I recently overheard a small plastic pterodactyl tell a smaller plastic baby pterodactyl, “I can’t play right now, I have to work.”
My daughter has two moms. I guess that’s weird, but I feel so normal most of the time I have a hard time remembering I’m “untraditional.” From my perspective, just being married is about the most traditional thing I’ve done, to a man or woman, and we’re going on 11 years (5 married). I sometimes wonder if I’m a poor spokeswoman for the LGBTQ community. Would they want me saying everything’s great 94.6% of the time and most people I meet accept my family, love my wife, and care about my daughter? Is being in a same sex marriage supposed to be suppressing and impossible? I’m never sure how to play it. Am I damaging the cause if it looks too easy? Or am I creating a new paradigm that says couples and families of all kinds can truly live happily amongst heterosexual civilization? These are questions I ask myself anytime I start a sentence with, “My wife…”
"I sometimes wonder if I’m a poor spokeswoman for the LGBTQ community. Would they want me saying everything’s great and 99.9% of people I meet accept my family, love my wife, and care about my daughter? Is being in a same sex marriage supposed to be suppressing and impossible? I’m never sure how to play it."
My wife and I met in high school. A few years later, she came out to me over AOL Instant Messenger (I’ll reserve my embarrassing screen name for another confession). I think I typed back something like, “Ok, yeah, no problem,” and then we met up for a McFlurry and never discussed it again. Nothing about our dynamic changed, except that now I understood a little more about why she wore that rainbow sweatband. We were still just friends, and I was definitely not as far along in my sexual awareness, but the idea seemed about as normal to me as my hunger for ice cream.
When I came out, it was because she and I decided to date. I’d spent all my years prior to that moment dating guys and saying about my now wife, “If she was a man, she’d be the perfect person.” Turns out, I didn’t need her to be a man, I just needed to realize I was already in love with her.
I live in a community of very few same sex parents (at present I don't know another pair) and over the years there have been multiple moments when I’ve met hetero parents and wondered if I fit their view of a “mom-friend.” At kids' birthday parties there’s always a split second when my wife and I silently deliberate over whose conversations we’re meant to join once the men and women split the room. The mom's usually begin with… “So, do you work?”
After many of these interactions (and my own time spent away out of the workforce asking such curiosities) I’ve learned this question isn't really about anyone's career. In fact, if my answer is anything but “no,” it will be forgotten as soon as it’s said. This is a question –– about shame. What moms are really asking is, “I feel like a big slouch for not getting paid to raise my kids and clean skid marks off the toilet. You?”
“I feel like a big slouch for not getting paid to raise my kids and clean skid marks off the toilet. You?”
In 2021 I left my 7-year career in corporate America to become a stay-at-home-mom. It started out ethereal. No Zoom. No performance reviews. No expenses. I lavished in laundry, dreamed over dishes, and proclaimed my love for my new life with a surprisingly sincere smile while serving my wife homemade lunch. By week two she was eating take-out, and after six months I put in a request to be transferred to a different department.
Today, my wife continues to run a successful sales organization and make her own lunch, and I'm an Airbnb Host and Freelance Writer. We're oddly similar to mommy pterodactyl, whose curious words have had their claws in my confidence ever since I eves dropped on playtime. Am I working too much now? I need to be more playful. Am I ignoring her? I’m totally failing. Wait, is she talking about me or her other mommy? Some child-psychologist would eat this Dino-shit up.
Both of my parents are hairdressers. If mommy pterodactyl was talking to baby pterodactyl in my parent’s salon in 1998 she would have squawked, “I’m almost done, I just need to finish a blow dry.” As a kid, an afternoon waiting for my Dad to finish work meant at least 30 minutes warming my head under the dome-like hairdryer while digesting People, Vanity Fair, Cosmo, and Marie Claire until he unsnapped the cape around his client’s neck, shook the fresh cut hair onto the salon floor, stuffed a wad of cash and checks into his jean pockets and asked, “Hey Pumpkin’, can you sweep?”
My daughter’s bathtub is full of dinosaurs. Some like to roar, some like to swim, some escape the water and end up banging their plastic heads against my tinted car windows while I answer an email in the school parking lot. I squawk, “No banging please. I have to do some quick work, then we can drive home.” Looking around I notice other moms in driver’s seats, heads down, thumbs typing. Maybe they’re working. Maybe they’re giving their corporate career its notice. Maybe they're ordering take out. Maybe they’re planning a dinosaur birthday party so all the bigger pterodactyls can split the room after 10 minutes, reminding the lesbian pterodactyls there’s still that 5.4% that makes dusting off our rainbow sweatbands worth marching for.