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Remarrying for Your Kids

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"Aunt Polly, you know what it's been like since Martha died. [...] Truth is, my kids have been running bloody rings around me. Running barefoot with the dogs until all hours. [...] What the kids need is a mother. So that's why I'm getting married."
John Shelby, Peaky Blinders

Having a single parent in a work isn't uncommon in the slightest. If a character's Missing Mom or Disappeared Dad is explained as being a product of death or Parental Abandonment, though, it's unusually likely for the single parent to be paired up with another character by the end. This can be used to resolve the lack of spouse and parent in one swoop.

This will often be a sub-plot within a story, often with the children as main characters. The character may intentionally be looking for a spouse/partner throughout the story, but this often isn't the case. The popularity of this trope may lead one to assume that anytime a widowed parent appears, they will be paired off in the end. If there are two single parents whose children are friendly it's doubly likely.

May involve a plot that features Parent with New Paramour, though those cases are not always for the children's sake. Contrast Glamorous Single Mother, who makes being a single parent look easy. Compare Give the Baby a Father, which is when a pregnant woman gets married so she won't be a single parent in the first place, and Marry the Nanny, which a single parent might do because the employee already has a good relationship with the kids. Compare Winning Over the Kids.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Hiromi Nakata of The Case Files of Jeweler Richard remarried so that her son Seigi would have a father that wasn't an abusive asshole.
  • Nearly happens in Ojamajo Doremi, when Aiko's father Kouji is convinced to go on an arranged date due to a misunderstanding Aiko had about her divorced mother Atsuko. Once they find out the truth, they decide not to go through with it.
  • In Spy X Family, Twilight does this as part of his cover story as Loid Forger. While he's easily able to pass Heartwarming Orphan Anya off as Loid's own child, he can't find another agent to play the role of her mother and as such enters into a Marriage of Convenience with Yor to provide Anya with a mother.

    Fan Works 
  • In And everything's gonna change, now., Heterosexual Life-Partners Raven and Chelsea get married. However, their marriage is not related to any romantic feelings. Neither just wants their children to be motherless if anything were to happen to them. As the story goes on, they realize that they're not as heterosexual as they thought.
  • In The Festival of Dolls, with an extra twist: Kate Pinkerton does it for her adopted child, Madame Butterfly's son (whose biological mother famously defied the trope). She secures a divorce from Pinkerton (the boy's biological father) but isn’t sure if she’ll be able to financially support the boy on her own, so she marries Nice Guy Sharpless, whom she quickly grows to really love.
  • In Second Chances (TheNovelArtist), Adrien, as a single father, has trouble finding a nanny for his daughter until Alya recommends him Marinette. Since she is recently widowed herself, it takes them twenty chapters to have a proper date, and he has no intention to rush her into a marriage... but once the girl starts calling Marinette Mommy, they both realize the matter, one way or another, cannot be delayed.
  • A variant of this trope in the Dragon Ball fanfic Trunks the Matchmaker with two parents taking in a third partner for their kid. Whenever Bulma was busy with her work or Vegeta wasn't around, Yamcha would help watch over Trunks, enough times that the young half-Saiyan would see him as much of a dad as he saw his biological parents. Between Saiyans warriors often having more than one partner, wanting Trunk to have the experience of having more than two parents like past Saiyans, and his own feelings for the ex-bandit, Vegeta decides to take Yamcha as his second mate.

    Film — Animated 
  • The Aristocats: O'Malley says that the kittens need a father around, but it's more of an indirect way of telling Duchess he wants to be with her than him genuinely believing they do. Duchess agrees, but at this point, her attraction to O'Malley has been very well established, so it's more of a "remarrying for ourselves, but won't it be great for the kids?" type of thing. (The kittens' lack of a biological father is never mentioned or explained.)
  • Cinderella: Cinderella's father is said to have remarried because he felt his daughter needed a mother's care. Unfortunately, it doesn't work out the way he hoped.
  • David Copperfield (1993) features this. Clara's own words were that Mr. Murdstone was "Just the man to give David a proper upbringing." It's at least implied that she wised up because she made a new will leaving everything to David rather than her husband two days before she died from her illness. The implication is driven home by David early on when he frustratedly states "Mother doesn't love him. She thinks I need a father. That's why she married him."
  • Rugrats in Paris has Chuckie's father decide to remarry because he wants to provide a mom for his son. Unfortunately, he's not very good at telling that Chuckie is terrified of his new girlfriend Coco. At the end, Chaz marries a different woman, Kira, who too is a single parent.
  • Averted in Treasure Planet. Jim's lack of father is given an explicit explanation, but Mrs. Dawkins never enters another relationship.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Enchanted, Robert has an extended relationship with Nancy but ends up with Giselle in the end. Morgan's mother is explicitly mentioned to have 'left', which is actually pretty dark for a kid's movie.
  • In Ever After, Danielle's father remarries when she is eight. Unfortunately, he dies shortly afterward, and her stepmother turns out to be a wicked one.
  • In Fill the Void, the protagonists live in a Hasidic community where widows and widowers are expected to remarry to give their kids another parent. This one kicks off the plot, as a recently widowed man considers marrying a foreign widow, while his mother-in-law suggests he marry her youngest daughter so her grandson won't be raised by a stranger.
  • Daniel's wife dies at the beginning of Love Actually, and he is forced to raise their child alone. By the end, he is paired up with another woman, be this is an unusual variant of the trope, considering the son is his by marriage.
  • A major plot point of Nanny McPhee is Cedric Brown's necessity to get remarried after his wife's death, due to pressure put on him by the children's Great-Aunt Adelaide, who threatens to stop the allowance supporting the family if he does not marry by the end of the month. By the end of the movie, he marries Evangeline, who the children all love.

