“This is my wife, Beth” I said introducing her to a parent at a soccer game
“Are you married, like gay married?” the parent asked
I would love to say this was the only time I’d been asked a surprisingly inappropriate question, but it isn’t. If you look at our family, we seem different. But I can promise you we are pretty similar to most families. We work, the kids go to school, we spend most weekends at soccer games and are trying to ensure our kids become productive members of society.
But oh my, do we get some questions.
Some are just random and others are downright inappropriate, but these are very real questions people love to ask us on a regular basis.
Who is their REAL mother?
Unless we are talking about how our children came to us, this one is just ridiculous. Please don’t ask me which one of us is the real mother because we both are! I know there are times that a legal/biological parent needs to be identified, so use those words and just ask. And if our kids are around, this can be very confusing. While we might understand what you are trying to say, but the kids don’t and will correct you.
Who is the father and who is the mother?
Wait….what? If you are asking who wears that pants in our relationship, we both do. I am better at keeping our family schedules and making doctor’s appointments. Beth is better at doing homework with the kids and making sure the yard is taken care of. We both clean the house, cook dinner and drive the kids to endless activities. Just like any other couple, we split our responsibilities based on our skills and availability.
Who fixes things around the house?
Honestly, neither one of us. Beth is handier than I am with power tools but more often than not we pay someone else to do it. It turns out not all lesbians are good with power tools and home improvements.
Are you gay married?
No, we are not “gay married.” We are married. Legally married. And it was an amazing day for our family. Although we’d been together and considered ourselves married for more than 8 years, getting legally married had huge implications for our family. When the time comes to adopt our youngest, we can both be listed on his birth certificate since our marriage is recognized by the state of Wisconsin. If something were to happen to me, Beth can claim my survivor benefits. We can jointly file our taxes. All of these little things mean big things for our family.
Who is going to teach your sons about being men?
We are their parents, so WE ARE. And our friends and families will help. There is a lot of stuff we obviously don’t know first-hand and thank goodness for the Internet. Children are raised by a single parent of the opposite gender all the time and they figure it out. Fortunately for our kids, they have the benefit of having two parents committed to loving them and raising them well!
Which one of you is going to be the groom?
When we got married, one of us had to be the groom. Seriously. It was one of the happiest days of our lives, but we were reminded that our family doesn’t always fit into forms and checkboxes. Not fitting into the checkboxes is a typical experience for our family. One of us almost always has to be listed as the father on school forms.
Where is their father?
They each have a biological father and they know it. We talk about their biological parents all the time. We celebrate Father’s Day. Sure it brings up some additional conversation in our house but that is okay. And if you ask them (or us) we would simply tell you that the grown-ups who take care of them are two moms.
Who is going to explain this to them?
I never know what people mean when they ask this. I think they mean, how are we going to talk to the kids about reproduction and how babies are made. Well, we are going to tell them the facts. Our discussion might include a few extra words like insemination, foster-care and biological parents, but it will be pretty close to the talk most parents have with their kids.
Gay and lesbian families are getting more and more mainstream media coverage and it is becoming more normal to see different family compositions. I am hopeful my children’s generation will not have to worry about being accepted for who is in their family and who they love.