homophobia · lesbian mom

Homophobic In-laws and Fixing the Broken Doggy

This week has been rough. Clients/family/adulting (in the form of medical bills, taxes as a business owner etc.)…tough…along with restarting intermittent fasting hardcore. Which makes me rather cranky. In the midst of hell week…a call from my wife’s family.

My wife’s company gave out Fitbits in order to track our steps and exercise patterns. They will put extra money into our HSA if we hit certain goals. So yeah. If you’re familiar with fitbit you know that they apparently vibrate when you haven’t moved in awhile?! Now not only am I making dietary changes like intermittent fasting and paleo based diet but I have a watch that vibrates to tell me that I am sedentary. Awesome.

It’s generally guaranteed to start vibrating during that intense moment with a client when they are revealing something super personal and vrrrmmm vrrrrmmm vrrrrmmm “you haven’t moved in awhile!” And I’m thinking this damn watch has to go.

I work as a nurse practitioner with 30 minute appointments for medication management follow-ups, 60 minutes for therapy, and yeah I’m booked through February so there’s a lot of back to back appointments with me only moving to walk some one out and the next one in.

But thanks for the reminder that I haven’t moved.

I have bumped up hot yoga to 3 nights a week again. Which makes me feel less bad when that damn thing vibrates.

This week also started every morning with my sons as a shit-show. Yesterday Jackson slammed Declan’s fingers in the bathroom door- it was an accident- but no less horrible. Screaming. Bleeding. Swelling. Meanwhile in my head I’m like, ‘I need to make my smoothie and we have to leave in twenty minutes!’ We had to call my wife, and my Mom via FaceTime to tell all his people his sad story and show them his swollen bleeding fingers.

He recovered and I got to make my smoothie.

Friday morning was show-and-tell. Me- “Don’t bring that it will break!” Him “I’m bringing it, it won’t break Mama I promise!” Him at 6:30 tonight when I come home, “Mama! My puppy broke!!!” Me- “———” Me in my head “Mother&$^#&@*$&*@$*###&&$$*#(@&&”

Let me add a little lesbian content (That’s a Hannah Gadsby reference if you still haven’t watched Nanette stop reading and go watch it, we can’t be friends until you do) my wife’s family disowned her 13 years ago now.

Then in this lesbian mom’s group I’m in some one asked how to cope with watching your partner deal with being disowned by her family. Too many responses. Too many of us have experience with this. My response was there’s nothing you can do. Keep your opinions to yourself. I didn’t share my opinions until we had kids. Then it was, they are either in or out. None of this pussyfooting bullshit. I don’t walk a line. I pick a side.

They didn’t impact me emotionally. But they weren’t going to be in and out or set up false expectations to our children. My boys either have a second set of grandparents or they don’t. Her parents have consistently chosen the side of intolerance and hate under the guise of religion.

What irks me, yes irks, is their consistent statements that they are “praying for us” to be brought over to “God’s plan”. Because I’m always thinking, “What if you’re wrong and THIS, this amazing life we have, is God’s plan?!”

I could go on. And on. But I won’t. Well maybe a little because yes that was said this week. The we are praying for you line. It’s also rather mean-spirited because if their prayers were truly answered our family would be split up. If we “followed God’s path or plan or whatever” we would both be heterosexual, divorce, and preach against gay marriage. That seems counterproductive and insulting. To everything that we are.

Suffice it to say, love your kids. Unconditionally. Even if they bring the stupid overpriced breakable puppy, that they painted in a stupid overpriced paint your own pottery shop, to daycare for show-and-tell when you explicitly warned them not to do it.

I glued the stupid puppy back together. I’ve had to chip off certain pieces with the biggest knife in our house (because the little knives didn’t work and weren’t sharp enough), glued my fingers to the stupid puppy (it’s gorilla glue, and trying to make nice seams)…but I still love those kids.

I’m also approaching my first birthday without my Dad. Yeah, I would never waste one second with my kids. I want to be in their lives until they tell me to go away, and even then I’ll come back.

We have our challenges. We butt heads. But their sexual orientation and gender identity wouldn’t make me turn them away, it would make me love them harder/stronger/more protective. Instead of kicking them out why would I not feel the need to protect them more?!

I will never understand my wife’s family’s decision. To cut her off and throw her out. To then continue homophobic views after she’s a Mommy and after we have two beautiful sons. I continue to pity them and the live’s they miss out on and I also continue to pray for them to see the light and love and acceptance of a God so different from their own.

