In the midst of major life changes, two single mothers, who also happen to be best friends, opted to merge their households in hopes of making their lives a little easier. What they got out of it was a sisterhood and a chance to strengthen their bond through motherhood.
In a piece for the Huffington Post, Ashley Simpo described the moment the idea of moving in with her best friend hit her “like a brick.” Her best friend, Tia, was getting divorced while she and her live-in boyfriend had decided to pump the breaks on their relationship and sort through their issues separately. Both ladies were suddenly faced with the issue of “logistics” — where were they going to live?
“Finding an apartment in New York City is hard enough,” Simpo wrote. “…But finding one that accommodates kids is like searching for a very expensive needle in a very expensive haystack.”
Simpo, the mother of a 5-year-old, and Tia, the mother to two boys, aged 3 and 13, soon settled on moving into Tia’s Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment, which was spacious enough to accommodate both families. It wasn’t long before the pair set a move-in date to signal the beginning of their new journey together.
“The master bedroom was converted into the boys’ room, with space designated on one end for the oldest child so he could retain some semblance of adolescent autonomy,” she wrote. “Tia and I took the remaining two smaller rooms. We agreed to share all housing expenses ― groceries, rent, utilities, even Netflix.”
“We also agreed to support each other, be each other’s first line of defense when dealing with parental ups and downs,” Simpo continued.
She described she and her best friend’s arrangement as one that goes far beyond that of roommates. They lean on each other for support, she said. For instance, when Tia was in bed recovering from a long night of work or play, Simpo woke up early to make the boys breakfast. When Simpo struggled to find childcare for her child between the end of school and his first day of summer camp, she said Tia offered to take her son to work with her for a couple of hours while she got some work done.
“…Our home has two parents in it. Two parents who have agreed to be each other’s backup before deploying more expensive or inconvenient options,” she wrote. “This is a godsend in a city like New York, where work never sleeps and kids hardly ever settle down.”
Simpo said the arrangement has also allowed them to lean on each other for emotional support, especially as they struggled their own separate relationship issues. Best of all, she said, is the fact that their sons got the chance to bond as brothers.
She described the effort to “co-mother” their children as one that’s been “healthy and fruitful” thus far.
“Mothers need each other ― single or otherwise,” Simpo wrote. ” … A co-mothership is about partnership. It requires the same level of commitment and communication as any partnership. We understand the day-to-day and we hear the things that usually go unsaid.”
“These things we don’t have to say allow us space that the world won’t give us. Space we greatly need,” she added.