Like everything else, Kate Hudson is making co-parenting look not only doable but potentially even fulfilling. In a recent story published in The Sunday Times, fans get a behind-the-scenes look at not only her fun personality as she flits around their studio, but also at a more serious topic—how parenting three children with three different dads can work. 

Her children range from just post-toddlerhood to adulthood. She has her daughter Rani Rose, age 4, (check out her exciting gender reveal) with her fiance Danny Fujikawa, her middle child “Bing,” 11, with Matt Bellamy (ex-fiance), and her adult child Ryder, 18, who she shares with ex-husband Chris Robinson. She calls her unconventional family a “unit” that she’s created with three children and their three different fathers—“a seriously strong unit, and it’s ours.” 

“It might not look traditional from the outside, but on the inside, I feel like we’re killing it,” she says. The U.S. Census Bureau reveals that Hudson is far from alone—in 2020 only 70% of children lived with two parents, which has gone down substantially in the last few decades. In 1968, 85% of children lived with both parents. With nearly a third of children living with one parent, the number of resources, and open discussions about meaningful co-parenting is on the rise.

Hudson’s commentary begs the question, what factors contribute to a great co-parenting situation? One study shows that the quality of the relationship when the couple was together, can give some hints as to how well they will co-parent. Other factors include “re-partnering,” and whether parents went on to have children in their new partnerships. Interestingly enough, mothers who had additional children with a new partner had better co-parenting outcomes with their original partner than men did. 

For Hudson, the secret is reestablishing a new kind of love with the co-parent who you once loved. “For me it’s like, you loved this person. That doesn’t just go away…you can have an amazing time with an ex-partner because you’re really only focused on the love of your child.” Hudson is serious about expressing that gratitude for her family—around Thanksgiving she posted a cuddly photo with her kids, writing “Well this was one great-full weekend.” 

Hudson has drawn connections in past interviews between her own parenting efforts and her upbringing, in which she didn’t know her own dad. She also approaches her situation with humor—“I’ve got multiple dads, I’ve got kids all over the place,” she said in the past interview.

If humor isn’t cutting it, and co-parenting is hard — like really hard — as it sometimes gets, mental health experts have some tips:

  • Seek objectivity when you are examining problems and solutions, and focus on shared concerns rather than just what you want (easier said than done, of course)
  • Commit to an open dialogue with your ex, and see if they can commit to the same
  • Attempt consistency across household rules
  • Only speak positively in front of the kids about your ex

And in the end, seek out a mental health professional for yourself or your family if you need some extra support navigating the rocky co-parenting waters that come from time to time.