Here's the story of a lovely lady, who was bringing up three very lovely children.
Her name is Katie Blackmer, and a few years ago she realized her marriage to her husband, Stephen Shepard, just wasn't working.
The pair called it quits, but co-parenting after a divorce is not easy, and they learned that the hard way.
Still, all the strife they lived through paved the way for something special: a unique blended family situation that's making parents across America take notice.
A Trial Separation
Plenty of parents struggle to get along after a divorce, even for the sake of their children.
Katie - we'll be using first names for this story, because things get complicated fast - says she continued to fight with Stephen even after their split.
The trouble, as always, was dividing time with the children,11-year-old Gracelyn, 10-year-old Kaylynn, and five-year-old Colston.
"It was so hard for me to have to give up my days with them at the beginning. I didn't want to share them, but I had to," Katie said.
It didn't make things easier when Katie and Ben Blackmer, one of Stephen's close friends, got married.
Not only was there a new stepparent in the mix, but also Ben's teenage son, Hunter.
Just when it seemed like things couldn't get any harder, Stephen was involved in an accident that almost took his life.
One Big Happy Family
Stephen and his brother were involved in a serious car crash. His brother eventually died from his injuries, and Stephen spent months recuperating.
During that time, he needed round-the-clock care. Luckily, Katie and Ben were happy to take him in.
But after Stephen recovered, he never left.
The couple had gotten used to having Katie's ex around the house. After all, imagine having a live-in babysitter who you could actually trust with your children.
Now, years later, Stephen is still living under the same roof as Katie and Stephen... and so is Stephen's new girlfriend.
Brandy Henderson and her children, nine-year-old Kayleigh and seven-year-old Jaxson, have joined the growing bunch.
Brandy and Stephen originally hoped to move out, but it proved to be more cost-effective and convenient to share a home.
So now the "Blended 10" live together in a two-story, 2,5000 square foot house. And yes - it gets chaotic.
A Parenting "Team"
Despite what you might think about sharing a home with your ex and their new partner, Katie and Stephen like it just fine.
For one thing, all five of the younger children do sports (Katie and Stephen coach them, too) so having an extra parent to drive or watch the children is so convenient.
"Our whole life is run from a calendar that hangs on the front door," Katie said.
The parents also love that they don't have to say goodbye to their children for planned visits with their ex.
The parenting "team" splits bills 50/50, and divide the household jobs equally.
Most important of all, it's understood that any of the six children can reach out to their own parents or their "bonus mom and dad" for help. And, incredibly, the system seems to work.
Katie says her children "are happier now, Mom and Dad finally get along every day!"
A "Loud And Hectic" Life
Katie originally shared her family's story on social media to reframe our expectations of what co-parenting can be.
While some parents have cheered them on, she says others have asked the team to their faces, "Have y'all lost your mind?"
"I'd rather drink bleach than live with my ex," one parent reportedly commented on their story.
Is living like this easy? Not always. Katie admits her house gets "loud and hectic," but everyone has learned to live with it.
"[The kids] still have their moments when they fight over little things, but everyone has adjusted very well," she said.
Hunter recently moved out, which has made things (a bit) less hectic, and the team do have their sights set on a new home sometime soon. But there's no rush to change a thing about this blended family.
"We love the way our household is now!" Katie said. "We wouldn't change it for the world."