lesbian mom

Moira Rose’s Wisdom…Take Naked Pics.

Schitt’s Creek is one of my favorite shows (DAVID!) A part that has always stayed with me is an episode where Moira Rose (the mom) tries to find naked pictures of herself online that she thought were posted. She can’t find them. It’s a whole thing. But at one point she says to Stevie who is young enough to be her daughter,

“Then allow me to offer you some advice: Take a thousand, naked pictures of yourself now. You may currently think, “Oh, I’m too spooky.” Or, “Nobody wants to see these tiny boobies.” But, believe me, one day you will look at those photos with much kinder eyes and say, “Dear God, I was a beautiful thing!”

I loved that line.

My weight has waxed and waned throughout my life. I was never secure. I got height and boobs far sooner than all the other girls in my grade. And by the time they all passed me in height, well to this day they still think I’m taller and they stand at least 2-3 inches taller.

I’ve been called fat. I’ve been called “slim”. I’ve been called beautiful. I’ve been called ugly.

Needless to say I’ve always been a bit insecure about how I present to the world based on the feedback.

Then of course carrying babies and having them cut out of me didn’t help.

But I actually followed Moira’s advice. And let me tell you…it’s a challenge. Because the whole iCloud situation and having kids. So note to self- before you embark on nude photos- make a separate iCloud account for your kids. And/Or turn off your iCloud sharing with photos. And then never. I mean never. Loan out your phone. Keep them in a separate album. Hide the album. Password protect that shit. I knew I would need to do all of the above, and let me tell you it’s worked.

Not only are my pics secure from anyone. But I absolutely do look back at them and think, “Damn, look at me. I’m beautiful”. And then, the more I do it, the longer it happens, it’s now been 4 years! I appreciate the pictures. I appreciate myself. I love myself more. If you’ve watched Schitt’s Creek you are probably thinking huh. Pretty damn weird that Moira gave actual life changing advice. But she did.

Now to clarify, I’m not taking nudes daily. It’s a couple times a year when I remember this is something that helps me. I hate it. In the moment I absolutely despise all the curves, all the stretch marks, all the scars. But then a year later…it’s all “Damn, I was freaking beautiful”.

Then slowly, over time, you realize if you were beautiful then, when you “hated” yourself, you’re probably beautiful now. You can probably let go of the self hate and replace it with some self love.

So do it up people. Take all the naked pics you can tolerate…but seriously…password protect that shit.

Divorce and Separation · lesbian mom · mom of boys

Freedom in Single Parenting

Being the primary custodial parent of twin boys and owning a business when Roe v. Wade was overturned means I had no time to process it. I read the headline and then entered a telehealth session with a client. I went about my day.

I realized that night I was being somewhat irritable with the boys. I did some self introspection and noted that 1. I had been with them for 13 days straight with no reprieve due to my ex being sick. 2. My normal reprieve is only less than 48 hours a week. 3. I was actually really upset about Roe v. Wade and was unable to verbalize that to any one. Because, well, 6 year olds don’t really care, and being the single parent means very little time having actual adult conversations outside of work.

I eventually waved them off with my illness free ex – where they were going for a pre-planned five nights and six days. This is the longest I’ve not had them since…well since probably ever. It feels amazing. They are coming home tomorrow night and I feel like I have not had enough time.

Then I was thinking that parents who split custody get 5 nights every other week free. I don’t know how I feel about that. I feel like 5 nights once a month or once every other month would be sufficient for me. Because I have had some epic nights. I folded laundry. I went out two nights with friends, came home by 9 pm. I hung out with my dog until after 9 pm outside by the pool.

I was driving home from a dinner date and some one I know called me because they needed help administering their first insulin dose to themself. I stopped over and helped. Because I had nowhere to be. It was this amazing feeling of freedom that I do not remember feeling for so long. I tried not to go down the rabbit hole of resentment knowing my ex has this every week. And for the most part I succeeded.

I didn’t have karate and all the laundry to do. I didn’t have lunches, dinners, breakfasts, snacks, fights, mess, and the general chaos of twin life. I am pretty sure if I had not had them for 15 days straight leading up to these five nights I would miss them much more than I do. But I needed the break.

I read every news article I could find about the overturn of Roe. I sat in those feelings of anger, fear, grief, and pain. I donated to Planned Parenthood. I enrolled to become a crisis line worker volunteer for an abortion hotline.

I worked. I did paperwork. I worked out on the treadmill. I swam whenever I felt like it. And I didn’t feel the overwhelming, constant, all engulfing, stress of single parenting. I sat by the pool and read. I actually read a book without staying up all night or sacrificing any of my sleep time to do so.

I love my sons. And I do not regret getting a divorce or being the primary caretaker. I am allowed to feel overwhelmed, scared, sad, and unable to engage in anything else but surviving as a Mom.

I’ve seen judgement in other people’s responses to me since becoming a single parent- when I decline invites or cancel plans- and I’ve had to cut people out who are not a part of my day to day. Not intentionally; it just happens naturally because I’m consumed with making it through each day.

To have five nights and remember that I am this person with thoughts and feelings outside of survival mode has been relieving, bittersweet, and illuminating.

There is a part of me that is so angered by all the states who voted for Trump that I think they are getting what they deserve, what they wanted- mostly all the states that voted for Trump have abortion bans. There is a small bitter part of me saying isn’t this what you wanted? Isn’t this what you asked for when you voted him in?

There is another small part of me that is deeply enraged with the Democratic party. Because seriously. Fuck you. You didn’t think Brett Kavanaugh was lying? He lied about being a rapist…I’m unclear why he wouldn’t lie about literally everything else. Where is their outrage? Where is their plan? And how the hell do they not have a plan when this was clearly coming?

The Biden administration is possibly the biggest disappointment of my life. At least I expected Trump to suck- and he sucked for me personally- but he did manage to get a lot done for the Republican party. Unlike his successor.

