You know that oft-cited "stat" about how half of marriages end in divorce, and it's only getting worse?

Well here's the good news: It's not totally true! Divorce rates are actually falling among younger generations in the United States for a number of reasons, including people waiting a little longer until they're sure they want to tie the knot.

Now here's the bad news: The divorce rate is still somewhere between a half and a third, which means — when kids are involved — there are still an awful lot of "blended families" out there.


We tend to think of a divorce as an emotional process filled with rage and resentment, but it's not always that simple. Most parents would agree that they want to do whatever is best for their children. And in a lot of cases when divorce is involved, that means continuing to work together with their ex-partner, even once the marriage itself is over.

Easy? Definitely not. Impossible? Not necessarily.

Mom Hayley Booth recently shared her own blended family story on Facebook and introduced the name she uses for her ex's new wife, Dakota: She's her daughter's "bonus mommy."

Often times I have people ask me how my ex, his wife, my husband and I co-parent so flawlessly. My answer is always...

Posted by Hayley Booth on Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Booth's photo, which shows the two women walking their daughter down the hall on her first day of school, makes it clear that the exes and new partners in this family get along.

But how do they do it?

"My answer is always the same — We just love our daughter," she writes. "Seriously, it's just that simple."

During Booth's divorce, "It was hard to see past [the anger]," she explains in a Facebook message.

With time and communication, however, came healing.

"Believe it or not, we talked through our problems. We did what adults are supposed to do," she says. "[I realized Dakota] wasn't trying to replace me at all. She was just trying to love my little girl the best she could. And that helped me see past all of it."

Most research shows that divorce doesn't necessarily mean poor long-term outcomes for kids, but that doesn't mean it doesn't take hard work and a lot of love from everyone involved to make that a reality.

The whole blended family. Photo by Stardust Studio, used with permission.

Booth says thousands of parents have written to her since her story went viral, some applauding her for sharing, others desperate for advice on how to make their own complicated arrangement work. She admits that it can't always work, that sometimes there might be too much pain to overcome.

She hopes her story and her friendship with her daughter's Bonus Mommy can help some people in their own lives.

"I really hope it's reaching the right people," she says.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

When schools closed early in the spring, the entire country was thrown for a loop. Parents had to figure out what to do with their kids. Teachers had to figure out how to teach students at home. Kids had to figure out how to navigate a totally new routine that was being created and altered in real time.

For many families, it was a big honking mess—one that many really don't want to repeat in the fall.

But at the same time, the U.S. hasn't gotten a handle on the coronavirus pandemic. As states have begun reopening—several of them too early, according to public health officials—COVID-19 cases have risen to the point where we now have more cases per day than we did during the height of the outbreak in the spring. And yet President Trump is making a huge push to get schools to reopen fully in the fall, even threatening to possibly remove funding if they don't.

It's worth pointing out that Denmark and Norway had 10 and 11 new cases yesterday. Sweden and Germany had around 300 each. The U.S. had 55,000. (And no, that's not because we're testing thousands of times more people than those countries are.)

The president of the country's largest teacher's union had something to say about Trump's push to reopen schools. Lily Eskelsen Garcia says that schools do need to reopen, but they need to be able to reopen safely—with measures that will help keep both students and teachers from spreading the virus and making the pandemic worse. (Trump has also criticized the CDCs "very tough & expensive guidelines" for reopening schools.)

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