Everyone has daydreams: whisking yourself away to a quiet place where no one is screaming for you, or needs anything from you. A place where if you want to write you can write; if you want to draw you can draw. If you want to spend all day browsing high-end handbags online, you can do that. Except often, if you have a family, these daydreams stay exactly that: dreams.
Unless you’re Lori Tipton, that is.
When she started thinking about a family in 2012, she asked several parents what they considered their biggest challenge. “One answer stood out,” she writes. “‘I don’t have time for myself anymore’.”
Lori prides herself on her independence, so this was a problem for her. At the time she’d been in a relationship for 10 years and chosen to live separately from her partner the whole time.
“How was I supposed to find the energy to have a career, pursue my passions, and raise a child with the help of only one other person?” she writes.
“It’s a pressing question for all working moms in the 21st century. Then, I had a thought. What if my child had more than two parents?”
Her essay for PrimeMind, “Raising My Baby…With Three Dads,” explains how it worked out.
“A year later our son, Wilder, was born. He has three dads. My partner Andy, who had a vasectomy early in our relationship, and I moved into one household. Wilder’s biological father, Lee, and his partner, Clint, live less than a mile away. Wilder shares his time with all of us.”
It’s an arrangement you certainly don’t hear about every day, and unsurprisingly, Lori’s received the full gamut of both praise and harsh criticism.
“When I made the decision to co-parent with another couple, I received both praise and consternation — mostly from other women,” she explains.
“Women without children often told me that the way I challenged the fundamental two-parent family model was revolutionary. Some mothers joked that they wished they had thought of the idea, while others remarked that they would never be able to give up being with their ‘baby’ at all times.”
When it comes to logistics, Lori and Andy have Wilder four nights a week and Lee and Clint have him for three. Sometimes all four parents hire a babysitter so that they can spend time together. “It is deeply understood by every member of the family that our time with Wilder and our personal time are equally important,” she writes. “This is instrumental in preventing feelings of exhaustion or resentment.”