The pool, the book, and the dog have been great. My 5 nights free of parenthood have been epic. Freedom tastes good. Which is funny because it’s during a time that my freedom as a woman and a Queer person feels like it is slipping away.

lesbian mom · mom of boys

The Dog & the Pool

There’s a lot I could comment on. War. School shootings a.k.a. mass murders of children by children with guns they should never have. Abortion. The politicization of the Supreme Court by the Republicans. How masks are traumatizing enough for children to fuel a movement of protests and legislative action but apparently AR-15’s are not. But honestly if I sit with any of those I will be on a tall soapbox for hours fueling a deep rage toward this society.

So I’ll keep that all inside.

I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. My life could be a reality show.

My dog hates the water. She low key growls the entire time if I have to bathe her. It’s a whole thing.

I felt 100% comfortable with her by the pool because she hates water so much. She runs away if the boys splash her.

Well, it’s been a couple weeks now with the pool open. She has a fenced in area attached to the pool area by a gate. I leave the gate open and she has a ball running back and forth between her grassy area and the pool. Today the boys were in the pool, I was clothed- that will matter later.

They helped me put the solar cover on, and then got out. We were all turning to walk up the stairs to the deck and Cheetah leaped into the pool on top of the solar cover. The solar cover is literally heavy duty bubble wrap on top of the water.

Cheetah realized that after two seconds. She managed to leap along it, as I of course yelled at her, because that was helpful, and one of the boys started crying because he thought Cheetah was going to drown. She was not even in the water yet.

I’m swearing because I’m picturing her tearing into my brand new pool liner that got installed not even two weeks ago now.

I start walking into the water in my clothes. Yes in my clothes. She makes it to the edge by the filter and leaps from the sinking solar cover. Lands in the water. Epically panics. Puts both front paws on the cement on the side of the pool, and all I can picture are her two back paws clawing through my brand new liner….and she finds foots in the pool filter and leaps out. She looks utterly drenched and is shaking.

I am dripping. Annoyed. Still unsure if she ripped my new liner. I get out and make my way to her. She low key growls as I drag her inside because she thinks I’m going to give her another bath at the sink- but I drag her to her fenced in area, lecturing her about not jumping in the damn pool, she’s still shaking and growling and now smelling like wet dog. I put her behind her fence (baby-gate that blocks off my office and a weird hallway area off my kitchen) and tell her she’s staying there as long as she’s wet.

The boys are inside now also dripping all over. I change into my swimsuit because I have to go investigate the liner further with goggles. Amen for a pool heater.

It’s about 7 PM on a Tuesday and I’m underwater running my hands and eyes over my pool liner. Because of my dog. Who thought the solar cover was solid.

She still hates water. She was pissed she was wet. She let me towel her off repeatedly. And then pouted because I made her lay on a towel on the couch. She hates towels. Literally glared at me.

My sons went and spoke to Cheetah over the fence at one point while I was trying to calm myself. “Cheetah, we still love you, we are just upset with you right now, because you could have torn the liner, and ripped the cover. We still love you though. It’s okay for some one to be mad at your behaviors it doesn’t mean we don’t love you.”

Then I’m cracking up. Because apparently my sons hear me. When I’m mad or upset at their behavior and I tell them I’m allowed to feel my feelings just like they are allowed to feel theirs. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them. I can dislike some one’s behavior and still love them. I’ve said that a lot. Clearly.

So I have to re-evaluate the dog in the pool area. Well at least when there’s a cover on the pool. Though I don’t think there will be a repeat performance honestly. I couldn’t tell who was more irritated/upset/traumatized…her or me. She hated everything about being wet. And now she knows. Solar cover does not equal solid.

She’s currently passed out on the beach towel avoiding all eye contact with me because she hates the beach towel.

The boys are in bed. My hair is wet. And when the adrenaline wears off I’m sure I’ll laugh about that moment as she hit the solar cover and realized it was not solid. And my wading through the water in my clothes yelling at the damn dog, and my boys in all their innocence explaining emotional intelligence to a dog.

Title photo- Annoyed, damp, Cheetah on beach towel avoiding eye contact.

Divorce and Separation · lesbian mom · mom of boys

Manhattan & Single Mom Life

I have learned about myself as a single mom…about my strengths, weaknesses, regrets, hopes, dreams, and so much more. I’ve been single before. I’ve been in very low places before. But I never was single as a Mom of twin boys. The last time I was single was in my early 20’s. I feel I was much weaker in some ways and more fearless in others.

This week I took my sons (twin six year old boys) to NYC with me, by myself, for two nights.

I have always been fascinated with the city. I remember riding on the bus on school trips and watching as the green suburbs fell away to apartment buildings, and city blocks, and dirt, and grime, and people with different color skin- other than white. People with accents. I remember feeling like there was this whole world of people who didn’t care about the drama of one little suburban town and that provided me hope that I would be something else. Some one else. Something more.

When I got into NYU I thought my dreams came true. Turns out…I love visiting the city…not living there. There are rats. Big ones. I mean really big. And there is nowhere to escape from the noise, the smells…the rats. Central Park is covered with the grime of the city, and the wind tunnels that nearly knock you down during those cold Winter days…yeah those are no joke.

I don’t regret going there and I don’t regret leaving. And I made peace long ago with the fact that I love the city. In small doses. Not Times Square though. I like the dingiest Chinese restaurant with the menu written onto the walls, that is probably run by the mafia…but they make the best Chinese food. Spoils Chinese food everywhere else. I love that New Yorkers are not nice, but they are kind. They won’t be fake and smile, and they will huff and puff as they help you without you asking. I loved meeting random people who would ask me to do random stuff. I was in the Halloween parade in Greenwich Village with a bunch of drag queens, I drank saki in a basement of a modern day Chinese version of a speakeasy, I turned around at a house party to find myself facing an Emmy “Oh, that’s my Dad’s”, and I was asked to be in a fellow student’s debut movie clip and I dressed up as a bride and we danced around the yard of a beautiful church while people walking by smiled and clapped because they thought it was a real wedding.