I have no regrets in my relationship with my Dad. My only regret is not having more time with him. I knew with his last breath that he loved my sister and I. I knew we were his life. I knew that because he waited to die until she left and I was in the other room. He even tried to greet me and my sons with a smile the day he died.

I hope I have many years until my own death, but when it comes I will meet it with no regrets in my relationship with my sons. Because I choose love. I choose tolerance. I choose to accept rather than cast aside. I choose to learn from my parents and my wife’s parents. My parents accepted and loved.

I choose to pass on the legacy of love. Nothing less.

So I fixed the puppy.

Followed by a discussion about them listening to me when I veto a show-and-tell decision.

 

 

img_8352
Yes it’s freaky looking
img_8351
The Broken Puppy Glued back together
lesbian mom · mom of boys

The Boy and My Cat: Temper Tantrums and Reconciling

This morning my sons both wanted to bring their backpacks to daycare because it is show and tell on Friday’s. My boys each are stubborn in different ways. It’s my blessing and my curse. Stubborn kids. I was once a stubborn kid. Now I’m a stubborn adult. Se la vie.

Jackson is a special kind of stubborn. He has preconceived notions about basically everything, that can never be predicted by me or my wife, so we go in blind to every interaction with him.

This morning, as I do every single morning of the months of November-March, after we brushed our teeth I told them to put their coats on.

Jackson had a shit-fit. Apparently he couldn’t possibly wear a jacket and then appropriately wear the backpack. Through screaming and wailing it was relayed to me that somehow wearing a jacket would impede the backpack wearing.

Fine. Don’t wear the jacket. I’ll just bring the jacket. Well that added to the epic meltdown already happening. In the midst of this I also said I would get his Spiderman fleece instead of his big puffy jacket, because the Spiderman fleece would allow for less puffiness and better ability to have the backpack straps on.

This led to more screaming. I ran upstairs. Grabbed the Spiderman fleece. And as I was coming down the stairs and yelling for him to get out to the garage to put his shoes on I hear Declan scream. A surprised and pain scream. I went to the door to the garage. Declan came toward me crying that Jackson hit him in the head with his backpack. Declan looked especially pathetic.

I essentially lost my mind. I went to the stairs where Jackson was sitting, now with his arms crossed looking up at me in fear wondering if I would actually kill him now, I grabbed the backpack, chucked it in the house, and told him to put his shoes on and get in the car.

Of course Declan moved and the backpack that I threw, brushed his hand, and he started crying again asking why I threw the backpack at him, holding up his hand saying it hit his hand.

We were also running late now.

So I’m trying to take deep breaths. Both kids are crying. Jackson finally gets in the car coatless. I have the Spiderman fleece and throw it in my front seat. I hug Declan and tell him I wasn’t throwing the backpack at him, and I was very sorry it brushed his hand. Kissed his hand.

And coddled him into the car. Where he proceeded to recap the events of the last ten minutes and would intermittently say, “Jackson still crying Mama.” “Jackson stopped crying now Mama.” “Oh he started crying again Mama.”

I took deep breaths and put on Frozen II and then Indigo Girls and tried to center myself.

I had grabbed the PJMask toy Jackson wanted to show at show-and-tell so he would still have that. When he stopped crying and I stopped wanting to toss him out of the car we had a discussion about not hitting our brother or anyone in the head with a heavy backpack because it could cause serious injury. With Declan chiming in, “But I okay Mama.” “Yes but what if it hit you in the eye? That would have been bad.”

Then I apologized for throwing the backpack inside. But said people who hit other people in the head with backpacks do not get to bring backpacks to school for show and tell. There were apologies by Jackson to Declan for the head injury and to me for yelling at me and for essentially being a little shit. I also explained that the minimum of bringing a coat is a thing that we do in the Northeast in the Winter. That his teachers would be upset if I brought him to school with no coat.

When I got him out of the car at daycare and hugged him and set him down, he shivered and said, “I so cold Mama,” and immediately asked to put the Spiderman fleece on.

I was thinking a lot of things in my head in that moment. None of them G rated or PG or even PG-13. But I calmly put on his Spiderman fleece. I got Declan out and we went into daycare.

Show-and-tell was a success and when I got home I asked Jackson if he told my wife, Mommy, about this morning. He said yes. My wife said, “He said you threw his backpack.”

I shook my head. Of course that’s where his version would start. Not the fifteen minutes of his own screaming and meltdown that led up to it.

This is life with four year old twins. By the time I’ve walked in the door at work and the woman across the hall greets me I feel like I’ve been through hell. I told her the whole sad story and she was hysterical laughing. Then I started my day with clients.

