Single motherhood






Hi, I'm a Kenyan-born, Colorado-based single mom to twins Hodari and Milambu. I turned the challenges of single motherhood into a thriving YouTube community and blog. Here, I offer support and practical advice on parenting, lifestyle, and more. Let's navigate life's complexities together!


more about me

single motherhood





Ah, co-parenting. You thought it would be a synchronized dance, but instead, it feels like you’re juggling flaming torches while hopping on one foot. Sound familiar? If discussions with your ex are more explosive than a soda and Mentos experiment, you might be wondering if there’s a way to dial down the drama. Co-parenting has turned into a game where the rules keep changing, there’s no referee, and your reward is just a fresh new set of stress wrinkles.

But what if I told you there’s an alternative that doesn’t involve nightly stress-eating or yelling into your pillow? Welcome to the cozy corner of parallel parenting! Think of it as your backstage pass out of co-parenting chaos—the strategy that lets you parent successfully without having to pretend you and your ex are best buds. So grab your favorite beverage, whether it’s a calming herbal tea or a mug of that coffee you swear by, and let’s break down why parallel parenting could be your saving grace.

Parallel Parenting

What’s Parallel Parenting?

If you’re scratching your head and wondering what “parallel parenting” actually means, don’t worry—you’re not alone! Think of it like this: parallel parenting is to co-parenting what parallel lines are to geometry—running in the same direction but never intersecting. You and your ex are like two streams flowing towards the same grand ocean, nurturing the same precious sea of life—your adorable kiddos—but crucially, never merging into a single, tumultuous river.

The central hub of parallel parenting is a detailed, written parenting plan that outlines the nitty-gritty—who does what, when, and how. This can range from which parent handles school functions to how holidays are shared. You have this blueprint that serves as a mutual agreement, minimizing the need for those emotionally charged discussions that can spiral out of control.

This form of parenting isn’t just about reducing conflict (although, let’s be real, that’s a huge plus). It’s also about allowing each parent to offer their unique gifts and qualities to their children, without the constant interference or judgment from the other. You get to be the best version of yourself as a parent, and so does your ex.

In summary, parallel parenting is like a choreographed dance where each dancer knows their steps and keeps to their own space. The music is the same, the end performance is a unified spectacle, but each dancer gets to shine in their own right, bringing their flair to the overall show. The goal remains the same: to raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids who know they are loved, even if Mom and Dad aren’t doing the tango together.

RELATED: Co-Parenting vs. Parallel Parenting: Which Is Best for Your Situation

Why These 10 Warning Signs Mean Parallel Parenting is Your Next Move

1. Constant Conflict

The Problem:

If you find that your interactions with your ex have devolved into a never-ending loop of arguments, you’re not alone. Arguments over minor issues turn into all-out battles, leaving both parties drained and, most importantly, the kids confused and stressed. It becomes an exhausting exercise where the child-rearing discussions escalate quicker than a toddler’s temper tantrum. It’s like you’re both singing, but in entirely different genres, causing a cacophony that leaves everyone with a headache.

The Parallel Solution:

This is where parallel parenting comes swooping in like a superhero in a cape. In a parallel parenting arrangement, a detailed plan is usually established, outlining each parent’s responsibilities and reducing the need for constant, direct communication. Think of this as your playbook; it clearly states who does what, when, and how. Not only does this cut down on the opportunities for conflicts to arise, but it also creates a safer, more predictable environment for your kids.

The emotional distance this method affords can act as a cooling-off period for both parents. Sometimes, you just need the emotional and mental space to see things objectively, and parallel parenting offers just that. It also allows each parent to gain some perspective, to focus on effective child-rearing rather than winning an argument. Ultimately, the reduced tension helps you direct all that emotional energy where it should go—to being the best parent you can be.

So, instead of constant bickering that leads nowhere, each parent operates within their own space, following a playbook that’s designed to minimize conflict and benefit the kids. It’s like moving from improv to a well-rehearsed play; everyone knows their lines, making the whole performance a lot smoother.

2. Communication Breakdown

The Problem:

Ah, communication, the cornerstone of any good relationship—or so they say. But what happens when that cornerstone crumbles? Simple text messages escalate into a labyrinth of emails, each one more confusing and accusatory than the last. Phone calls with your ex become agonizing exercises in diplomacy, reminding you of high-stakes international negotiations where one wrong word could spark a catastrophe. You find yourself walking on eggshells, choosing your words with surgical precision just to discuss who’s picking up the kids from soccer practice. But despite your best efforts, the message often gets lost in translation, leaving both parties frustrated and the kids caught in the middle.

The Parallel Solution:

Enter the wonderful world of structured communication, a heaven-sent solution for ex-partners turned frenemies. Tools, like shared digital calendars or specialized co-parenting apps, are designed to streamline the flow of information between households. What does this mean for you? For starters, it minimizes room for error. Specific dates, times, and responsibilities can be logged and checked by both parties, reducing the need for constant clarification.

