Watch: Why more fathers need to embrace co-parenting

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Watch: Why more fathers need to embrace co-parenting

https://www.ted.com/talks/joel_leon_the_beautiful_hard_work_of_co_parenting?utm_campaign=tedspread&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=tedcomshare

Co-parenting as an idea was lesser known till even a few years ago, revealed author and storyteller Jeol Leon in a Ted Talk.

Growing up, Leon, like most other kids, knew there was only one person a child could turn to for food, shelter, warmth, love and discipline--the mother. "My mother, who I playfully call "Linda T," was my first example of real love and what showing up as a healthy co-parent looked like. She was a strong, determined single mother, a woman who would have benefited greatly from having a secure and stable partner as a co-parent," Leon shared.

Leon is now a co-parent himself, raising daughter Lilah with his partner who he dated "on and off for several months" before they found out about the pregnancy. "I was ashamed, I was embarrassed, and, at times, I was suicidal. I was asking myself, what was I doing? Where was I going wrong? I never wanted the stigma or label of what some identified as the stereotypical 'black father.' So: absentee, confrontational, combative, not present," he expressed.

Read| Single adults are now raising children as ‘platonic’ parents. How does that work?

Parenting is a big responsibility, often exhausting, which is why some amount of help from the partner could only ease the process. Today, there are parents--either separated or divorced or single--including celebrities who opt for co-parenting to ensure the wellbeing of their child.

"You see, this is co-parenting, and in an ideal world, my mother would have had a co-parent, too. She would have had support, someone to show up and give her a break, a time off. In an ideal world, every parent is a co-parent. In an ideal world, both parents share the weight of the work appropriately. Lilah's mother and I have a schedule," Leon added.

Parenting is not just a mother's job, the author emphasised. "It is work, it is beautifully hard work dismantling the systems that would have us believe a woman's primary role is in the kitchen, tending to all things domestic, while the hapless dad fumbles all over himself whenever he has to spend a weekend alone with the kids," he pointed out. 

Watch the full video to know Leon's story.