When we were in the midst of coming to terms with our feelings for each other and where to go from there, one of my biggest concerns was coming out to my kids. It seemed like the biggest issue and my biggest stumbling block. I couldn’t imagine having any sort of conversation about it with them, or how they would react, what they would think of me, and what the world would think of them. It was not on my radar. I hadn’t had any conversations about homosexuality with them. At all. Even though I have a close family member that is gay. I didn’t hide it from them, but wanted them to bring it up when they were in a place to notice and ask questions. I personally struggled with the whole idea. I’ve definitely come a long way in my worldview from a few years ago, and am in a different place than I was even a year ago. I just couldn’t picture living with a woman, in front of my kids, no matter how much I loved her. I was certainly in a bind.
It took a lot of courage to finally bring it up to them. I had to spit out the words. Could I really be afraid of being judged by my own kids? Was I inviting pain and conflict and complications into their lives? I’m not sure which would feel worse. How would they turn out? Scarred for life? I finally called a friend who was doing research on this very idea. What would be the impact on the kids? We sat down for coffee and she reassured me that the evidence was strong that kids with same-sex parents turned out just as well as kids with traditional homes. Yes, they may get teased a bit as they got older, but nothing worse than if they have braces. Or an ugly hair cut. Or whatever else all kids get teased about.
So, I bit the bullet. Had the talk. Guess what? You know what I’m going to say: Kids are so amazing! I told them I was in love with her. The older boys are pretty straight forward. “OK. So, does that mean you’re gay? I can spell lesbian!” An interesting spin! And…that was pretty much it. OK, then! We occasionally revisit this topic, and for the most part they are concerned with what people may call me. I’m at a place where labels don’t bother me, but we talk a lot about the fact that labels aren’t what matter. People will label me. And them, but that’s all beside the point.
It’s been interesting to note that each generation feels less and less like this is going to be a scarring issue. An older family member was very concerned at how the kids would get bullied once their classmates found out. I had much less concern (after doing some fact checking with my friend) but still I thought about the repercussions. So, I broached this issue with the kids. I asked them, “How will you feel if there’s a kid in your class that teases you about your mom being a lesbian?” Once again, I was floored at their responses: #2 said, (with a puzzled/indignant look on his face), “THAT kind of stuff does NOT bother me at all. I wouldn’t care!” #1 quickly chimed in, “I don’t see the problem here. Why would anyone tease me about that? That’s weird.” Alrighty then!
The interesting part is that none of them hesitate to mention to anyone, even though the older ones were already 9 and 11 at the time of our blending, that they have 2 moms. They take it for what it is. It’s not weird, or embarrassing. We tell them how lucky they are to have 2 moms! I think for the most part they love it, but I’m sure 2 nagging mothers can be tough sometimes 🙂 We decided it was important from the start that my partner would be the other mother, equal in mother-ness to me, equal in love and hugs, and authority and title.
It warms my heart to overhear them mentioning their 2 moms, or that they have to ask their moms. The other day they were at a park and someone asked them how they were fans of a certain local broomball team. “Oh.” One casually mentioned, “Our new mom’s on that team.”
We aren’t in competition with each other either. I love that they love her. I love that if they don’t want to come to me, there’s another mom to go to. If there comes a time where they don’t see eye to eye with me (I’m sure that won’t ever happen, right!?) they may have someone else in their corner that they can confide in. I’ll always be their mom but that’s a role I happily share with her.
What I’m trying to say is that I thought that would be one of the toughest things about our situation. I was wrong. It’s one of the easiest. It’s really a non-issue. Yes, I am sure at some point as they get older it will bring home some challenges. No mom wants to make life harder on their kids. I know that the benefits of bringing another person in their life to love them is far outweighing any challenges. Perhaps someday they may have their own opinion of their moms. This year has definitely broadened my ability to have heavy conversations and welcome talking about anything with our kids. So we’ll just talk about it. They’re going to get lots of messages in the coming years. They’ll have to sift through it and weigh it and talk about it and deal with it. And we will be here to love them and talk about it with them.