Saturday, June 22, 2013

Nice to Meet You, Let's Have a Kid

The first blush of my excitement about this new co-parenting “movement” has not faded. The New York Times took notice of it in February. So you know it's a legitimate trend now.
Basically, these new websites, set up like dating websites, match men and women who are ready to have a child, but are not in traditional relationships of mother-father-let's-make-a-baby. The potential biological parents then meet, discuss co-parenting arrangements, financial responsibilities, parenting values, etc. It's a date without the romance. Ideally, that means more level heads will prevail. There is no need to wonder if you can wake up with this person the rest of your life. This is just about creating a safe, loving, supportive home life – two of them – for a child.

There are several new social network sites offering wannabe parents this new way to connect.,, and

I joined one to try it out. Within a few hours, I received info about a few men not too far from my home who are looking to co-parent with someone. From their profiles, they seemed passionate about becoming fathers. 

Here's an example:

“We're searching for a nice, loving woman or lesbian couple to become co-parents with us. We are in our mid-30s, are completely healthy, responsible and financially secure, and really would love to be parents and to share the parental duties with another couple. My wife doesn't have much free time, nor does she really feel the need to be a biological mother. But I have an incredibly flexible schedule and would love to be a Dad. I ideally would not just be a sperm donor but would play a big role in taking care of the child. Some things we love are travel, sports (esp. tennis, skiing, hiking, and swimming), music, movies, and games.”

Awwwww. Who wouldn't want him as a father? 

Others were single men, like me, whose lives have not unfolded as they imagined but they don't want to wait around any longer for Mrs. Right. Some of the profiles really touched my heart. I could feel the guy's longing for a child, which surprised me. Sometimes I forget that there are many men out there who also feel they've missed the boat to become a dad. Women are not alone in this. And their desire (desperation?) to be fathers compelled them to these sites, hoping just like women, that it will provide a new option for creating a family, unusual as it might be. I wish us all luck.

Of course there are critics. And I'm sure there will be many more if this trend increases, but the first to come out against co-parenting liken the situation to setting a child up from birth for the difficult lifestyle of children of divorce. I agree that having one stable, loving home might be more ideal, but comparing “parenting partnerships” to a divorce is not accurate.

Parenting partnerships start with two people who are so desirous to be a parent, they are willing to take dramatic out-of-the-box steps and risk all sorts of critical judgment to do it. That's a motivated, passionate person. More importantly, a parenting partnership is just that, a detailed prearranged agreement about who will do what when and how as a parent. All of it put into writing.
The cause of much conflict in traditional families (which often leads to divorce) is differing views on how to raise the children. Many couples don't discuss it before getting married or having kids. They are often surprised to discover their partner's differing ideas or level of engagement in child-rearing.

In a parenting partnership, the “team” of mother and father can be more clear-eyed about the ground rules at the very start. Romantic love between mom and dad is not a complicating factor. It's not even a part of the picture. Anyone who has a child knows it's a lot of hard work. It's a job that requires lots of time, focus, organization, planning, long-term strategies and committed cooperation between parents. That's a whole different skill set than romantic love. All the work of child-rearing, in fact, often dampens romantic love between parents.

With parenting partnerships, mom and dad go into it with the sole focus of working as a tag team to do the job of raising a child. That's all that matters. To me, that seems like a good thing for the child.

Of course, humans can be unpredictable. Unforeseen things can throw all carefully planned arrangements under the bus. But that is the same for all ways of creating families. We cannot remove ourselves completely from the insecurity of life. All we can do is keep moving forward, using our best judgment in creating the life and the family we want as best we can. That's all any of us can do in any endeavor.

As for me, I will begin reaching out to potential parenting partners and exploring my options there.

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