The woman who moved in with her ex-husband and his new wife for the sake of their kids just welcomed another new roommate: her boyfriend

  • In September, Katie Mathis moved in with her ex-husband and his wife to parent their three kids.

  • The arrangement has become more unconventional with her new boyfriend moving in.

  • She told Insider that the happiness of her kids "makes the harder moments worth it."

About a month after announcing that she was moving in with her ex-husband and his new wife to co-parent their three daughters full-time, Katie Mathis welcomed another new roommate into the fold: her boyfriend of one-and-a-half years. The two live in a detached apartment above her ex's garage.

Mathis told Insider that while her kids love the arrangement, blending all the members of the family — including seven cats, five dogs, and four fish tanks — has been an adjustment.

"I would be lying if I said it was an easy move," she said. But having the kids every day and putting them first "is the best decision we continue to make."

Mathis, a content creator and wedding photographer, first announced that her boyfriend — who requested to be referred to by his initials, TK — would be moving in last month in a TikTok with half a million views captioned "new roomie alert." She said she was sharing to let others know it's possible to find "love after loss."

Mathis told Insider that TK is still renting his own apartment but spends most of his time with her and serves as a "stepfather figure" to her three kids.

Commenters applauded the unconventional, ever-evolving arrangement. "Me with no kids crying happy tears for strangers and the healthy relationship the kids will have with everyone involved," one person wrote.

"This is healing my inner child," another wrote.

How the 'team of parents' shares responsibilities while setting boundaries

Mathis has worked in tandem with her ex, the former NFL player and entrepreneur Evan Mathis, as well as his wife, the sports chiropractor Megan Mathis, to overcommunicate and implement systems and boundaries around the house.

They keep a binder laying out all the children's basic needs. At the beginning of the week, Mathis and Megan — whom Mathis called "an angel" — plan out dinners because all six of them sit down to eat as a family most evenings. Mathis added that TK is less involved with parenting logistics and typically goes to the gym after work.

They also keep a giant whiteboard to track monthly goals, and a rotation of parents convene with the children at bedtime to discuss their "rose, bud, and thorn" of the day.

"Now we have a larger team of parents able to share responsibilities," Evan told Insider. "It's much easier to manifest what we all want out of life when we are collectively cocreating."

The family sits on by a fireplace as their daughters run around.
Megan, Evan, Katie, and TK surrounded by the children.They Call Us Wild

The biggest source of conflict, Mathis said, has been disparities in parenting styles. Because Evan's been busy launching two businesses, she feels that he's assumed more of a "fun dad" role, while she's emerged as the responsibility-driven disciplinarian.

This has led to some "confusion" and "pushback" from the kids — which she, Evan, and Megan have been tackling in group therapy.

"We have the boundary that we will not air our parenting grievances in front of the kids, which helps us avoid undermining each other," Evan said.

"Every week seems a little easier than the week before," Megan added.

'It makes the harder moments worth it'

While many on TikTok have supported Mathis' move, she said some of the comments have been infuriating, namely the untrue speculation that she's sleeping with her ex. She said it's made her more cautious about what to share.

Megan also isn't accustomed to being on camera, saying she's had to learn to "brush off the criticisms that come from random people on the internet."

The whole family sits on a couch with their dogs.
A family photo featuring members of their animal menagerie.They Call Us Wild

But at the end of the day, Mathis is only concerned about the welfare of her girls.

"They tell us every single day, at least once — all of them — that they're so happy that I've moved in," she said. "It makes the harder moments worth it."

Read the original article on Insider