Tuesday, February 15, 2011


On being a lesbian mom in a straight mommy group.

Now, it's not a straight mommy group by design, more by default. There's one other lesbian couple, but they both work, so we weren't not usually at the same get togethers. Also, there is a gay parents' group, but it's just a little too far, and they don't get together nearly as often. The straight moms are really nice and active. One of the leaders of the group is a friend of mine and Nerdstar's. And there have been a few events that both of us could attend, so there's a sub-group of the group that has met us both.

But, there are things I wonder about.

Not having a rainbow tattooed on my forehead, there's no way for them to know I'm a lesbian mom when they first meet me. Well, there's my profile on the website, but who reads those? So there will always be some sort of "coming out" involved. And that's ok with me - that's how gay life goes. But I'm sure it's not something they're necessarily expecting to come across in a moms' group.

So, one thing - is it fair that since we're both moms, we can both go to the events? Yes, this group has events where spouses/partners are welcome. But it kinda feels like cheating. (Like in high school when I had my first g/f and before everyone knew what we were up to and we could spend the night together - whereas no one gets to spend the night with their boyfriend.)

Another thing is when they talk - good and bad - about their husbands. It's not that I can't or don't talk about Nerdstar, but well, husbands are different. And while she can be an awfully lot like a man sometimes, I don't have a lot of the same issues they do. She's still a mom - not a dad.

Then there are the pregnancy/childbirth stories. No, I wasn't the one pregnant or giving birth - but I was very affected by the pregnancy and involved in the birth. I just wonder how they view it. (I'm not close enough to any of them to ask.)

Anyway. I'm really enjoying getting to know these moms. I'm just aware of being "one of these things is not like the others" sometimes.


Anonymous said...

Beth, I need the answers to all of these questions. Please, please, please figure it out and then write all about it :) While we don't have a parenting group, we're facing some of the same issues at swim lessons. though we haven't officially come out to anyone, we have laughed with another mother about how nice it is to have two in the locker room to handle RR. Still, I wonder if she thinks we're related or if she really gets it. Okay, that's totally not the same thing you're facing. Report back as you find out!.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think if you did tattoo a rainbow on your forehead, you wouldn't have these questions. Just a thought...

Anonymous said...

Posted by the aforementioned leader of the goup, who is too lazy to log in and display ID.

Beth said...

I don't really understand your comment, because being about as out as I can be in the group hasn't help answer the questions at all.

Anonymous said...

Uh, I don't think my commment merits much analysis. I just thought your line was funny. Sorry if it made you feel bad!

Beth said...

It didn't make me feel bad. I just didn't find it amusing, or helpful. I wrote an open and honest post, you made a joke.

Anonymous said...

Well, like I said, sorry for taking the wrong tone. I thought you actually WERE trying to be funny. I laughed both at the tattoo line and the high school slumber parties. In the actual group, the only time there are one-parent events are when kids aren't welcome, and most people have one parent stay at home. If you want to get a sitter and both come to a night out, of course you would be welcome.

As for talking about husbands and births, I have nothing helpful to say except that all moms stand out in some things- I often don't fit in with the kind of career I have and I have some perspectives that I often squelch or annoy people with. I would guess your experience to be similar to dads in regards to carrying the baby. There are several single and step parents in the group who probably feel they stand out. There is so much variation among parents, especially these days.

From my point of view, the group is richer for your presence, in a small part because you're gay, and in a much larger part because you're Beth (do you use an alias, here?). Among 40 families or whatever, I think most can only hope for a few deeper and more comfortable friendships.

Beth said...

Thank you!

I still feel being a gay parent is different than single parents and such. Northern Virginia isn't the most conservative of places, but we never know when someone really opposed to gay parents will pop up. And I just figure most moms in this area aren't necessarily expecting a gay mom to be in their group, and some might find it a little weird.

Really, I'm not so worried about the obviously offended people - I'd feel pretty ok about telling them to shove it if they were rude to me/us. I do sometimes worry about the people who would just feel a little weird about it, but probably wouldn't say anything.

These are just the things I wonder about sometimes.

Sarah said...

I have to say, there are times when my husband does something less-than-helpful and I muse, "Wouldn't it be nice if C had two mommies like Noah..." Heh. I do often wonder how your parenting life differs from the mom/dad dynamic. Usually I think you're luckier :)

Beth said...

Sometimes I don't think it's all that different. Parenting seems to be about teamwork, and managed expectations, and communication.

Ching and I have worked out pretty well who does what and when. Even though she works all day and has to sit in traffic too much, she's great about getting up with him when he wakes up early, and puts him to bed and washes his bottles every night. We're pretty good at sharing dinner chores and cooking together. We both do bath time with him.

I know she misses him and I love that they get to spend some time together either before or after work. I also love that that time allows me some down time.

Are there husbands out there who don't do as much? Probably. But I know there are great dads out there. There are probably two moms who aren't so great either.

Unknown said...

I was thinking about this again today, because it actually bugs me quite a bit when I put up a BBQ or offer to host something for the whole families and a bunch of moms come by themselves. I've been trying to write my event announcement so that it's clear that I do not want moms to come alone, and every way I think to say it, it sounds like it doesn't include you two. But it's interesting, because the reason I don't want moms is because moms by themsleves turn the conversation a certain way and it's hard to lift it out of that mommy to mommy rut. Which is less true when there is a partner there, male or female. The dynamics are way different for a whole family. But I can't say "don't show up alone" so I have to say things that sound gentler, like "I promised Brian he wouldn't be the only dad" smiley smiley.