I went to theaters that people who do not live in NY do not know exist. I also went to the Met and saw La Boheme. I was there a short time, but I didn’t leave hating the city. I left loving it. In small doses.

I’ve wanted to share that part of the city with my kids. But I had to wait. A long time. Until they were old enough to recognize “walk” signals. Until I was confident as a single mom to do it on my own. I am proud to say we did it. Honestly only because they asked. They wanted to see the Statue of Liberty…not my favorite part of NYC. But I was willing to do it because every kid should go there at least once and like I said. I love NYC.

I decided to drive in because we were staying downtown, closer to the Lady. I reserved a spot for two nights. I reserved a room at a hotel, and I reserved tickets for a walk to the platform. I have walked to the crown back in Middle school. It was long. Kind of horrendous. Very long. Very hot/humid. Stairs are steep. And you can’t really stop at the crown. You have to keep moving. So you can do a short pause, and see a view, and then you walk down. It’s very, very, very high up. I mean high. And I told the boys it’s closed. I think it actually is closed. Maybe.

I made it to the garage, then back to hotel, all with twin boys in tow. We made it to the ferry. There were some tears on the way there (no not by me) because one of them was nervous. But we made it. We walked 195 steps to the pedestal. 195 steps. We posed for some very windy pictures. Then the boys told me they were ready to leave. We waited in a windy line for another ferry. We made it back, Uber’d back to the hotel. Then we walked to Mulberry street and the boys got to see Chinatown and Little Italy. Including the outskirts of Chinatown which included some parks, playgrounds, and live Chinese music.

Their faces…I recognized their faces. Awe, wonder, appreciation. Seeing people and cultures different from our every day suburban and in our case somewhat rural life. They also had complete faith that I knew where we were going and what I was doing. Oddly I feel no fear in Manhattan. At 37 I have far more life experience than I did at 18. I was fearless then. I am not fearless now but confident in my ability to case my area and a general awareness of who I need to worry about.

It was surreal walking those streets with my kids. I never imagined twenty years ago I’d be back with my children. We ate at one of my favorite spots in Little Italy and of course I got my slice of chocolate ganache truffle cake from Ferrara’s, a sketchy Asian woman tried to sell me a supposed real Gucci, and we walked through an open fish market…literally hit all the tourist stuff you need to hit in Chinatown and Little Italy.

What struck me though was again how kind New Yorker’s are. They saw a solo woman with kids and people just emerged to help us. They often were gruff in their approach, as New Yorker’s are, but had good intentions. At the ferry there were two security guards who shoo’d every one back, and let “the bebe’s” go through security, and helped assuage Jackson’s anxiety while he waited for me to come through. There was a woman who yelled after us when Declan dropped his favorite stuffed animal and patted his head when he rushed back to get it. There were all the old Italian men at the restaurant who went out of their way to talk to the boys, take our picture, and then yell down restaurant to restaurant as we walked back down Mulberry Street to watch these boys and their Mama.

I was so nervous to do this by myself, and one thing I’ve learned as a single parent is how to ask for help. Because it’s something I’m still not very good at doing. But I didn’t have to ask. Shockingly, in Manhattan, I’ve never been helped more by strangers.

Our hotel room looked out over the World Trade Center site. It was rather eerie, and sad, and so much more. My sons asked me what the World Trade Center is. I didn’t tell them at first. I needed to think about it. Eventually I told them. It was weird talking to two kids who had no idea what 9/11 was. They didn’t know the security measures at the Statue of Liberty were a direct result of 9/11. It was weird remembering where I was at the time. It was sad remembering the people I’ve met who were impacted by 9/11 and the family members they lost.

We made it back to the car. We made it back to the highway. And tonight we are tucked snugly in our warm, quiet, rural, beds. I’m feeling generally proud. And yet these situations are always bittersweet. Because I think, yes but what if…what if I was still married? Would this have been a better experience for us all? What if I wasn’t single any longer? Would it have been better? There’s always a niggling doubt in single motherhood that what I’m providing is not good enough. I have to remember to bring myself back down from anxiety spirals and ground myself in the experiences that we had. They were crazy, and fun, and loud, and I got to share my beloved Manhattan with my sons; and I’m damn proud that I did it all by myself (with the help of some guardian angel grumpy and gruff New Yorkers).

#COVID-19 · Divorce and Separation · lesbian mom

Reflections on Christmas Eve 2021

Christmas Eve 2021. My kids are at an age where they are starting to be kinda cool. They can laugh at stuff. They can appreciate good music. They can carry firewood. One piece at a time, but still, it’s one big piece now; used to be just kindling. Today I had them fill up the rack inside the garage from the racks outside. I told them 20 pieces each. They can count too which is quite helpful for the firewood.

It was 30 degrees out. They trudged back and forth in the cold. With promises of hot chocolate and the reminders that Santa is watching. They also helped shovel the driveway. That was less successful than the firewood. They helped me feed the cats, and herd the cats away from the dog. They miraculously kept the dog occupied for 40 minutes today while I took 40 minutes to myself on the treadmill. Usually I have to crate the pooch.

We went to my Mom’s and saw extended family outside of my sister and sister-in-law and niece. Literally the first family event with actual extended family since before March 2020. We know about the COVID surge. We took precautions. We all kept staring at each other. Because it’s been so long. But staring in a good way. I unfortunately was on a time crunch because the poor pup can only be in the crate just so long at five months old.

My Aunt and cousin have purebred yellow labs. I of course have my heinz 57 rescue mutt pup Cheetah. But we could commiserate on the new puppy blues. Because that’s definitely a thing. It was a lovely dinner and evening and honestly just a relief to see my Aunt, Uncle, and cousin.

As my sons and I drove home I put on the Sing 2 soundtrack.

The soundtrack is kind of amazing. We belted out the song the Gorilla sings. Then we belted out I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. It was all amazing. And then I started crying. Not sobbing. But tears definitely fell.