  • In the second Deverry book, a middle-aged widower marries a woman who was divorced by her husband for barrenness because she needs a new home and he needs a wife to help raise the children from his first marriage (whose existence means that her inability to conceive children isn't an issue). In the following book, she gives birth to a son, which causes a great deal of political difficulty, because it implies that her first husband was the sterile one, which means that his lands could be up for grabs once he dies...
  • Annie marries Philip in Enoch Arden largely for her children's sake, and also because he reveals that he has loved her for a long time. She comes to return his affection later.
  • In the children's book Sarah, Plain and Tall, Kansas farmer Jacob Whitting sends away for a Mail-Order Bride a few years after his wife dies because he needs help raising his children, Anna (age 10) and Caleb (age 6).
  • Deconstructed a bit in Wives and Daughters, Molly's mother dies when she's a little girl. When she's teenaged, her father thinks she really needs a mother-figure and marries because of it. However, while not being exactly Wicked Stepmother, she's a difficult woman and not helpful at all.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Glee: Kurt originally tried to pair up his dad and Finn's mom so he would have an excuse to spend more time with Finn. They eventually married, quite appropriate, considering they had both been widowed.
  • The case for King Leopold (Snow White's father) in Once Upon a Time. He's very much still in love with his late wife Queen Eva, but when Regina saves young Snow White from a charging horse, he offers her himself as Standard Hero Reward, thinking that someone who would risk their life to save his daughter would be proper stepmother material. Of course, Regina's social-climbing bitch of a mother, Queen Cora, is gleeful about this. (It's also possible that, given Leopold's history with Regina's mother, he was trying to get Regina away from said social-climbing bitch) Regina really wants to marry a stablehand instead, but Cora tricks Snow into leading her to the stablehand, which gets him killed. Regina blames Snow White instead of putting the blame where it belongs (leading to Regina being the Trope Codifier Evil Stepmother), and proceeds to take out her anger on everyone, including getting Leopold killed.
  • Peaky Blinders: John Shelby cites his kids as the main reason why he needs to remarry.
    John: All right? Because I need someone. All right, the kids need someone.
  • Poldark: When explaining to Ross why she has decided to marry his Arch-Enemy George, Elizabeth uses this as one of the reasons. George is rich and can financially provide for her son, Geoffrey Charles.
    Elizabeth: What seems like disloyalty to you now, is actually loyalty to my son.

    Mythology and Folklore 
  • Min Ziqian was a Chinese model of filial piety. After his father discovered that his Wicked Stepmother was dressing her own children warmly, and not his first son, he told her he had married her to have someone to look after his son, and she is not doing it, so he would divorce her. Only Min Ziqian's intervention, reminding him that without her there, none of the children would be looked after, saved her.
  • In The Green Knight, the king remarries because his daughter begs him to.

    Stand-Up Comedy 


  • The Order of the Stick: Quirky Bard Elan faces a Lotus-Eater Machine scenario in which his mother remarries his Evil Overlord father to give him the happy family he always wanted. The scenario falls apart when Elan remembers that his mother ended their marriage to protect him from his viciously evil father in the first place, and accepts that his family is irretrievably broken.

    Western Animation 
  • In Rocket Power, Raymundo Rocket (the father of Otto Rocket and his older sister, Regina "Reggie") has raised his kids as a single parent since Otto and Reggie's mother, Danielle, died when the two of them were very young (like, too young to really remember much about her). Raymundo ends up getting remarried in the Series Finale to a woman named Noelani, who's a cousin to his close friend, Tito, and had also been close friends with Danielle when she was alive.

    Real Life 
  • Abraham Lincoln's mother died of milk sickness when he was nine. A short time later his father went off for a week and brought home a widow specifically to be the new mother to his children. The new Mrs. Lincoln already had three children of her own, so the replacement went both directions.
    Thomas Lincoln: I have no wife and you no husband. I came a-purpose to marry you. I knowed you from a gal and you knowed me from a boy. I've no time to lose: and if you're willin' let it be done straight off.
  • There was an incident in Alberta, Canada where a man hears of a recently widowed woman who was having trouble supporting herself and her children after the death of her husband — feeling sorry for the woman, the man (who had apparently been a bachelor for a long time) offered to marry her so that she'd at least have a husband to help support her family and a man to act as a fatherly-figure to her kids.
  • Patrick Brontë, the father of Charlotte, Emily and Anne, made several attempts to find a second wife to care for his six children after their mother Maria died. Most notably, he wrote to his first love Mary Burder, but she turned him down. He ultimately never remarried.