Secondly, this method largely eliminates the need for direct verbal interaction, which we all know can be a hotbed for misunderstandings and emotional flare-ups. You share only what is absolutely necessary, and it’s all in writing, providing a clear record for any potential disputes. Imagine that—a conversation with your ex that doesn’t end in a heated exchange!

Thirdly, using these channels adds a layer of accountability. Since everything is documented, neither party can easily claim ignorance or manipulate the narrative to their advantage. It’s all there, in black and white.

So, if you’ve been living in a constant state of “he said, she said,” structured communication channels could be your saving grace. They filter out the noise and let the essential messages shine through, making parallel parenting a boon for preserving both your sanity and your children’s emotional well-being.

Read more about communication in Co-parenting:

3. Undermining Authority

The Problem:

You say bedtime is at 8 PM, and your ex counters with midnight movie marathons. You prefer wholesome meals, they’re all about fast food. You limit screen time, they hand iPads like candy. It’s like you’re playing a never-ending game of “Whack-A-Mole,” where each rule you set is instantly smacked down by your ex’s contradictory actions. This consistent undermining not only creates confusion for your children but also erodes your authority and makes it hard to establish a stable routine in your own home.

The Parallel Solution:

In the world of parallel parenting, each household is its own sovereign nation, complete with its own laws and governance. That means what happens at Mom’s house stays at Mom’s house, and what happens at Dad’s house stays at Dad’s house. There’s no need for a UN peacekeeping force because each territory operates independently. This autonomy allows you to implement and enforce your own values, routines, and disciplinary measures, free from external interference. If your ex wants to run their household like a Las Vegas buffet—well, that’s on them. You can focus on providing the structure and stability your children need when they’re under your roof.

By committing to a parallel parenting arrangement, you create an emotional firewall that protects your ability to parent according to your beliefs. It gives your children the opportunity to experience the benefits of your parenting style while with you, even if they live under different rules when they’re with your ex. Over time, kids adapt and may even come to appreciate the consistency of one parent’s home over the chaotic energy of the other.

4. Emotional Manipulation

The Problem:

Ah, emotional manipulation, the dark art in which your ex holds a Ph.D. Not only are they masters of the guilt trip, but they also know precisely how to push your buttons, making you question your own parenting choices. Whether it’s gaslighting you into thinking you’re the unreasonable one or employing emotional blackmail to sway your decisions, it’s exhausting.

The Parallel Solution:

Welcome to the emotionally secure fortress that parallel parenting can provide. In this setup, you’re not flying by the seat of your pants or relying on gut feelings; you’re sticking to a predetermined, court-approved plan. This master document serves as your shield against those manipulative arrows. The rules are spelled out in black and white, leaving no room for interpretation or emotional leverage.

Now, when your ex tries to play the guilt card or exploit emotional loopholes, you can simply refer back to the agreed-upon plan. It’s like having an emotional referee who calls a foul whenever someone tries to play dirty. Ultimately, this allows you to keep interactions objective and strictly about the well-being of the children, removing the emotional battlefield entirely.

RELATED: How to Deal with Persistent Court Order Violations

5. Different Parenting Styles

The Problem:

Parenting styles can be as diverse as ice cream flavors, and just like too much of one flavor can leave you yearning for something else, a single-parenting style isn’t always universally effective. Your household might run like a well-oiled machine—meal prep on Sundays, homework before screen time, and a bedtime that would make Cinderella proud. On the flip side, your ex’s house could be more akin to a never-ending slumber party—complete with midnight snacks and a lax attitude toward chores.

These conflicting approaches can make your kids feel like they’re constantly switching between two different worlds. The inconsistency can be confusing, and let’s be honest, kids are smart—they’ll quickly learn how to exploit the differing rules.

The Parallel Solution:

The beauty of parallel parenting lies in its allowance for individuality. Separate households mean separate rules. You can stick to your schedules, your disciplinary methods, and your routines without interference. This stability helps your kids know what to expect when they’re with you, providing an essential sense of consistency and security.

Furthermore, you don’t have to spend valuable energy attempting to get your ex to see the wisdom of your ways (as satisfying as that “I told you so” might feel). Instead, you can pour that energy into your kids, into your self-care, and into the thousand other things on your mom-to-do list.

Lastly, by maintaining your parenting style, you’re also imparting your values and life skills to your children. Whether it’s the importance of punctuality or the value of a well-balanced meal, these are the building blocks that your kids will carry with them into adulthood.

So go ahead, rock that structured lifestyle, and let your ex run their ship as they see fit. In the grand scheme of things, your children get the benefit of experiencing different facets of life, while still enjoying the stability that your more organized approach provides.

6. Controlling Behavior

The Problem:

Your ex seems to think they’re the captain of your parenting ship, dictating the course at every turn. They micromanage your choices, critique your parenting style, and generally act like a puppet master. It feels like you’re constantly under surveillance, from what you feed the kids to how you manage their screen time. This overbearing behavior leaves you feeling powerless and undermines your confidence as a parent.