I got to see my Aunt and Uncle and cousin once in two years. There are other Aunts, Uncles, and cousins I still haven’t seen and do not know when I will see again. The boys looked at my Aunt and Uncle on Christmas and smiled, and said, “We never see you!” Leave it to the kids to state the obvious.

Their childhood is shaped by this weird isolation. Their experiences are so incredibly different from my own childhood filled with Christmas Eves of Aunts, Uncles, cousins, great Aunts, great Uncles, and tons of second and third? cousins. Whoever was in the general Northeast area in the family would be around for Christmas Eve.

I grieve for what the boys are missing out on. I grieve for my Dad. Because he would be part of my inner COVID safe circle and he would love my dog and he would make horrible Dad jokes and be intrusive and annoying. But he would make the isolation of COVID so much less lonely. He’d probably come over every day just to see the dog.

As I drove home singing Sing 2 wiping away tears with my sons singing loudly I grieved for my marriage. Not because I want to be married to my ex but because I am lonely. It’s incredibly difficult to be a single parent during the holidays. It’s physically and emotionally exhausting and depressing in a way I can’t really describe other than to say if you know, you know.

But I also was happy. Happy to have that moment with my sons where we could laugh and sing and be silly together. It was a beautiful clear night and when we got home, let the dog out, and I put them to bed, it felt right. That night felt right, and that I suppose is the magic of Christmas.

Divorce and Separation · lesbian mom · mom of boys

Privilige and Birthday Cake Slices

Well the boys turned six. I have six year old twin boys.

It also marks a year since my ex moved out. She moved out a week or two after their birthday last year.

This was my last “first” as a single Mom. I had a year of firsts after my Dad died. It was all messed up. This was different. This could be a year of new beginnings not mourning. Divorce definitely carries a sting but nothing compared to the loss of my Dad. I was excited this year to navigate this new existence with my sons to be more present with them in these moments. I didn’t have the stress of my crumbling marriage hanging over every holiday and event. It was actually a relief in some ways.

And it was different “firsts” than when my Dad died. Like it was my first time managing the pool as a single mom. It was the first time stacking firewood by myself. I mean I stacked it often by myself in the past but I had someone else I could ask to watch the kids or help stack the wood while I watched the boys. This year the boys helped me.

I was nervous for the birthday though. Because it’s hard being a single parent. I’m bad at planning. Even worse since doing it alone because I feel like I survive day to day and there isn’t room for future planning. I decided to bring them to an arcade and a movie on Friday, their actual birthday. Then Saturday rented a bounce house…which was amazing…and had their friends over. It all worked out. Grubhub for pizza. And friends and sister who showed up for me with all the things that I forgot (mainly the balloons- my sister, and my asthma medication that I need to breathe- my friend)

It was a long two days. The boys were spoiled. Starting in the arcade with me. By tonight when they came home I was kind of annoyed. They were not acting grateful for everything that they had been given, and were already asking about an expensive present for Christmas.

There followed a physical altercation over a birthday present and I sent them to bed. I did not yell. I calmly told them they were acting completely unacceptable and needed to go to bed.

There were tears. Then when they were in bed they wanted clarification on why I was upset. I started with the fight that had occurred downstairs. I then went into, “You guys are not grateful, your not thankful for ALL that you have. You are such lucky privileged boys. I did not have what you have when I was little. I never got picked up early from school and brought to an arcade, and a movie, and then a bounce house. My parents would not have been able to afford all I do for you guys. And you are just not getting it.”

“So you didn’t do karate?” one of them asked, “No, I didn’t, not until I was in high school and I paid for it with my own money.” Then one of them rubbed his eyes and said, “That makes me so sad Mama,”

An aside- I was not destitute. I played soccer, basket-ball, and I danced for eleven years. But I knew beyond that there was not extra money for say the dance team, extra lessons; now had I been a prima ballerina I have no doubt my parents would have made it work. But while I was a good dancer we all knew this was not going to be a lifetime career for me. We lived in a town though that was white suburban. I didn’t have designer clothes and my house was not a huge colonial so I was made fun of over the years for being “poor” by the bullies based on my town’s standards. I know I wasn’t poor. I know we always had food, and shelter, and our bills were paid, as was most of my college tuition. I had a car when I turned 16 (not a new car, and the brakes failed but…I had a car). I didn’t have to pay for car insurance until I bought my own car when I was 23. So again- I am not saying I was not privileged. Because I certainly was. But I learned early that I needed to work hard to have what I wanted because what I wanted and what I needed are two different things.

My kids…well I wanted to give them opportunities that I didn’t have. That’s why I let them try out karate- and they love it. And it’s good for them. I also still work my butt off for everything that I have. I’ve built my business. I also still have the cushion of my parents- well now my Mom, if and when I need her. I know she’s there for me.

But I digress. So I say all of this to my sons, and I end with, “I work so hard to give you guys everything I possibly can, everything that I may not have had the opportunity to have.” I don’t yell. I say it quietly and sitting on one of their beds. And they both start crying and one of them leans into me to wrap his arms around me and says, “Well you do a really good job Mama.”

I hugged him back, and then I rubbed their backs for a little while and they are now sleeping soundly.

It’s a hard thing. Balancing. I want my kids to be grateful for what they have, I don’t want them to feel like they have to work as much as I did as early as I did, but I also don’t want them turning into entitled little shits.

They brought home the Scholastic Book Fair magazine. I remember every year we would have to be dragged in front of these beautiful mountains of brand new books for the book fair. The same Scholastic Book Fair then and now. Then I would know that I had a one or two book limit. I would always see at least a few other kids with piles of books they walked out of the room with. It seemed unfair. That I could only get my two books, and other kids could walk out with ten or more. I love books. I definitely felt jealous. What I failed to acknowledge were the three kids who left with no books. Looking back now I recognize there were kids living in poverty in my classes over the years. But I never thought about that at the time. I mean I was grateful for the two books I had, but also incredibly envious that I didn’t walk out with ten. I feel ashamed writing this now but it’s true.

