Family & Parenting

Why This Woman And Her Best Friend Moved In Together To ‘co-Mother’ Their Children

"We’re genuinely leaning on each other."

When mom Ashley Simpo and her best friend, Tia Strother, both found themselves single and struggling to find affordable homes in New York City to accommodate their families, they decided to move in together. Strother has 3-year-old and 13-year-old sons while Simpo is the mom of one 5-year-old son.

The pair has known each other for a decade and seen each other through a lot. Facing single motherhood in the wake of a divorce for Strother and a break-up with her live-in boyfriend for Simpo, they decided to merge their households and raise their three children together as co-parents. Simpo wrote about the experience in an essay for the Huffington Post.

“Finding an apartment in New York City is hard enough, but finding one that accommodates kids is like searching for a very expensive needle in a very expensive haystack,” Simpo wrote of the problem that motivated the friends to seek their unconventional solution.

Simpo and her child moved into Strother’s three-bedroom apartment in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. They share all housing expenses, down to groceries and Netflix. But their partnership goes beyond logistics and finances. They also help each other balance work and motherhood and negotiate the struggles that come with continuing to also co-parent with their former partners, and they provide emotional support for each other as parents.

“We’re genuinely leaning on each other; when one of us has more capacity than the other, she tags in,” Simpo wrote.

In addition to helping each other, the friends have found that the arrangement has also benefitted their children.

“Best of all, our sons get to bond like brothers, learn how to compromise, share and help our household function by pitching in with clean-up and meal prep,” she wrote. “This wouldn’t be the case had we attempted to live alone in New York City with our respective kids.

Here all three kids enjoying some ice cream together in a photo posted to Strother’s Instagram:

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Adventures of co-mamas continued… Sat, 6/24 PIC#2: After successful execution of our primary mission to the vision gurus, we descended on the courtyard armed with ColdStone delights! I occupied the smallest minions there while @ashleysimpo took Sean back in for a new game console at Target (rewarding his stellar support lately), we won’t go into the game I made up involving concrete tiles as sovereign land borders and unoccupied benches as communal commodities! The lengths we go to keep them in line… An impromptu bathroom run led to the discovery that kids under the age of 6 can be totally and happily occupied for at least a solid 5 min with the simple but loud pleasures of automatic hand drying! Who the hell knew and why can’t we install them in strategic places at home, for those times when all you need is 5 goddamn minutes of peace to complete a task that’s been protracted by 3 hours when it should’ve only taken 20-30 min??!!

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Simpo also values the true understanding she feels only another mother can hold for her.

“My co-mother doesn’t have to explain why she propped up her son on the couch to watch ‘PJ Mask’ for 30 minutes while she sat in her room in silence,” she wrote. “I don’t have to explain to her why I needed to spend the night at my boyfriend’s place just to feel emotionally catered to by someone who didn’t ask for a peanut butter sandwich as soon as I sat down.”

Simpo acknowledges that their situation is like any partnership, in that they must face problems along the way and work to make sure it stays healthy and productive.

“I wouldn’t be able to do this without Tia, and I am so grateful for the life I share with her right now,” Simpo wrote.

Knowing how hard it is to be a parent, we’re intrigued by the idea of these two besties working it out together. As Strother writes on Instagram, below a photo of the two of them together, “Co-mama adventures continued.”

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Co-mama adventures continued… yet again! I’m realizing with this 3rd post JUST from Saturday’s adventure with the boys, that at this rate we’ll have enough fodder for at least another 5 years of chronicling this little experiment through obsessive IG posting… Talk about advanced content generation! Either way, THIS pic is a break from our regularly scheduled programming focused on the myriad ways in which our minion trifecta scheme plots to bring about our demise (or launch successful assaults on our sanity). There’s very few egotistical confidence boosters like posting a pic of how hot you still look, despite well-organized guerrilla warfare waged on you! The struggle is real and we’ll take whatever opportunities of salvaging leftover cookie crumbs of pride and dignity we can snatch up! ESPECIALLY when @ashleysimpo manages to pull said hotness off by wearing a pink T-shirt screen printed with Cookie Monster that’s a “hand-me-UP” from her son Orion who got it as a hand-me-down from Sean back in the day!! And my dope ass shades hiding the fact that I’ve sweated out my eye-makeup running after little people all day? They speak for themselves, no words needed!

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What do you think of the idea of co-parenting with a friend? Would you ever consider it?