The Parallel Solution:

With parallel parenting, you finally get to reclaim your captain’s hat. First off, a clearly defined parenting plan places boundaries around each parent’s responsibilities and decisions, effectively limiting the scope of your ex’s influence when the kids are in your care. You set the rules, the tone, and the atmosphere in your house—no approval is needed from your co-parent. The parenting plan also serves as a neutral third party; if your ex tries to take control, you have a documented agreement to refer back to. This can be especially empowering and act as a conflict diffuser. Overall, parallel parenting returns your autonomy, giving you the space to parent according to your own values and beliefs. Now, you can focus on creating a loving, stable environment without constantly looking over your shoulder for the next unsolicited piece of “advice.”

RELATED: 7 Important Personal Boundaries To Set While Co-parenting

7. Legal Battles

The Problem:

If the inside of a courtroom is starting to feel like your second home, it’s time to pause and reassess. Legal battles not only drain your wallet but also consume invaluable time and emotional energy—resources that could be better spent with your kids. The constant stress of legal wrangling can also have a trickle-down effect, affecting your children’s sense of stability.

The Parallel Solution:

Opting for a parallel parenting arrangement often necessitates a detailed, court-endorsed plan that leaves little room for ambiguity. This plan spells out who is responsible for what, reducing the need to head back to court to iron out disagreements. With this approach, everyone knows what’s expected of them, from pickup and drop-off arrangements to medical decisions and holiday schedules.

Judges often favor these setups because they show both parents are committed to reducing conflict and focusing on the children’s well-being. Over time, a well-structured parallel parenting plan could significantly lessen your legal expenses and stress levels, freeing up more time for what truly matters: being present for your kids.

8. Abuse or Toxic Behavior

The Problem:

Abuse or toxicity in a co-parenting relationship is a serious matter that can manifest in various ways—emotional, physical, or verbal abuse, or even manipulative tactics to control you or the children. When these unhealthy behaviors exist, they create an environment that’s not just unsustainable for co-parenting but also harmful to everyone involved. The ramifications extend beyond the parents and deeply affect the children, who may develop emotional and psychological issues as a result.

The Parallel Solution:

In situations where toxic or abusive behavior is present, parallel parenting becomes more than just an option—it’s a necessity for the well-being of both you and your children. This approach drastically minimizes contact between you and your ex, reducing the risk of triggering toxic encounters. Communication becomes limited, and structured, and, when necessary, can be done through intermediaries or court-approved platforms. By doing so, you create a buffer that significantly reduces the opportunity for abuse or manipulation.

Moreover, a detailed parallel parenting plan can be legally binding and can specify how violations are to be handled, providing you with an additional layer of legal protection. This setup gives you the autonomy to parent safely and securely within your own space, offering you and your children a reprieve from an otherwise volatile situation.

9. Unresolved Emotional Baggage

The Problem:

Ah, the ghosts of relationships past. These lingering emotional wounds have a pesky way of haunting co-parenting conversations. Every time you try to discuss school events, extracurriculars, or even basic logistics, the conversation veers off course. Instead of figuring out whose turn it is to take the kids to soccer practice, you find yourselves in a heated debate rehashing past grievances. The inability to stick to the topic at hand derails constructive conversations and clouds better judgment.

The Parallel Solution:

One of the underrated beauties of parallel parenting is how it essentially puts emotional baggage in a “time-out.” With limited and strictly necessary communication, you’re not providing oxygen to feed those old emotional fires. You get the space to heal independently, allowing those wounds to finally start closing up. The focus can then genuinely shift to the kids, where it should have been all along. In time, as you each heal, you might even find that these stringent boundaries could loosen a bit. But for now, think of parallel parenting as emotional triage, stopping the bleeding so that actual healing can begin.

RELATED: How To Heal and Rebuild Self-Esteem While Co-parenting with a Toxic Ex

10. Health Impact

The Problem:

The stress of constant conflict is affecting your mental and physical health. You’re more frazzled than a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Headaches have become your new normal, and you can’t remember the last time you had a full night’s sleep. Your stress levels are through the roof, and let’s face it, stress is like that uninvited houseguest who overstays their welcome, affecting everyone around you.

The Parallel Solution:

Limited interaction equals less stress, which translates to a healthier, happier you. When you’re not continuously bracing for the next battle, you have more energy to focus on yourself and your well-being. You can finally recommit to that yoga class you’ve been missing or even just enjoy a quiet cup of tea without dread looming over you. A less stressed parent is more emotionally available, which is a win-win for both you and your kids. When you’re feeling better, the ripple effect touches every aspect of your home life, creating a more harmonious environment for your children to grow and thrive.

RELATED: How to Build a Positive Co-Parenting Relationship: 15 Elements to Follow

Wrapping Up…

Switching to parallel parenting isn’t admitting defeat; it’s choosing a different strategy to achieve the same end goal: raising great kids. You’re simply choosing a path that allows for less friction and more focus on what really matters—providing a loving, stable environment for your children.

So there it is, lovely moms. If you’re experiencing any of these red flags, it may be time to explore parallel parenting. Remember, your peace of mind isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity—for you and for your kids.

10 Warning Signs You’re Better Off Parallel Parenting

parallel parenting

Sep 2, 2023

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

@ FAITH MATINI 2021 All Rights Reserved


Faith Matini is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

error: Content is protected !!