'The children didn't ask for a split family': Tips from the family 'squad' whose co-parenting pic went viral

By Pam Magwaza
24 April 2017

Two moms and two dads -- five-year-old Maelyn's got double the love.

"Why should we splitting affect her in a negative way? It was our goal to show her as much love as we could even with us being separated."

If you're separated from the father or mother of your child, you'll know how tough co-parenting can be.

But five-year-old Maelyn's parents seem to have nailed the situation, after a picture of her family "squad" went viral on social media.

The pic in question was taken at one of little Maelyn's soccer games in Georgia, US, where her mom, stepmom, dad and stepdad showed up to support their little girl. The sprawling family unit even donned matching t-shirts with their relevant titles on the back.

The internet went wild, commending the family for putting aside any differences to put their child first.

Maelyn's mother Clara Cazeau spoke to YOU magazine about how her and Maelyn's father managed to get something that so many well-meaning parents get so wrong, so right!

"Maelyn's dad, Ricky and I were never married. We started dating at a very young age (18) and neither of us had our dads around consistently. So, when we decided to call it off we had a long talk about how we wanted Maelyn to still have a strong family unit."

The exes wanted to their daughter to have a balanced life regardless of whether they together or not. Clara, who is now married, said that the most important things to do when co-parenting are to stay strong and always communicate.

"It's not always easy. We have separate households, so things do come up that we have to talk about and alter to make it fair for both sides.

"You HAVE to let go of any hard feelings and remember what the most important thing -- the child(ren). Maelyn feeling accepted and love by all sides is the most important thing to us. Communication is key," said Clara.

Clara added that the flood of support they've recived has been a little overwhelming.

"We had no idea the picture would blow up like this. We take family pictures all the time, with this one we just decided to add something about co-parenting because well, that is OUR life! It has most definitely changed us."

That's not to say they haven't received their fair share of criticism too.

"Although there were so so many positive things said about it there were also negative things... we found ourselves feeling a little down about them.

"So what did we do? We leaned on each other even more than ever. All of this has done nothing but make us even closer than before," she said.

"We hope one day to be able to help more parents that are struggling with co- parenting. Maybe, a book. Maybe some co-parenting classes! Who knows.

"We love what we're doing for Maelyn and we would love nothing more than to help other parents do the same for their children. After all, the children didn't ask for a split family."

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