One of the arguments I hear a lot from people who are homophobic is around raising children without a father figure. Even people who are not homophobic, but let’s say homo-ignorant, often ask “But they won’t have a dad?” or “So who is the Dad?”. My immediate gut response is one of instant defensiveness because I do not want to think that I am in any way endangering my children or providing them with anything less than the best. When I started this blog I promised myself to uncover the good and the bad, the dark and the light. The darkness around this post is there is a constant fear as a lesbian mom that I am not enough, that my sons will not learn to be good men being raised by two women. They will resent me for bringing them into a family with no father and I will have them in therapy when they are twelve because of their hatred and resentment of my wife and I. There is an insecurity within me that those homophobes who believe in a family consisting of a mother, father, and children are right. When people ask “So what about a dad?” I hear “You know you are not good enough right?” or “You and your wife will never be enough for them.”
I am a fact finder and researcher by nature. I like to know true statistics (thanks ironically to my Dad who makes shit up half the time and the other half knows random weird facts that end up being true- with love Dad!) So here are some facts I found for this article and my own peace of mind.
The American Academy of Pediatrics writes in an article titled “Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay or Lesbian”– “The US 2010 census found that only 65% of children in the US are living with two biological married parents…Current estimates state 2 million children in the US are being raised by at least one lesbian and/or gay parents…Many factors confer risk to children’s healthy development and adult outcomes, such as poverty, parental depression, parental substance abuse, divorce, and domestic violence, but the sexual orientation of their parents is not among them. Many studies have assessed the developmental and psychosocial outcomes of children whose parents are gay or lesbian and note that a family’s social and economic resources and the strength of the relationships among members of the family are far more important vari- ables than parental gender or sexual orientation in affecting children’s development and well-being.20 A large body of scientific literature demonstrates that children and adolescents who grow up with gay and/or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual.
I think the above challenges in a concise fashion all people who argue that my children need a father and relieves many of my own insecurities. My children need to be loved, nurtured, and protected. They need to be tucked in at night, brought to the doctor when they are sick, kissed and hugged when they are sad, and taught to be respectful of oneself and of each other. I agree that potty training them without an adult penis and with very little experience with penises is going to be challenge. But my wife and I will face it. Just as we will face every challenge presented to us parenting our sons. Just as single mom’s do, and grandparents, and auntie’s, and adopted families. The face of “family” has already changed in the United States. It’s time we all caught up with this fact. 65% of children are in homes with married parents- that means a whopping 35% are not. That’s a lot of kids, and that was 7 years ago. The days of a mother, father, and two children are past. We are a beautiful blended society today with stepparents, adoptions, single parents, married gay parents and as long as all of those children are loved and especially as long as my children are loved don’t ask me where their dad is. It’s insulting and demeaning of the family we are.
Ask me how their Mom’s parent two challenging and sweet toddlers. Ask me what I am doing right, and don’t rush to judgement that because there are two Moms I am doing something wrong. I shouldn’t have to defend my family to any one, but here I am. The reality is many people think our family is not a real family and that we are not deserving of being parents. I am not anti-Dad. I have a Dad who I love very much. I am anti-judgement. I decided a long time ago not to judge others, and after I had my sons I doubled my efforts to not judge other parents and I shut other people down who are around me if they start judging parents. I remember one day I thought my nipples were going to fall off (I breastfed twins for eleven months), my wife was back at work, my C-section pain still wasn’t gone, and my sons just would not stop crying. I cried with them. In that moment I realized that parenting is so freaking hard. If at the end of the day your kids are loved and alive then I’m thinking it was a good day. I make mistakes parenting. I lose me temper sometimes when I’m telling my son not to touch the television for the thirtieth time that day. I forget their jackets for daycare some days. But never would I say that a mistake I made is having them. Because I love those little guys even on our worst day, and I wouldn’t want to journey through this parenting debacle with anyone but my wife. So the answer is, my sons don’t have a dad, they have two kick ass Mom’s who love them.