An Interview with Samantha Black

This year Mother’s Day was a little bit more of a “big deal” than years past. Usually, I spend Mother’s day with my two children, my sister, 2 nieces, 2 nephews and my Mom whom are all very, very special to me. But THIS year we had a full on blended family PARTY to say the least. Our peaceful co-parenting relationship has definitely grown stronger over the last 13 years.

You see, my ex-husband’s wife (my children’s stepmom) and I decided to launch the book we co-authored together on Mother’s Day this year. We threw an “all out” book signing party in our little hometown in order to celebrate the occasion. So, not only did I get to share Mother’s Day with over 60 of our blended family’s closest relatives and friends but, I also had the opportunity to meet some really cool, and amazing strangers from the co-parenting world that stopped out solely to support meet us and support our new adventure.

We (both Tina and I) would like to introduce you to one of those amazing strangers (now friends!). Her name is Samantha Black and I am so grateful that we had the opportunity to connect. I knew I wanted to share her story on our platform in order to reach more struggling co-parents. As you will read momentarily, her story exudes nothing but love and commitment to her children. Please leave comments if you have questions or want to connect with Samantha!

GIPFORD MOMS: How long have you been separated?

Samantha: I married my high school sweetheart after we were together for 5 years – we have been divorced for 21 years now. For us, the day he said “I DO”, changed EVERYTHING. I swore that I would NEVER marry again! Then I met Jayme, the father of my two daughters. Jayme was previously married and had two daughters of his own with his ex-wife. Jayme and I were together for 7 years but we have been doing this co-parenting thing for the past 11 years now. Jayme and I wore beautiful wedding rings as a solidification of our commitment to each other and to our family even though we never walked down the aisle or made it legal. I moved out of our shared home in October 2015.

GIPFORD MOMS: What are the names and ages of your two daughters?

Samantha: Kendall Paige is 9 1/2 years old and Rayna Jaymes will be 6 years old in June.

Left to right: Kailee (stepdaughter), Rayna (daughter) Jayme (dad), Kendall (daughter) & Lauren (stepdaughter)
GIPFORD MOMS: Would you share with us what the separation process looked like for you?

Samantha: For us, since we never actually got married in the court of law, our process was much easier when it came to the fact that the legal system was NOT involved in our breakup (which is exactly how I wanted it)! Also, I have never asked Jayme to pay me child support which I think has worked out to my advantage because he is much more willing to pay for things without me ever having to ask! I remember the day that I gave Jayme back my ring – it was Christmas morning 2015 when he came to my house to drop off the girls so that I could spend the holiday with them. I looked him right in the eye and promised him that from that day forward we would show each other respect, honesty, communication and trust. And we have both committed to that ever since!

GIPFORD MOMS: Do you hold any regrets regarding your separation with your children’s father?

Samantha: Honestly – I don’t think so!  Jayme owns his own business and it started really THRIVING after I moved out. For me, I began to see God in a whole new light and committed myself to Jesus. I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and I just have to embrace ALL SEASONS of my life as a learning opportunity – the good, the bad and the down right ugly all make me who I am today!!

We ALL make mistakes – every single day, however, we wake up tomorrow and must make the choice to RISE ABOVE! Find it in your heart to FORGIVE, not for the person who you feel wronged you but for YOU!

Samantha Black
GIPFORD MOMS: Can you describe your current co-parenting schedule and why it works for you?

Samantha: We actually decided that the moment I told Jayme that I was leaving – he knew it was over between us when I asked him which days he wanted to have our daughters, on the same days that he had his older two daughters or on the opposite days. In that moment, he decided that he would have our daughters the same days that he has his older daughters and we would follow the same schedule that he and his ex-wife have so that all four girls could grow up together. It works out to be 50/50!           

  • He has Monday, Tuesday and every other weekend
  • I have Wednesday, Thursday and every other weekend
  • So, the week works out to be 2 days off, 2 days on, 5 days off, 5 days on
  • We also switch off every other major holiday so for example: one year I will have them for Halloween and the next year he will have them.
  • Mother’s Day is always with Mom and Father’s Day is always with Dad – however we have often joked about switching that around so that Mom would have the whole day off to do absolutely nothing and Dad could go do what he wants to do like go golfing on Father’s Day but we haven’t done that yet. 
GIPFORD MOMS: Have you had any co-parenting struggles? How did you work through it?

Samantha: To be honest – we really have not had any struggles. We work really well together as a team. The only major thing that we still struggle with is the same thing that caused us to break up in the first place – the stress in our relationship that was caused by his mother. It has taken some time for me to forgive her for her words and actions towards me but mostly her words and actions towards my children.

I have forgiven her. I have never said anything negative about her to my children, however, they witnessed firsthand her behavior towards me. Jayme has since realized areas in his mother’s behavior that he doesn’t agree with or support but at the end of the day, she is his mother. He has apologized to me for his reaction to her behavior towards me and I know in his heart that he regrets allowing it all to happen the way that it did.

coparenting win

Rayna’a Pre-School Graduation – Jayme, Rayna, Samantha, Kendall
GIPFORD MOMS: Do you have a co-parenting moment that you are most proud of?

