Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Domestic Enemies of the Gay Mom

This installment of the Domestic Enemies comes from our friend Dana. Here's a little about her:

I live in non-marital bliss with my partner of eight really, really long years. We have two super loud, messy and awesome kids, DD age 6, and DS age 2. And, because everyone asks, they call me Mommy and my partner Momma, and no they don’t get confused, and yes they WILL correct you if you call us the wrong name. I am the work outside the home mom, and my partner is the stay at home/home schoolin’ mom (yeah it’s pretty rock star). We’re Midwestern transplants living so far south in a southern state that we have to drive north to find rednecks. We’re former foster parents and we hope to get back to doing that again, because it’s our dream to have enough kids to fill up that Dodge Sprinter van we’ve always wanted.

And now we present, the Domestic Enemies of the Gay Mom(s):

Who’s Yer daddy?
There’s an amazing amount of shameless busybodies who, once they realize that my partner and I are both called Mom by our children, immediately begin questioning HOW our children were conceived (none of their business), and WHO the participants were (really none of their business). [See also: Which one of you is the mom? No, I mean which one of you is the REAL mom? Which one of you HAD the baby??] And then there’s the Daddy questions. “Who is he?” they ask with one eyebrow raised, while scrutinizing the kids’ faces 'cause maybe they recognize that nose from somewhere.

[Editor's Note: Can we establish for the record that its not good manners to suggest that someone's child isn't really their kid or to start getting up in somebody's junk about if/why/did fertility treatment play a role? - xo, Lydia & Kate] 

When our daughter was a baby we had fun with these questions (and when we were foster parents of babies of different races we really had fun with them). But there comes a time when our little big-eared darlings don’t need to hear me tell the IHOP waitress that we had the tests done, but we’re waiting for our Maury Povich taping next week to hear the results.

So please, don’t make me pull out that line again until all of the children are at least 12 and I can enjoy the inevitable mortification it would cause, because I am already forced to have the weekly awkward conversation where I interpret whatever strange story Dear Daughter has decided to divulge during Sunday School without adding THAT to the mix.

Das Authorityski
If you’ve ever had your authority as a parent questioned by anyone, it is an express train ride to The Rage. And if your kids are present when it happens, it’s kicked up a few notches to Hungry Mama Bear on a Bad Spring Day. 
But it is a common occurrence for at least one half of our parenting team. Only one of us is allowed to be listed on the birth certificate because it would cause some pin-headed bureaucrat's head to explode if we crossed out Father and put Parent on the form (see Forms below). Which leaves one of us with all of the parental legal authority as a 15 year old babysitter, but with less pay.

Enter here our well paid and friendly attorney, who drafts reams of legal documents that no one understands (not even me, and I’m an attorney), giving the Non-Legal Parent "approximate parental rights". This is all fine and good, but those rights only exist on paper and our diaper bag does not have a waterproof compartment large enough to carry the equivalent of Shakespeare’s complete works unabridged.

The TSA is awesome. Everyone knows that.
This dramatic reenactment is based on actual events: Non-Legal Parent takes both children alone on an airplane.  Our supersized 15 month old, who she is cleverly trying to pass off as an under 2 year old lap passenger, raises the suspicion of ticketing agent who asks to see proof of his age (Whuck??). So Non-Legal Parent, having left our toddler’s state issued picture ID at home, pulls out The Papers and points to section IX(A)(iii), which lists said toddler's birthdate, or most of it at least; the other part being half-obscured by a peanut butter smudge. What? He was born on the 17th of Jif. You got a problem with that?

The ticketing agent stands up straighter and with glee in her eye says ”Oh, so you’re not really his parent?” Minutes later Non-Legal Parent is given a matching pair of pretty silver bracelets and taken into a secluded backroom for some some 'enhanced' questioning about her attempts to take a minor across state lines. (Okay, that last sentence isn’t true, but try talking yourself out of that situation in a way that doesn’t make you sound like a bungling kidnapper).

The Freaking Forms
I touched on this a bit in the prior section, but every mother-lovin' form in existence helpfully has information lines for a Mother and a Father, and Maude help you if you cross out the words that were  printed on the page and insert a generic Parent #1 and Parent #2.

Want to have fun the next time you are filling out papers at a new doctor’s office/school/hospital/job? Where it says Marital Status and has boxes for Married, Widowed, Divorced, Never Married ... draw your own box at the bottom and write None of the Above. See how that works out for you.

Or, failing that, just put a big smear of peanut butter across that part. Marital Status? We're just Skippy, thanks...

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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