ON BEING LESBIAN MOMS: Maybe much of this is self-imposed, but I feel pressure to be a great parent because we are the “lesbian moms” at school. I feel like our kids should be great, wonderful well-behaved kids because if they’re not, they will be “those kids from the heathenish, immoral, sacrilegious household”. Like I said, probably self-imposed pressure and hopefully totally misguided, but I feel it nonetheless.
EMOTIONS: I don’t cry much. I can be impatient and quick-tempered at times (yes, it’s true), but I feel like I’m not emotional enough compared to my other mom friends. I feel like I’m the only mom who didn’t cry on my son’s first day of Kindergarten. I was excited for him. When we move the “too small” clothes out of their dressers and in the “giveaway” pile, I don’t get teary that our little boys are growing up, I get excited that we are clearing some junk out. I guess I’m not overly sentimental about my babies growing up. Same applies for traumatic situations. When one of my kids falls and there is blood, my wife isn’t too useful. She usually does something between a panic and a freak-out. I can totally disconnect, calmly pick my child up, comfort them lovingly but survey the situation and respond accordingly. I don’t get emotional when something horrible happens, I go into “what’s the solution” mode. Sometimes I wonder if this isn’t a good trait, like I’m lacking compassion or something.
TV: I swore that I would have heavy restrictions on TV and have lots of reading time in our home. Lately, since I’m the “single mom at night”, I’ve totally blown my priorities. I’ve fallen into the habit of letting them watch one show on my bed so that I have the opportunity to go downstairs and clean up the kitchen and living room in that time. Reading time is then slightly abbreviated after all is said and done as well. I look at this as a temporary glitch due to our schedules. The regularly planned schedule will resume once the mommies get their act together.
BULLIES: I often worry about my boys being bullied. I know that kids are picked on for reasons we cannot always foresee (i.e. the wrong shoes, hair, weight, etc.). My boys have lesbian moms. Even though we live in a wonderful state that treats are family as a family, and even though my boys are in a hugely diverse district, I worry about the taunts, the misunderstandings or the parents that fuel any uneasiness about our family. However, I must note that – while I’m incredibly biased – I think most kids in their right mind wouldn’t poke too much fun at Andrew. He’s not exactly the scrawny little wallflower sort. I also have a sneaking suspicion that he would probably protect his “brudda” to the ends of the earth as well. To the same effect, I am very concerned about my boys being compassionate and respectful to everyone regardless of their story. I know they are still very young, but we take note of the opportunities when we can put a little plug in there without totally beating them over the head with the concept. I want them to be good members of society, I want them to appreciate love and life and not turn into a bitter adults.
PARENTING: I don’t take parenting criticism well. Who does? I know there are things (maybe a lot of things) I can improve on as a parent. I’ve also learned that each kid is different, so while I appreciate input from time to time, I’ll ask for it when I need it. It’s funny that Lo thinks I’m more of the disciplinarian. But, as I’m starting to see the personalities develop with my boys, I find myself wanting to make sure I’m consistent about fostering the good against the bad. This had led me to a stunning realization: I can learn so much from my mother. Not only has my mother successfully raised 3 completely differently personalities who have all turned into (relatively) successful and (relatively) normal adults, but we are all pretty decent people and we got through the teenagers years without too much incident. I now truly agree with many of my mom’s rules and guidelines through those years and through much of our childhood. (I’m not sure I’m going to tell her that, so shhhh!) But I do believe that I can continue to learn a lot from her. Much of her career was spent contributing to books and giving workshops on assertive discipline for parents (and teachers). As much as I hated it all then, I’m totally digging my connection to someone who I think may be a “pro” right now. She won’t offer advice, but I know that I can corner her with some “what would you do as a parent in this situation” questions.
CRAFTINESS: I suck at arts and crafts. I will not make outfits or costumes for my boys. I will not bake anything that will be picture-worthy and I will not even attempt anything on Pinterest. If prompted, maybe I can make an acceptable airplane out of a beer soda can.
INTELLIGENCE: I’m not really that smart. It’s entirely possible for something incredibly dumb to come out of my mouth. I’m also fairly certain that I’ve had some less-than-stellar parenting moments out there in the general public that probably leave people wondering if I’m a complete moron. One afternoon not long ago, I took the boys to the mall and they both want to go on the escalator. Andrew is 5, he’s been on one many, many times. I had more focus on Dylan, helped him hop on and only had one hand on Andrew. Andrew stopped as we got on and I had to quickly turn around and almost yank him to join us. We were all totally fine, but I heard the woman behind us mutter “idiot.” As much as I wanted to turn around and say, “thank you for pointing out that I’m apparently not nearly as perfect a mother as you are,” I didn’t.
HOLDING IT TOGETHER 24/7: Yeah, right. LMAO. Sometimes, you need mental relief. I’ve had a few moments in my parenting life that I’ve felt overwhelmed. Overwhelmed to the point where getting in the car and driving somewhere, anywhere, is quite enticing. But since that’s not really an option, I’ve had to raise my hand and say out loud “okay, I need a minute. I’m not as strong as I pretend to be and I just need a moment.” I’ve discovered that actually saying that is a HUGE relief. Take the time, attention, therapy session, pedicure, whatever, and allow yourself that little break. I have and it changes the polarity back to good, happy and normal again.
IN PROGRESS: I’m a work in progress. I am constantly trying to work on being better, mostly relating to the person and parent that I am. I used to work in a job that I loathed. It was an unhealthy situation and I allowed it to impact my mood, my personality and how I acted in my home. I came home grumpy. I’ve since made it a point to leave the crap in the office or even in the car, before I set foot into my house. It helps that I really enjoy my job now. But I am always trying to make a conscious effort to show positivity in my home and not let the outside world cast a shadow on what should be joyful time with my boys.
Looking back at this list, I feel like such a hard ass. Those are some pretty lengthy confessions.
Please tell me you don’t feel sorry for my wife and kids after making it through this post!