This world. This place. This life.

Only one mama at our house


This post is a gentle message to my wonderfully supportive, wildly progressive friends.

two parentsThose of you who hang out on the right side of the spectrum are welcome to listen, too, but this is primarily for those who support gay parenting, and who need an update about its complexity.

Some of you lefties have talked about how lucky our daughter will be to have two mothers.*

But here’s the thing—she won’t.

She’ll have a mama—me.

And she’ll have a parent—Liesl.

Many people think about gay parenting through the lens of the classic Heather Has Two Mommies. That’s understandable. It makes things simple: some kids have a mom and a dad, some kids have two moms, some kids have two dads.

But when was life ever simple?

Gay parenting offers straight parents an escape from the idea that there’s only one way to parent. Since it’s such a radical departure from Stepford parenting, it encourages others to join the ranks of offbeat parents.

For me, the heart of parenting is this: give your kids abundant love and reasonable limits. Everything else is a blank canvas, waiting for the creative interchange of parent(s) and child.

I’ll be Mama, Mommy, Mom to our daughter. I love all the nurturing, Earth Mama associations of those words. It’s who I am, and not only in relationship to our child.

But that’s not true for Liesl. We’re still thinking about what we’ll encourage our daughter to call her (recognizing that children choose their own nomenclature!).

In the meantime, how should you refer to Liesl? Parent is a good word. Use that.

Our daughter will have two parents—one mama, and one TBD.

*If you’ve said something like this—no worries. It’s the kind of thing you wouldn’t know unless we said something, or you asked. Really, we’re delighted and grateful that so many of you are happy for us.

Photo by Jeanne Devon.

7 thoughts on “Only one mama at our house

  1. I would know. Good writing.

  2. Thank you for the post! This is good to ponder… There are many different “names” to call a parent, but it’s the love and nurturing they offer that is really the important part.

  3. I love the idea of a “TBD” term or just “parent”. It’s not the same thing at all, but my husband and I are both children of remarried parents, and to avoid the confusion of so many “grandmas” and “grandpas” we invited them all to choose what they wanted to be called. They came up with interesting and unique terms.

  4. Wow! Thanks for the revelation! Never thought about it that deeply before.

  5. Do you know Lesbian Dad’s essay on how she came to be Baba?

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