These boys. These moments. They are chaotic and crazy and I literally can’t make it up. Because I don’t have too. The reality is nutty enough. Then tonight Jackson snuggled with Rajha. Rajha is my cat. Moreso then Maddy. I mean they are both my cats. But Maddy has warmed up to my wife and my sons very easily. She’d be fine without me. Rajha, not the case. She’s obsessed with me. She is actually poking her head over the computer screen at this very moment trying to figure out why I’m paying attention to the computer and not her.

Tonight, when I saw Rajha with Jackson, looking resigned and somewhat content, I thought wow, that little shit. In one day he’s made me lose my mind with anger and frustration and then completely melt me as I watched him finally win over my cat. He’s been trying to get her to like him since he was born. Tonight she laid with him.

It was a sweet moment. About as sweet and lovely as this morning was ugly and chaotic.

Kids. When people say there’s no handbook they mean it. It’s not just handling the bad moments. It’s reconciling the bad moments with the good. It’s being able to move past this morning of horrible-ness to have an evening of happiness. It’s wanting to toss him out of the car this morning and then snuggling with him in bed tonight kissing his nose and smiling and telling him I love him so much. That’s a lot of emotion in one day. For me and for him.

In case I didn’t portray this morning badly trust me. It was bad. So extra.

Tonight. So good.

Tomorrow? My best guess…chaos…crazy….and at some point some magical moment of love…which is why I keep them around. Those little lovely moments where I melt and realize I’ve created these two humans who are totally awesome in so many ways and who reach my heart in ways that no one else can.

lesbian mom · mom of boys

Moments that Make a Parent

We made it through Christmas. I hosted family here Christmas eve, had an asthma exacerbation requiring a lot of steroids and breathing treatments, croup in one of my kids with stridor at 1:30 AM….my wife then got diagnosed with Influenza A…and the list of fun goes on!

Overall Christmas Eve was a lot of work but nice and Christmas morning was fun even though I was exhausted and couldn’t breathe. That night found me standing outside holding my son while he took deep gasping breaths in the cold air waiting for the coughing and breathing to ease. I wore a long sleeve t-shirt and my underwear. It was freezing.

I heard a loud seal cough and that gasping raspy inhale from down the hallway. I didn’t think about getting some sweatpants on. I just grabbed him and carried him down the stairs and outside.

My wife brought him a popsicle and eventually his breathing eased enough that we could go inside into the warmth. I remember thinking as he was clutching his arms and legs around me and resting his chin on my shoulder that this moment is one of those parenting moments.

It’s done in the dead of night. Freezing cold. I didn’t freak out because I treated a lot of kids over the years for croup. Always the same thing. Bring them out into the cold air and/or give them a popsicle. If they still have stridor, then bring them into the emergency department.

I knew the drill. I wasn’t scared. I was exhausted yes. Fighting my own asthmatic cough yes. Freezing yes.

That moment you get to be the rock. Adulting in a way that provides a safe space for your kid when they can’t breathe and they are scared and have no idea what’s going on or what to do for themselves.

As they get older we get fewer and fewer of these moments.

I remember thinking of my Dad in that moment. I thought Christmas would be really hard without him this year. It wasn’t easy. But I was not overcome with heavy grief the whole time. It was more intermittent pangs. It wasn’t until I held my son, all 43 lbs of him, in twenty degree weather waiting for his breathing to ease. Rubbing his back and telling him he would be fine.

That’s when I missed my Dad. Because I would never have a moment where he could be my rock ever again.

It’s not always the big holidays that bubble up the grief of losing a parent. It’s those small, unsung moments, where I’m the Mama and my son needs me. Knowing if I ever need my Dad, I won’t have him there.

So many of my friends have lost their parents this year. My facebook feed filled up with beautiful family photos in front of big Christmas trees, with captions like, “Merry Christmas, Miss you Ma,” or “Missing my Dad this Christmas, blessed to have my children to keep me busy.”

Somehow I’ve reached the age where many of us have young children, and many of us are losing parents. It’s not what I imagined the defining feature of age 34 would be, but here we are.

Losing my parent has made me grateful for these moments as a parent. I want them to be instilled in my kid’s memories. These moments that I was their safety net. I want them ┬áto have those so that when I am gone one day, hopefully many years from now, they will find themselves with their own kids and remember how I made them feel.

Safe, protected, and loved. If that is the legacy my Dad left me and I leave to them to pass on to their own kids; then I think we are doing alright. The grief becomes almost easier to bear because I know I’m passing him on to them in the best way I can.

