This is somewhat of a follow up to my previous post about lesbian motherhood. I find it amazing how many people ask really bold questions about our family. As I’ve said before, I’m trying to be patient and understanding of people who ask us questions because I want to think that he/she is truly sincere and really want to know so they can understand better. Overly naïve, maybe.
But I cannot ignore some of the national debate that continues as our nation makes progress towards (hopefully) universal marriage equality. Every time some strides are made (such as England – Congrats Brits!) there will be commentary about gay families for a few days that we can choose to thoughtfully listen to, ignore or get incensed about. It’s quite hard to explain the stomach-achy-ness that occurs every time you stumble across a so-called-news-program that involves a ranting expert denouncing gay families as horrible for children.
I can’t remember what I just watched that sparked this post, but there are plenty of studies out there that conclude having one mother and one father is far superior than having two parents of the same-sex. I won’t site them here, if you want to read them, google it. And there are plenty of (more generally accepted) studies stating that children raised by same-sex parents are either the same as or more well-adjusted than kids of straight parents. Of course, I have my opinions about which studies are more relevant and accurate.
But this gets me back to the questions that people ask us as a family. I think the biggest question that gives me pause is:
“How do you raise boys without a father?”
Yes, we’ve been asked that. More than once. Do single moms get this question? Do lesbian moms of girls get that question?
Occasionally, I’ll ask for clarification and I may get a response such as this:
“Like, how to you handle ‘boy things’”?
There are so many answers to this one. Now, what are “boy things” or “boy issues”? The first struggle with this answer is the complete gender stereotype of a question.
If one of my boys likes sports and the other likes pink tutus, is one a “boy thing” and one not? Am I incapable as a female of handling issues that arise in the lives of both boys? As lesbians (and former tomboy-jocks), my wife and I feel much more comfortable handling issues involving sports, daredevil injuries, mudpies and just plain balls-to-the-wall-playing boy stuff. I think we’d be beyond lost and have a heck of a struggle on our hands if we had a girl who wanted everything to be pink and wanted to grow up to be a princess.
Secondly, we get to the boy “issues” that are specific to boys, well, because of boy “parts.” This, we are not as excited to handle, but we’re up for the challenge. We’ve already had an “um, okay, do we stop the kid from playing with it?” question and we did okay (that story can be a post for another day).
Full disclosure here, we did have one question recently that needed to be fielded by an uncle, I believe it was “do boys actually use that flap in their underwear when they pee or pull the underwear down?” We have no shame saying “I don’t know” and calling one of the men in our lives. My boys do have 2 wonderful grandfathers and some pretty great uncles who are ready, willing and able to answer any stupid questions that only “boys” will know. Plus they get plenty of testosterone time with the men in their lives, whether it’s relevant to their development or not.
As for us lesbian moms, we don’t really care about the research no matter which way it leans. We did our own homework before having children by checking our own standards as parents and promising to raise our boys the best we can. And I would argue that we are raising them – and maybe screwing up a little from time to time – just as well as every other (gay or straight) family we know.