Tips For Raising Kids In A Two-Mom Household
As a lesbian couple, you’ve likely already overcome so many challenges. You first needed to come out (something hopefully, one day, people won’t even need to do as the world grows more accepting of sexual fluidity). You had to come out to your family, friends, coworkers, and even just acquaintances. It may have felt like coming out took several years and each group of individuals reacted differently. You may have faced judgment and intolerance. And even once you decided to screw all that and love yourself, you had to face the gay dating world—that’s its own complex experience. But you did it. You found your person. You found your life partner, amidst all the challenges, and now you want to build your brood. Perhaps you already have. Just when you thought the challenges were over (at least pertaining to your sexuality) you have to face the questions of your child, his friends, and all the other parents regarding what it means to be a two-mom household. Here are some essential tips.
Be upfront to outsiders
Be honest with outsiders about your relationship. Do not pretend you are just friends or cousins who live together. Be proud of the fact that you are lesbian parents. How can your child be proud of you two if you hide who you are from the world? Show your kid there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Be honest with your kid
Be honest with your child about where he came from. Obviously, use age-appropriate terms. But provide him with as much information as he can handle to understand his background, and exactly what role you and your partner play in his life. Explain that you are both moms—neither of you is dad—and that that’s okay.
Be loving towards your partner
Be extremely loving to your partner in front of your child, and in public. A child who has loving parents always feels safe—regardless of the sexual orientation of those parents.
Explain sexuality doesn’t influence parental love
Let your child know that being a good parent has nothing to do with whom a person chooses to love and parent with. Explain there are all types of parents, including mom and a dad, dad and a dad, and single parents. And they can all do a great job.
Your child’s openness is her choice
Though you want to have a confident, sassy little child who announces her parents’ situation from the roof tops, that may not be the case. If your child chooses to be discreet about what she shares with her friends, you have to accept that and not become angry with her. Remember that kids can be cruel. She has plenty of time to become comfortable with her family’s truths.
Choose helpful literature
There are actually plenty of great children’s books depicting gay parents today. The earlier you expose your child to these books, the better chance you have at normalizing gay relationships for your child from a young age.
Find other gay parents
You need your village. Meet other gay parents. You will want to stick together, share your experiences, and share advice.
Surround your child with diversity
Surround your kid with as diverse a network as possible, including different ethnicities, sexual orientations, and more. Help her feel and see, from a young age, that outside factors like race or sexuality don’t affect one’s ability to love, and that her friend group should be vibrant and diverse.
Make sure she feels she can talk to you
Make sure your child feels safe telling you anything. She should be able to come to you and tell you if kids are bullying her, or what other people say about your household. She shouldn’t feel alone with her struggles. Hopefully you know how to spot signs of bullying, too.
Find an accepting school
Finding an accepting school is critical. Find a school that celebrates all sorts of love and embraces differences.
Prepare for harsh words
Sometimes, your child will wish she had straight parents. It can be very hurtful, but she may deal with bullying, and judgment, and is too young to know that what judgmental people say isn’t right. Just prepare yourself for these difficult moments, and know that your child won’t always feel that way.
Show endless love
Be as loving as you can with your kid. No matter what the world says to her about gay parents, and no matter how confusing it is, there is one thing kids always understand: love and kindness. Your kid won’t believe what outsiders say if she feels her home is a warm and supportive place.
Initiate play dates
While it can be intimidating at first, initiate play dates. Call other parents and invite their kids over. Some may turn you down, but finding those who say yes is important. Your child should see that her parents’ relationship doesn’t isolate her from friendship.
Find a school ally
Find a teacher, teacher’s assistant, principal, or counselor who will look out for your kid. You’ll feel so much better knowing somebody has her back when you can’t be there.
Teach them defense tactics
Give your child some phrases she can use when people say mean things to her about her parents. Prepare her with tactics and responses.