So my sons bring home the Scholastic Book Fair magazine and tell me about the kid who got eight books. I asked them if there were kids who didn’t get any. They were unsure. I let them pick out two each. And then I asked them to pick out two for their cousin. Also those books are damn expensive.

I don’t know what the answer is. I know I want my kids to be happy. I want them to be grateful. I want them to work hard and to appreciate that I work hard for what we have. As he wrapped his little arms around my waist and told me I do a good job. I squeezed him so tight back, and said “Thanks baby. I love you.” I’m going to keep bumbling my way through this parenting situation. And hope I produce two functional, humble, not entitled, woke, white dudes. In the process. I’m learning too.

*** The highlight of Friday was stopping at the grocery store because I needed snacks for the party on Saturday. This was after the arcade and the movie. The boys were tired and on sugar highs. But there we were. I said yes to almost every bad cereal they put in the cart because I didn’t have the energy to say No. We were at the checkout with a seemingly cranky woman who pursed her lips and looked super irritated with the existence of all of us. The boys chatted amicably. Told her and the bagger it was their birthday. Asked for gum. I said No. Hard No. Enamel issues in one kid. Then it was, “Well Mommy lets us at her house,” and I put my hand on my head and squeezed my hair to keep from screaming, and said, “Well you can do what Mommy allows at Mommy’s. With Mama no gum.” They put it down. The cashier watched and heard and scanned the single pieces of cake I had allowed the boys to get. One each. Because we didn’t have cake on their birthday. Just movie popcorn and arcade bad food. I was tired and weak. Well the cashier said, “Mmmhmmm, this is where it’s at. Ain’t nobody got no fucking time to make a whole damn birthday cake. Yes girl. This is the smartest thing I’ve ever seen. Single slice of cake for their birthday.” Then we made eye contact. I realized she was actually complimenting me. I realized she was saying this because she realized I’m a single Mom who was tired and feeling judged by my kids and bought them cake on a grocery shop trip at almost 7:00 pm on their actual birthday. I smiled. Truly smiled. And I said, “Yeeeeessss. Ain’t nobody got fucking time for that.”

*** I told the waiter at the arcade I’m a Queer nurse (I swear it came up in conversation, because I’m not some one who overshares). He comp’d my entree. I left him an insane tip for a 40.00$ bill. He was the sweetest little gay dude. Pay it forward to the Queers.

Divorce and Separation · homophobia · lesbian mom

The “Nice” Heterosexual Parenting Education Class Mandated for Divorcing Parents and My Non-hetero Feelings About It…(there are many feelings)

Per the state when two people divorce with children there is a mandatory “Parenting Education Class” that you both have to take. It’s six hours long. In my case taught by two LCSW’s. I’ve talked about sexual orientation as it pertains to me (lesbian mom more hetero-bendable identifying) and I’ll admit I was already salty going into this course because I had recently filled out after school program paperwork where by the end I ripped through the paper when I crossed out “Father’s name” so hard with the pen.

Really. You can’t just put Parent 1 and Parent 2? Really?!

Again, I was already salty. Then I come into this six hour hellacious class where I am taught basic concepts of being nice to the co-parent. And literally it’s a watered down version of what I council clients about daily. Not to say I knew all the content. But let’s say I didn’t learn anything new of value.

However, I will say I was also annoyed the entire six hours because the opener was as follows, “We will be referring to two parents as ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’. We know there can be other ways that families are made and different parenting situations but in our course this is the vocabulary we will use.” That was as close as they came to acknowledging LGBTQ+ parents. EVER. In six hours.

So literally in the first two minutes of the next six hours of my life I’m already told 1. You’re not important enough for us to use gender neutral language 2. There will be absolutely nothing in this course pertaining to LGBTQ parents and families 3. You are not seen by this course and the state of CT that mandates you take this course. Because w cannot even say the words “Two mom or two dad families” and God forbid anyone uses the word transgender.

I wanted the class to end. I wanted to be done before it even began because I felt like I shouldn’t be there taking up space with all the nice straight people. I may not identify as a lesbian but I sure as hell am a lesbian mom because my co-parent from conception is a woman. And you literally in six hours cannot even once use vocabulary that might validate my existence as a two mom family.

I had a lot of feelings. Clearly. Still do. One of the feelings that generally angers me is shame. In those moments I feel myself looking left and right like does any one know I’m a two mom parent? Can they tell? Because in that opener it was made very clear this is not a safe space for me to be.

I was calming down a bit toward the end counting the seconds. When he used an example that drove me right back up to eye twitching insanity.

“…What would be great in that moment is for the Dad to show up and support the Mom. The kid is being disrespectful and really unruly to Mom, Dad shows up and says, ‘you can’t talk to your mother that way’ dad lays down the discipline and takes a stand. That is what a Dad should do in that instance because the kid will really respect the Dad for stepping in for Mom and Mom will appreciate you too dad, you will win big points for this.”

Dude. Not only can you not acknowledge anything other than heterosexual parents but your example is literally the most gendered inaccurate stereotype I have ever heard. It took a lot. I mean A. LOT. to sit there and not 1. chew my lip off 2. keep my big mouth shut.

I needed to take some space. I needed to take a little walk. It didn’t help I had spent the better part of the day also on the phone fighting with my nemesis Anthem. I was wired to fight dirty after dealing with those heinous people all day.

So I didn’t say anything. I’m taking time to reflect. I’m going to say something. I may send a link to this blog. Because I don’t like the feelings I’m having. I don’t like feeling ashamed of the make up of my family because it seems like you are uncomfortable even saying the word lesbian let alone lesbian Moms and gay dads and trans dads and trans Moms. How about acknowledging that some of these divorces are happening because people in heterosexual marriages now want to explore their sexuality and you’ve just shamed them hardcore.

I have feelings of pain because it just feels like the micro aggressions and overt aggressions will never go away and my sons are going into kindergarten and I’m terrified that they will now be exposed to homophobia. As a lesbian mom you do a disservice by pretending we don’t exist. You lumped me in with the hetero mom’s in that class. You made analogies, jokes, and statements geared toward me that had no meaning and were absolutely useless to my lived experience. And you could not even say the words “two mom’s”.