Samantha: I am most proud to say that Jayme and I have had all of our daughters’ teachers and daycare providers compliment us on how well we work together. Kendall was in Kindergarten when I moved out and at the end of the school year her teacher was so impressed by Jayme and I and our interaction while we were at school – nobody even knew that we were not together anymore. It wasn’t an act either – Jayme and I truly get a long that well.

Even almost 4 years later – parents on Kendall’s sports teams are shocked to find out at the end of the season that we don’t live together. They just assume that we are together because of how well we get along. It is not abnormal for Jayme and I to get a babysitter on my weekends so that he and I can go out to our favorite steak house, have a few drinks and share a nice dinner together at the bar to have some adult co-parenting conversation about kids and work and life!

I do believe that one day there will be a time when these dinner dates become a double date – I envision Jayme with his significant other and Myself with my significant other. That is without a doubt the way that I want our future to look and I sure pray that we both meet people who can support this because this is how I want my life to be, not only for my own sanity, but for our children’s sanity as well!

GIPFORD MOMS: How often do you communicate with Jayme?

We communicate probably every day!  Ha!  Mostly by text, and mostly about the kids but we also share funny memes that we see and want to make each other laugh.

GIPFORD MOMS: What positive repercussions of your peaceful co-parenting relationship have you noticed?

Samantha: So many positive things come from peaceful co-parenting!  Let’s be honest people – it is HARD work! Just like marriage and parenting is HARD work – so is a break up when children are involved!! Remember, we brought these children into this world and it’s our responsibility to raise them to be upstanding members of society – to be a kind sibling, to be a good student, to be a dependable employee, to be a heartfelt friend, to be a contributing teammate, to be a loyal boyfriend or girlfriend, to be a supportive wife or husband, to be a dedicated mom or dad, to be an involved grandparent. They are our legacy – your behavior now is what they learn from so it’s up to us to show them a good example.

My grandparents were able to do that back in the early 1970’s – they got divorced (and it’s worth noting that he cheated on my grandmother and step-grandmother probably more times than we will ever know). I grew up with three grandmas living on the same block! My mom’s mom, my biological dad’s mom, and my step-grandma.

My grandmother kept the house with their 4 children and my grandfather moved 4 houses away with his new (much younger) wife where they had one child together and raised many many foster children. Now, I’m sure that they had their disagreements, but never did I see ANY kind of animosity between my grandma, grandpa or step-grandma – NEVER! In fact, when my grandpa and his new wife adopted their first foster child, my grandma was there at the party celebrating the addition to our family with the rest of us. When my grandfather passed away suddenly, my grandmas did projects together, shopped together, had lunch together and came to all family events together.

After all, they still lived 4 houses away from one another. And once my step-grandma passed away it was my Gram who invited their son, his wife, and foster child to our family Christmas and gave them exactly the same number of gifts and same amount of cash as she did her own children. See, we learn what we witness, and I am forever grateful to my grandparents for showing this type of example for me as a child so that I could adopt it into my own season of life when I found myself falling in love with a man who had an ex-wife and two daughters.

GIPFORD MOMS: Do you have a favorite co-parenting quote?

Samantha: Yes! Actually, it was just this past Sunday at the Gipford Moms book launch party, when I met Justa (Erin’s sister), she said that she had to learn how to co-parent – not with her ex-husband but – with her ex-husband’s girlfriend (who later became his wife). She was DEAD ON with that! See, with Jayme’s ex-wife I learned how Jayme reacted to things and how chill he was about some things but so passionate about others. At the end of the day for Jayme – it is always about his kids!!  Never even a question!

Also, I tried extremely hard to include his ex-wife in things that we were doing, such as volunteering at church. I would always invite her along with us so that we could do those things together. For years I would invite his ex-wife to an annual Cookie Bake where it was just her, her two daughters and me. I wanted her daughters to see that we could all do these fun activities together and that the girls could see that their mom and I were on the same page so that they would always know that it was OK. I wanted them to know, without doubt, that they could have us BOTH! 

The bottom line is that I NEVER want our kids to have to chose when they can have us all!!  TOGETHER WE ARE ONE FAMILY UNIT! I never want them to feel like they have to choose. There is NO way that I will ever make our kids feel that way – EVER!!” to which he responded “I totally agree. Even though we’re not together, you are still the mom of their sisters. You are still makes you an important piece of my family” to which I respond “Thank you for saying that!! It means a lot to me and I’m glad that you and I are on the same page!” 

GIPFORD MOMS: What is your best piece of advice for struggling co-parents?

Samantha: Always remember that it takes a village to raise children! They need all of us to build them up to be the humans that they are meant to grow up to be! We ALL make mistakes – every single day, however, we wake up tomorrow and must make the choice to RISE ABOVE! Find it in your heart to FORGIVE, not for the person who you feel wronged you but for YOU! Honestly, I’m speaking from experience, it will change how you look at things and how it feels in your heart and in your gut. As Moms, sometimes we want to control too much – we can’t do that forever! We need to learn to trust and let go for our sanity and for everyone around us!

Leave a comment or question below to connect with Samantha!!

Gipford Moms, (STEP)Mom: A Dual Memoir written by Erin Gipford and Tina Gipford

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