Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can be a little complicated in same sex parent households. Here, our contributors talk a little bit about what the holiday means to them – the good, the bad, and everything in between.
This Sunday, in addition to honoring our own moms, my partner and I will be toasting to each other, our love for our daughter, and our journey to and through motherhood thus far. Being a mom is an amazing feat and is worthy of celebration every day, but especially on Mother’s day. The question that gnaws at me however, is whether our daughter is extra lucky because she gets to celebrate two moms on this one day or if each parent deserves to have her own “day” as is done by heterosexual couples. Why my partner and I should have to share Mother’s day while Father’s day goes uncelebrated? That said, we also don’t want to conform to stereotypes or put ourselves in the type of “butch/femme” relationship required to declare my partner the one who is honored on Father’s day and myself on Mother’s day or vice versa. But then what do we do on Father’s day?
My daughter is only fourteen months old and I’m already feeling the anxiety over how she will be treated in school when she isn’t making a card for her dad like all the other kids. Will she opt out of the activity? Will she make a card for an uncle or grandfather instead? (And does the latter insinuate that Father’s day is actually about honoring any related male rather than celebrating a parent?) Maybe she’ll make both of her moms cards on both Mother’s and Father’s days? I don’t know. Perhaps by the time she is in school these antiquated concepts will no longer be an issue. With the growing number of children raised in non-traditional families, whether it be by one parent, gay parents, grandparents or anyone else, I hope that all children will be encouraged to celebrate whomever they want on any day that they want. As for our family? And when our daughter gets older, we plan to ask her how she would like to commemorate these holidays in our home. For now, we’ll just take any excuse to celebrate our family!
- Jen, Mother to Ava, 1
Motherhood is helping to define me. There are so many pieces that help define an individual. For me those things included my family, my career, my hobbies/races, being gay. I didn’t know it at the time, but all of those pieces didn’t make a whole.
After Phoenix and Dashel were born, life and all of these defining points that made me who I am, had a purpose. Every decision, every win, every fail, everything was surrounded with a bigger purpose because of them.
Their presence continues to help define who I am and who I’ll be. To me, being a mom, their mom means that I have a been given a great gift and a great responsibility. I get to live the rest of my life, see many successes and failures, all with a guidepost to be the best example for them in everything I do.
- Diana, Mother to 3-year-old twins Phoenix and Dashel
So here comes another Mother’s Day. The second since our son was born onto this Earth. The second time that the month of May has made me pause and reflect on what having one, or in our son’s case, not having one really and deeply means. All the year long my husband and I father and mother seamlessly. without thought, without question and with a most glorious ease and grace. We glide between the worlds of masculine and feminine, between being firm and authoritative to being gentle and completely sublime. Our son sees everything in us, he receives everything from us. He is the heir to what was inherited from our very own mothers and fathers and grandmothers and grandfathers. He is the prince to a kingdom that at times was ruled by the loving hands of it’s goddesses and at other times oppressed by the gods that would control. He gets it all from us, from them, from our ancestors and from our beliefs and from the very blood that flows through our veins. So why is it so that this one single tiny little day per year makes this dad wonder if that is enough? Damned if I know. Check back with me again next May…I might have sorted it out by then.
- Henry, Father to Ben, 2
After claiming Fathers Day and reinventing it for my family (Mama’s Day), Mothers Day is a day for the boys and I to celebrate my wife. In the three years that we’ve celebrated these holidays as parents, they’ve come to be days in which we both marvel at our outrageous fortune. Guiding these boys through life may be back breaking work, but we’re deeply privileged to do it.
Liz (aka Sir Mixalot): It’s our last mother’s day before being actual mothers, slash, I almost kind of feel like a mother a little bit.
Katie: Should we do something to commemorate?
Liz: Cupcakes? Or would you want to walk with me to McDonald’s?
Katie: Let’s take a family picture. [Several attempts are made at taking a family picture.] One more.
Liz: I’m hungry. Smile like a normal person.
Over the past few years I’ve made myself a little Mothers Day tradition, which is to listen to “Dear Mama” by 2Pac:
What can I say? My mother was not a Black Panther and she has never been in prison, but this song makes me feel emotions. I’m not sorry.
Being a non-gestational mom-to-be has given me a chance to recognize all the ways that I have until now equated being a mother with being the one who was pregnant, the one who gave birth, the one who is a woman. But I have never thought of my future parental self as anything but a mom, and so now I’m starting to think of moms and dads as simply having different flavors, like quarks. So next year on Mothers Day, we’ll celebrate both of us. And, hopefully, remember to call our mothers.