I wanted to stand up and say I am here. I. AM. HERE. SEE. ME. But I didn’t. Because it’s a stupid class that I have to get through to finalize the divorce. But a class meant to support and empower positive coparenting should not overtly state they will be ignoring the entire population of LGBTQ+ parents who are legally required to take it.

Yeah I have a lot of feelings about this. Including but not limited to:

And by the way. Two Mom’s can actually effectively discipline their child without a man. I’ve never needed to be rescued by a man to step in and discipline my son if he’s being “unruly”. My sons live with a healthy dose of fear of me and I’ve never laid a finger on them in terms of spanking or any physical punishments.

I’m consistent. I follow through on what I say I’m going to do. Expectations are clear and I know my sons.

I will be writing a follow up letter to the organization who organizes these classes. The year is 2021. There are many different family make-ups and you do a disservice to people who are being forced to pay for and take this class by just a blanket statement that you recognize we exist somewhere out on earth but we won’t exist in the context of your six hour class.

Because that my friends is homophobia. Big bad homophobia. It’s micro aggressions and it’s shaming and it’s a symptom of minority stress where we know we are in an unsafe space and we struggle the entire six hours with do we tell them or do we not. Are we physically safe if we tell them. Etc. Etc. I’ll say it again for friends in the back- not acknowledging us is homophobic. Not acknowledging that our coparenting is going to be maybe different from heterosexuals that’s also a micro aggression and just plain ignorant.

Do better. Be better. And be the voice in the crowd saying I AM HERE. Even if it’s after the fact. Because in the moment I would have been unpleasant. Afterward with time space and objectivity is totally fine. I’ll keep y’all posted.

lesbian mom · mom of boys

Stacking Firewood Before the Storm

I get two cords of firewood delivered every November. Then it takes me a month or so to stack it all. It’s usually thirty degrees or less and some times it snows. This year the two cords were delivered on Monday. I thought “This is great, I’ll have all Fall to stack it, it won’t be snowing, I won’t be cold, no rush. Great!”

Thursday we start hearing about a hurricane. Friday we are told a cat 1 will make landfall and there will be “rain of biblical proportions” and to “protect life and property at all costs”. I mean the drama.

I take in all my pool furniture and I stand staring at the wood pile. It’s taller than me. By a lot. And then I’m picturing logs becoming torpedoes in 80 mph winds. So Friday I start stacking.

It was 88 degrees and what felt like 100% humidity here. I was dripping sweat. My sons came out and helped. It was honestly the cutest freaking thing. Those little dudes walked dutifully with me back and forth with the wheelbarrow as we filled it with logs then stacked the logs in the garage and on our stands outside.

I did promise them money and they negotiated up to 20$ “paper money Mama, not the coins”. At one point one of them stopped and looked at me and said, “You’re a good Mama, you’re doing a good job.” Through my huffing and puffing I tried to smile and say thank you. At the end of Friday’s stacking we jumped into the pool and I took them for ice cream. At some point my neighbor stopped over with his wheelbarrow and helped with a few loads. Unasked and purely because he’s kind.

The boys asked if I was paying him. We laughed, and I said no, sometimes people are just kind. He has daughters in their 20’s and I think he was imagining them attacking that woodpile by themselves.

Saturday came and it wasn’t any cooler or less humid or less dramatic with the forecasts. Back and forth we went some more. The boys still helping, and trying to angle for more cash. I mean they are good at bargaining maybe law school is in their futures.

By Saturday evening there was less than 1/2 cord left on the driveway which was secured under a tarp with stakes and 80 lb deck umbrella stands.

By Sunday night we had received a lot of rain, a few gusts maybe up to 40 mph, and otherwise a dreary day. No firewood torpedoes thank goodness and no cat 1 hurricane in sight. So that was anti-climatic but I’ll take it because I wasn’t looking forward to no power for a week.

Sometimes it is in the monotony of a task like stacking firewood that we have the most meaningful times with our children. In a simple act they were taught many lessons.

They were taught the importance of preparing for a storm, they were taught we don’t quit at something even when we are dripping sweat, cranky from the heat, and our muscles are screaming. They learned the kindness of neighbors can be just that. Kindness. Without motive. They learned that Mama can handle a pending crisis with general calm and determination.

They were told at one point they had reached their maximum reimbursement of 20.00 each and they could stop or not it was up to them. They both went silent with their bargaining and trudged onward with me even though they wanted to come inside and watch tv. I told them they could and I wouldn’t be upset with them. It had been a long hot couple days, and I sincerely told them they could go inside and be done. But they knew I wasn’t done and didn’t want me to be alone.

They could have stayed inside watching tv. They could have played in the yard with the sprinkler. They could have ridden their bikes on the driveway. But they worked hard. They took pride in their work, and I praised them constantly for how well they were doing.

Stacking firewood is not sexy or glamorous. I broke a fingernail. My hands and arms and abs and legs are sore. I literally was soaked with sweat. Dripping like at hot yoga. I smelled. They smelled. There were ants. Pincher bugs. Spiders.

Kids watch us. They see us. When Declan told me I was a good Mama I melted inside. I don’t think he was saying I’m a good Mama because I stack firewood. He said it because he knew it was miserable but I persevered. I didn’t complain. I stayed positive and kept talking about how great it will be to jump in the pool. He said it because in that moment he admired me.

Now that I’m not dripping sweat and trudging through flying ants with wheelbarrows full of firewood I think back to that moment when we made eye contact and he said that and I smiled and said “Thanks bud. I love you.” And Jackson said, “What about me Mama?” and we laughed and I said, “Love you too buddy”. Then we had a second where we all just beamed at each other then I leaned over to throw another log into the wheelbarrow.

