Since fighting to be included in the heteronormative model of marriage and then being steamrolled by the heteronormative model of divorce, I've been fighting these systems from the perspective of the "other" mother.
This a story of a mother with two mothers who is raising children with another mother and an ex-partner mother. That's a heck of a lot of mothers! Combine these admittedly confusing family dynamics with the start of the school year and you've got a situation that's complicated at best.
Many of us are "different" in one way or another, yet we often tell the stories and put forth the selves that will receive social privilege. I wish we did less of that. Be brave. Be bold. Be yourself. That's how we each come to remember that human diversity is really pretty wonderful.
This question is difficult, because it is both personal and political. This feels to me like the sophisticated version of the needling question "but which one is your real mom?" except of course this question, about who gets to be called "Mommy," is more legitimate.
I have taken my children to playdates only to witness the palpable, growing disappointment of the other parents when they realize that we are not, in fact, the Harris-Burtka family. (How sweetly their names hyphenate. Now try hyphenating Vigorito-Horowitz with a straight face.)
I'm not the first or only guy to be a dad. Or a single dad. Or even a single gay dad. I don't think there's that many of us, but I'm not one of a kind. Nevertheless, I am different from almost everyone I'm close with, including the gay couples I know with children.
I tip my wilted hat to the women who keep a spotless house in the face of a full day of work at the office and more than one small child in the home. I would like to sit at their feet and beg them to teach me the secret of their super human abilities.
After the "M" bomb went off, a barrage of questions entered my already crowded brain, questions I'm sure many gay dads have pondered: How are we going to explain our unique family to our daughter? How do we explain the concept of having a biological mother who is not actually her parent?
I cannot tell you how many times in any given week I end up stuck between a grownup concept and a kid who wants an explanation that he can understand. How do you explain the difference between family love and romantic love to a kindergartener?
Many of the states with the highest percentages of same-sex couples raising children are those with the most anti-gay laws. Thus, lesbian and gay parents living in these areas encounter legal obstacles in building and protecting their families, which contributes to a sense of legal vulnerability.
My mother may continue to cringe at the word "queer," but I invite you to consider the idea that queerness can be a pretty good thing. In the broad sense of the word, every person who has ever gone against social norms and values in order to improve them is queer.