Families are a complicated business. Especially when parents break up and move on – and the child has more than one father and mother figure to look up to.
And while it’s easy to be bitter about a stranger being involved in the raising of your child, it’s more challenging to accept and respect that person’s efforts.
This was no problem for Audrey Loving it seems. A young mum who met her partner Corey Henry at 18, she got engaged and had a daughter, Riley – now 4.
But when their relationship ended, things got more tricky.
When Henry moved on and began dating another woman, Audrey was determined for her not to become the ‘evil stepmother,’ explaining that she never wanted to hear the negative talk about the ‘other woman’ that's so prevalent in society.
Whitney McGraw was the woman tasked with being her daughter’s stepmom, and Audrey had only sympathy for her.
“It’s awkward for her” explains Audrey, “dating someone with a kid.”
“I’m not interested in the baby mama drama … I welcomed her into my family with open arms.”
And despite initial teething difficulties, Audrey has written a touching letter to her ex’s new girlfriend, telling her just how thankful she is for all her help raising little Riley.
Alongside a picture of Whitney and Riley, Audrey wrote:
”This is my daughters fathers girlfriend. The sweetest thing ever!
"I'm super thankful for her because when she visits her dad she feeds her, takes care of her, buys her gifts, and basically takes care of her like her own. Why do all these moms act so spiteful and jealous towards the other women?
"No-one said it was easy trying to be a mother to a kid you didn't have. So when there is someone trying, don't push them away! Because they DON'T need the drama they WILL leave and then you're stuck with someone who is the evil step mom. Yes they exist! I see them everywhere!
"A kid can have two moms because in my eyes the more people that love her I'm happy! I would never make her feel like an outsider; I'm extremely thankful for this girl.
"Ladies, grow up and focus on being a good mom. Love more hate less!”
The image, that was originally posted on Love What Matters has had thousands of comments from women in similar situations, with one telling Audrey they can those women “a bonus mom.”