- Katie, soon-to-be mother and wife to Liz
When my partner and I got married, we changed our last names. We chose my mother’s given name, Archer, as a symbol of our burgeoning matriarchy. When Mother’s Day rolls around, I am reminded of this and it makes me feel closer to the history of my family. On my mother’s side, my great-grand mothers were fierce. One died young after giving birth to 7 or 8 kids. The other was practically a single mother even before her husband died, raising her many children among the loggers she cooked for in the mountains of southern New Mexico. My grandmother on the same side was equally as fierce. We didn’t get along until I was about 16. After then, I was mostly in awe of her limitless energy. Well into her eighties, she would show off her bulging biceps, grown in childhood when she played baseball with the boys. My own mother has always been my biggest cheerleader, even when I didn’t deserve it. On Mother’s Day, I remember the women whose shoulders have carried me.
I am not big on holidays, especially manufactured holidays like Mother’s Day. You would think that with two mothers in the house we might do it up. But really, we will try to get on top of the laundry, maybe clean the bathroom, take naps and go for a long family walk. I will think about all the mothers who came before me and be grateful for all that I have learned from their memories.
- Betsy, Mother to a 2-year-old son
I’m just about to round the bend on my third year as a mother on this Mother’s Day. Reflecting on what Mother’s Day means to me, feels less about the fact that we’re a family with two mamas at the helm and more to do with whom each of us are as people. I am a planner. I am the alpha male in our estrogen-dominated household. I plan everything from all our meals for the week to making arrangements for our dates to solidifying plans with joint friends of ours. So when Mother’s Day rolls around, who do you think is going to talk to our three-year-old daughter about what to do to ring in the occasion? C’mon, the writing is on the wall. I say this in both jest and total seriousness. I probably sound like a wildly controlling spouse and my dear sweetie an absentee partner… but it’s not like that at all. We’re ok with this arrangement. My spouse rises to the occasion with plenty of things (ahem, who “snaked” the bathroom sink drain when it was clogged to the point of no return from my curly, long hair? Don’t look at this femme lady…). I really do make an effort to ask for my spouse’s input (she just often doesn’t have a strong opinion and is much more flexible than me). So yes, it’s true, I will probably be the one sneaking out the construction paper and glue stick with my daughter this weekend to whip up a festooned card in all it’s scribbled toddler glory… I’ve already planned to clean my spouse’s car from top to bottom Sunday afternoon. Maybe I’ll get some flowers out of the deal. I might even get a homemade card of my own. But either way, I’ve already planned that we’re all taking ourselves out to breakfast.
- Charlotte, Mother to 3-year-old daughter
Mothers’ Day seems a bit surreal. We brought our daughter home just three months ago and on most days, my role as mother still seems so new. Every inch of me feels like a mother, but having a specific day set aside to celebrate it seems unnatural. Every moment that I look into my daughter’s eyes and see her looking back at me feels like a celebration. Every time she is crying and I am able to comfort her seems like a celebration to me. And every time I do something that makes her laugh, it seems like a celebration to me. These are the true celebrations for us. Being a part of a team of two moms is the most wonderful thing that I have ever been a part of and I could not be more proud of our family. But for us, the celebration is in the little moments.
- Jess, Mother to Millie, 4-months-old
We’re a two-mom family with twin daughters. It’s our 2nd Mother’s Day this year! For us it’s not about buying each other cards or presents but a special day to celebrate our family. And just appreciate the fact that two little girls call us “mom.”
- Shannan, Mother to 2-year-old twins Sara and Olivia
We started a tradition this year of having a Mother’s Day weekend. Each of us gets a day that is ours. This year, I can do whatever I’d like on Saturday and my wife is the mom of the year on Sunday.
My Mother’s Day gift was an adventure by water taxi to an art fair. We surveyed the art and people with our toddler in tow. For Sunday we are planning to go to brunch and a shopping trip. I’ve never felt so lucky and we are so grateful for the ability to have a family like ours.
Today my wife is 26 weeks pregnant, and I could not be more in love with the family we have created together and am looking forward to celebrating next year with our growing family.
- Michelle, Mother to 20-month-old Violet
This is our second Mother’s Day as moms. Last year felt particularly significant because we were celebrating all of the hard work that it took for us to become a family and to bring our sweet daughter into the world. This year, we’re just happy to be together as a family and to spend the weekend relaxing. We’re expecting our second child at the end of the summer. I anticipate both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day becoming more complex as they grow older, and we’ll just have to figure out how to navigate that when the time comes. For now, we are happy to take one weekend out of the year to really appreciate being moms.
- Hannah, Mother to 20-month-old Violet