A recent study out of Australia found that children of same-sex parents were "healthier and less argumentative" than children of heterosexual couples. The LGBT community went running into the streets with this finding, a validation of their lifestyle and families. Since my children have same-sex parents, I too, found this study to be comforting. But let's be honest: All the studies in the world don't really have anything to do with my particular household or my particular family. And no matter how great the Australian kids of gay parents are doing, there's not a day that goes by that I don't question whether I'm completely failing at my particular parenting gig. In fact, most days, the answer to that question is a resounding "Yeah, probably."
Parents, no matter what their sexual orientation, have a very unique combination of competitiveness and insecurity that make them a ball of conflicting emotions, "My child is beautiful and smart and talented and -- oh my God, did he just bite that other kid?! He's going to be a sociopath! Where did I go wrong?!"
This competitiveness and insecurity can be even more heightened among gay parents, because there are so many people and organizations in the world who regularly proclaim LGBT families to be less than (and that is one of the gentler ways of phrasing their proclamations). The natural reaction to that hatred is our own proclamations that we are PERFECT! Our kids are PERFECT! Our family's PERFECTION puts your straight mediocrity to shame!
Gay-friendly comedian Kathy Griffin had a joke in her act awhile back about how lesbians are the worst when it comes to their kids, "This is our daughter Hannah, she's two days old, she's gifted. She's been tested, she's in the gifted program."
But here's the thing. My children have two mommies who love them more than anything on the planet. They have a nice house, are being raised in a good school district and have a group of family and friends who adore them. But I seriously doubt they are gifted. And I seriously doubt that they are actually going to grow up to be "healthier and less argumentative" than the kids they know who have straight parents. But all that is OK.
Our house is not perfect, and that's OK too. Sometimes, we work too much when we should be spending time with our kids. We allow way too much TV to be watched and way too many french fries to be consumed. Even though there are two moms, neither one has really fully embraced their domesticated side (mostly because neither one really has a domesticated side). And sometimes, even though I'm not supposed to admit it, my heart aches that my kids won't grow up with a dad.
Does that make my family a target for all of those who already assume it is less than because it has two moms? Maybe. But more than that, I think it makes my family real. And I think real will get us further in our efforts to be considered "normal" than our proclamations of perfection. We are imperfect, just like every other family on the planet, and we need to be OK with that. No matter how competitive or insecure we are.
Parenting is a great equalizer. No matter our race, gender, job or sexual orientation, all parents have shared a universal experience. If we concentrate more on what we all have in common instead of trying to convince each other of our superiority, we can skip the competition and head straight to the friendly post-game beer.
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