 

lesbian mom · mom of boys

5 Things I’ve Learned in Four Years as a lesbian mom of twins.

  1. I’m going to jump into this because I hate those blog posts that say they are a recipe and you have to scroll through ads a mile long and some personal story that no one cares about to find the damn recipe. Anyway. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that being married to a woman has nothing to do with how we raise our kids. Our sons are normal, monstrous, horrible, temper trantruming, sweet and loving four year olds. They breast fed the same as kids raised by straight parents. They learned to walk, talk, and potty train exactly the same as kids raised by heterosexual parents. They say that they love us, and we say we love them. On the regular. They’ve figured out they have two moms. They’ve figured out that some kids have Daddies and not Mommies. They don’t care. Neither should you.
  2. Consistency is key. If you say you are going to go home if they act out one more time. Go home. After they act out one more time. It seems simple. But I hear so many empty threats made by parents. Then they complain their kids don’t listen. If you can’t tell I’m eye-rolling. Hard. I’m not a perfect parent. I lose my shit. I swear in front of them. And I still put on Jackson’s socks because he freaks out if I don’t even though Declan’s been putting on his own damn socks for months. It’s one of those battles I’m just not going to fight. Declan talked back to me twice. He hasn’t a third time. Because he didn’t like the consequences that happened after time number two which he was warned of after time number one of talking back. Be consistent and follow through no matter what. Trust me.
  3. Take time for yourself. Everyone says it. Few actually do it. Hot yoga makes me a better mom. Taking the time to get myself on my mat and exercise in a space where people know me as just me, not as a Mom is empowering. It reminds me who I am. I own a business and am self employed. I work hard. I want my sons to be proud of me. It’s not selfish to take time to be yourself. After being pregnant, giving birth, and nursing there was never a time I felt so out of control of my body. It didn’t feel like it belonged to me anymore. It took me some time, and I’m not done yet, but it’s definitely back to feeling like mine.
  4. My life will never be about me ever again. (See above. Hence the importance of time for me). When I was hospitalized for my asthma all I could think of was being with them. And as soon as I got home those babies were all over me. When my Dad died I didn’t get time to grieve. I went to work that week and Mama’d just like every other day. I don’t get time off from being a mom no matter what is happening to me personally or professionally. It’s incredibly draining emotionally and physically. It wasn’t healthy for me to not have time to grieve. But I had no other options. Self-employment doesn’t come with PTO/vacation days. I needed to work. The boys didn’t need to see me as a wreck. I had to keep it together around them. I know that will get easier as they get older. At least that’s what I tell myself. Every day. It’s not about you anymore! Get over it. Don’t be a martyr about it. Because thats annoying.
  5. Don’t listen to anything anyone ever tells you about parenting. I received so much bad and unsolicited advice from people about parenting. People who had never even met my kids. They potty trained at 3.5. We went without diapers one day. When we felt they were ready. People had been telling us to do it from age 2! They were not ready at age 2. They were not ready at age 3. They were ready at 3.5. They’ve had minimal accidents and no pull-ups ever overnight from the start. I knew my kids. I knew how they would be able to handle it and when. I shut every one out. I did what was best for them. Would I have liked to not have diapers in my life a year sooner?! Absolutely. But my kids weren’t ready then. People asked why I was bringing them to the dentist so early. Guess what, Declan has an enamel deficiency. I brought them very young because I felt like he had some plaque in his teeth and I thought it was weird. The dentist told me I was right and had I waited he would have a mouth full of rotting out teeth. So yeah. Don’t listen to anyone but your own gut. You know your kids. Tune out everyone else.

Mostly I’ve learned to just survive, don’t judge other peoples parenting even when they are giving you really bad advice and not following through on multiple empty threats…yes even then don’t judge. Because we are all just trying to get through the day with happy and healthy kids.

I feel grateful for the last four years. I feel incredibly blessed to have these boys in my life.

Oh and one more thing. NEVER tell a parent who has a two year old that “Three is so much worse” or any other age combination in there. Because that’s wrong on so many levels. You don’t know what they are going through. They may be hitting rock bottom and you are kicking them when they are down. Every stage is different. Three’s were not harder than two’s in some ways. In other ways they were. Don’t spread negativity about parenting, we all know it’s hard. Maybe be supportive and positive.

My business partner has twins who older than my boys. She’s never told me how bad certain stages sucked. I appreciate that about her. She’s given me goals- once you make it through…it gets so much easier! She provides me with hope that life gets easier. Do that. Spread hope.