn’t smoke in his house but to
air out his flat, to sanitise his hands.
I always say that the smell does transfer, even though he might not smoke around her, but if he’s been previously smoking, for me — a person who doesn’t smoke — the smell might transfer and linger.
Set boundaries as well.
I think, ’cause especially in my experience, where I split up with her father when I was 5 months pregnant, there’s been times when he’s said we should do something with Skye, like go away for a
weekend or me possibly go over to his, and I’ve kind of put that guard up, just because I feel that I don’t want to confuse Skye.
The way that she’s always had it, like she’s got “Mummy and Skye’s house” and “Daddy and Skye’s house”, so I wouldn’t want to confuse her by starting to spend weekends or days at her dad’s and then go back to our place, but I do put that guard up.
If it’s gonna be in the best interests for the child then definitely go for it, but I just felt that I had to put that… set boundaries.
If there are any issues, just sit down amongst yourselves and work it out.
Try not to get family involved, where you’re saying ‘well, my mum said this,’ ‘my dad said it should be like this’. ‘Cause that can maybe create tension when you do move on and you don’t want the child to see that as well.
I guess you can always get advice from someone but just don’t let them have the last say, if that makes sense.
We do have that flexibility.
Like if I wanted her one weekend which is his weekend or I wanted him to pick her up earlier, or drop her later, we can. We do have that good co-parenting bond where we can be flexible.
We both have her best interests at heart, so that’s the main thing. So that’s why our co-parenting works.
More single parenting advice from young mums like Serena
- My journey as a single parent wasn’t easy, but I made it, by Rachel
- Dealing with ‘working mum guilt’: Linda’s advice
- The importance of dads: Stephanie’s story of single parenthood