It was less than five seconds. That one moment. Treasure the moments. Teach through experiences. If parenting has taught me anything it’s to appreciate the moments. Because in the next moment I was probably yelling at them to stop fighting. Parenting also has taught me how much they see us. For some one who likes to remain on the periphery and not be the center of attention, it’s taken some getting use to for me. Two humans have their eyes and ears on me at. all. times. It can be a lot for an introvert.

Stacking wood can seem unimportant but they learn lessons from everything we do. Everything we prioritize and don’t; they see. It’s a huge responsibility- these little humans. Sometimes I feel like I’m doing everything wrong. But in that moment, by the woodpile, seeking their admiration even if just for a second, I felt like yes! Mom win.

(The meme/title picture is just because it made me laugh. Jackson in particular and I have had that exact scene regarding dinner. I told him he didn’t need to eat it but that it would be there in the morning for breakfast. It was there in the morning for breakfast. He ate it.)

Divorce and Separation · lesbian mom · mom of boys

All the Socks Everywhere (Single Mom-ing Adventures)

My sons wear mismatching socks. Well one son in particular will purposely mismatch his socks. So I never have great success matching them when I fold laundry at baseline. But in the past few weeks I noticed I was finding single socks all over the house. They were everywhere. I would bring both my sons to where the offending sock was and ask how it got there, why it was there and not in the laundry, and they both swore up and down it was not them.

It was getting ridiculous. Why was I finding socks literally everywhere? We had lectures that ensued about putting our dirty clothes in the laundry.

There were several reasons to assume it was my sons. Starting with we are the only three people living in the house. We also have a pool and they seem to undress wherever they are standing at the very moment I ask if they want to go in the pool. Often it is in their playroom, the family room, kitchen, etc. Basically everywhere but in their room next to their hamper. We have a hamper on the main floor for this very reason.

I was getting annoyed. At first it was one sock randomly. Now it was socks everywhere all the time. And the worst of it was the boys were adamantly denying it was them.

We were all watching tv one night on the couch and I heard Scooby making a weird meow. The meow she makes when she’s trying to kill a bug. Minutes later I heard her hop slowly down the stairs meaning she had something in her mouth. I got up to investigate dreading what present she would have for me.

There she was. Sock in mouth. Dropped it at the bottom of the stairs as I approached.

She progressed to leaving socks in her water bowl. The socks sop up all the water so she has nothing left to drink and I have a sopping wet sock to deal with.

Understanding dawned. They were always present after I got home from work. I hadn’t worked from home in a few weeks and since getting the kittens last July I worked from home exclusively. The boys came running over in time to see the offending sock. We all started laughing and I apologized for blaming them for all the socks.

Yesterday, “Jackson, why is your outfit still in the entryway? I asked you to put it in the hamper!” his response was a shrug and, “Musta been Scooby Mama.”

Sometimes as a single mom and business owner and mental health practitioner during a pandemic I feel like I am running and running but it’s a treadmill because I feel like I’m working so hard but frustratingly stationary. It feels like the hamster on its wheel.

I feel like I’m being punk’d at all times because seriously. The damn cat outsmarted me for several weeks. Not just once or twice. Weeks. Every day. And literally as I wrote this she put a damn sock in her water bowl because it’s almost time for them to eat and she’s annoyed with me for not feeding her immediately.

Where she gets the socks I have no clue. But I won’t be surprised if she found a way to open our sock drawers. Because it’s not like we leave them all over our rooms for her to nab.

The days can seem repetitive and yet just as intensely hard as the day before which leads to sometimes a sense of dread or just odd acceptance that tomorrow will have hard moments too or rarely hope that tomorrow may be a little easier.

People say things to me like, “I could never do that,” “You are so motivated,” “I would never have been able to paint the fence…be a single parent…do it alone…work so late on at night” etc. etc.

I know these statements are meant in admiration but I have started replying with more than a polite smile and nod. Because there’s a part of me inside that is screaming. I got a quote to paint my fence and deck…four thousand dollars. I’m paying for a divorce, the pool needs a new cover, and ya know a mortgage and bills that I entered into with dual incomes is down to one.

So I painted the fence and the deck. I’m not done yet. But July it rained every day. I will finish it. I don’t have a choice. It has to get done so I do it. I couldn’t stay in a marriage any longer that was bad. So here I am a single parent. Did I have kids expecting this to happen? No. Can I just stop parenting because I’m in the middle of a divorce? No. I love my kids. I would never let them suffer because of my choices.

Working late is not a hallmark of how hard I work. I mean I work my ass off. But if I had something else to do on a Saturday night I would do it. But lately, my sons get picked up at 5:30 pm and I feel like I just crash and burn. A friend texted me the other night and I was doing work and she said she was so proud for how hard I work and I cried.

It’s a lonely business this divorce single parenting stuff.

Sundays I started booking a couple therapy clients. I tell NO. ONE. Because then the floodgates would open of patients wanting weekend appointments. But it’s two hours and it forces me out of the house. I hit hot yoga in the morning before the clients. Then I’ve got half my day done. Laundry and house stuff usually takes up the afternoon. Distraction is key to being away from my kids.

I check in with friends. I make plans. I stack firewood. Hang new curtain rods. Hang blinds. Next on my list is replacing the lightbulbs in the entryway. I think I may need scaffolding to reach it…so that will be interesting. My friend recently reminded me of all the color in my old house. This house has remained cream and light colors. I may start painting it. I am planning and preparing mentally for Winter number 2 of pandemic isolation.

Rationally I know life is good right now. I have so much to be grateful for. My sons and I got stuck in the rain yesterday and we laughed and played (until the clap of thunder directly over our heads) at which point we screamed and wildly ran back to the car. And I am grateful for them so much. I know I’m not on a wheel. I’m on a path. I just wish I could see past the horizon sometimes.

(You can end here. The rest is an aside. But I was too lazy to make a second post. I mean it’s still a good read though.)

I was doing therapy today with a client, and I was on my A-game. We had just had a session mid-week and there was something about it that kept nagging at me. I opened with that, and my suspicions were confirmed which led me down the path of leading the client to cathartic tears. (It wasn’t my intent to make client cry, never is, but we had some stuff to unpack so it happens). As client cried, I sat, waiting, and doing cheers in my head for getting us there, (I know it’s weird that in my field it’s sometimes a win when people cry), and we were both sitting with the clients realization and then I heard a pecking at the window. I looked over and there was a little bird pecking on the window. I’ve been in the office since June, and have never had that happen. The client laughed through tears and was touched by the bird’s presence. It stayed for under a minute, but long enough we got to really see it.

My Dad had a tree of life. Big green maple with a ton of bird feeders and suet traps. There were always birds and squirrels and he had bird books and would look them all up. He would run out and yell at the squirrels. I thought, I see you Dad. Thanks. I know you’re checking up on me. Because through all the shit of the last year I still miss my Dad. He would have helped me paint the fence. He would come watch the boys for me. He would tell me not to work so hard and take care of myself. He’d probably annoy me by asking questions I don’t want to talk about and making a mess with the paint somewhere, and feeding the boys crap. He’d ask me to come over on Sundays and make me his eggplant parmigiana which I love or he’d try and make something I detest thinking I actually like it and get annoyed when I remind him for the millionth time I don’t eat mayonnaise or meat.

But I’d take it all.

Divorce and Separation · homophobia · lesbian mom

Happy Pride & Why it’s Important to Me

Pride month.

An administration that recognizes Pride month. Amaze-balls.

Why is Pride month a big deal? Why do we need Pride month? Why can’t you have heterosexual day or month? Blah blah blah. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We literally live in closets. For one month we can be in public spaces and not be scared to hold hands with partners. We can be at parades where we see and are seen. We can be unequivocally and unapologetically who we are. We get one month to be comfortably out. The rest of the year there are not many spaces we can all be comfortably out. Visibility is important.

Let me tell you some stories. I have a trans client whose Mom has been intermittently transphobic and had a hard time coming to terms with her son’s transition. It brought tears to both our eyes as they recounted their Mom at the NYC Pride parade, wearing a t-shirt that said, “I love my trans son” and a random trans female walking out of their spot in the parade. Beelining straight for my clients Mom and asking for a hug who enthusiastically gave her one. That moment still brings tears to my eyes. I wasn’t even there.

Pride allows us these moments.

I have many clients who first saw other people like them at Pride events. “I didn’t even know people like me existed, then I went to my first Pride parade and was like wow. I want to be them.”

I know people who were physically assaulted when they came out to family. I know people who were sexually assaulted and physically assaulted for just existing as they are. Pride allows all of us a place to find love, acceptance, peace, and most of all hope.

Have you ever been physically or sexually assaulted because you identify as heterosexual? Likely not. You can exist in any space without fear of being victimized because of your sexual orientation and gender identity. That’s why you don’t get a month. Because you get every freaking day.

I saw a guy for a few dates. At the second date he 1. expected I would have sex with him. 2. Wanted to know when we could have a threesome. 3. Was annoyed and perplexed when I declined both options and told him where he could stick it. He made a lot of assumptions based on the fact I had been with a woman: he thought I would hop into bed. He also thought I would want to hop into bed with both genders. Obviously. He didn’t get a third date. Would he have acted that way with a heterosexual woman? My guess is no.

The best part of Pride month for me this year is my practice. I spent June 1st in my brand spanking new office. It was built for us. There are four offices, a waiting area, kitchen area, and bathroom. The Landlord designed it with me, tolerated my multiple significantly more expensive demands, and now we all have windows. We all have sheetrock ceilings and heavy doors and the more expensive soundproofed sheetrock. We also have excessive numbers of outlets, dimmers on all the lights, and a thermostat for each individual office.

I commissioned an artist to make a “super classy, super Queer, not stupid, no unicorns, but obviously gay, massive painting” for a wall in the waiting area. She laughed when I said not stupid. She said, “I actually know exactly what you mean. It can get excessive fast with the rainbows.”

It feels amazing to own a space, make it mine, to have built a practice of people who are on board with the super Queer mission of the practice. One of my employees was there decorating and said she didn’t buy a print because she thought maybe it would be too much in terms of too gay. I told her if any one thinks it’s too gay friendly they are not meant to be at this practice. She agreed.

I want my practice to embody Pride month. I want that energy of hope and acceptance to be oozing out of my group. It’s incredibly freeing to be able to pursue this without any boundaries or people trying to hold me back.

I’m surrounded by Queer people. Which means I have been touched by homophobia and have witnessed transphobia firsthand. I hear about it all second hand also. My best friend and my sister are both lesbians. My ex is obviously a lesbian. I’m pleasantly curved. I have other Queer folks in my family and many many more in my friends. Then there’s my clients. I looked at my day recently and 8 out of 12 were Queer in some way. I remember smiling. I built it. They came. I love it. Pride month brings visibility but it also brings up the dark side. It brings up Stonewall. It brings up all the LGBTQ individuals who have been victims of hate. It reminds me of my sister sinking two foul shots at our state finals as the opposing crowd chanted “DYKE DYKE”. It reminds me of countless restaurant experiences of being stared at and talked about sometimes quite overtly. It reminds me that my sons have never met their grandparents on my ex’s side.

Hate drives homophobia and transphobia. The opposite of hate isn’t love. In this case it’s acceptance.

Nothing prepared me to date men again and realize after the first date why it felt so different. It wasn’t because it was a man. It was because I didn’t have the constant worry and hyper-vigilance that comes with a same-sex relationship. I was relaxed. I didn’t think the waiter or the people on the street or at the restaurant would come after us. I could let my guard down. The external minority stress was absent. I remember feeling relief. But also such deep sadness and grief. That stress was there every time I went out with my ex. It was such a part of us that I wasn’t even aware of it until it was gone. Minority couples do not go through less stress. They go through more. Because on top of normal couple stuff we have to worry about being targeted every time we step out the door.

Pride month is important because it’s the antithesis of every other day of our lives.

Be you. Love you. Happy Pride Month!