My mother-in-law asked my partner and me what we would be doing on Mother’s Day. Our answer: the same thing we do every day. We’ll be mothering on Mother’s Day.
Our five-year-old daughter and almost-three-year-old twin sons are too young to fully appreciate what Mother’s Day means; we have no expectations of gifts, Hallmark cards, flowers, or even their best behavior.
My partner and I don’t buy things for each other, and we don’t celebrate one mama on Mother’s Day and then the other on Father’s Day. We believe Father’s Day should be reserved for dads.
We share the second Sunday of every May with each other and all of the other women wiping their brows after a long day of someone calling them mom.
However, our daughter has been not-so-secretly working hard all week to prepare for the Mother’s Day breakfast her preschool is hosting. That will be where the celebration happens.
Our daughter will shower us with the surprises she has made, parade us around her classroom,
We began planning for our first child two years before she was born. Drafting legal paperwork, researching sperm banks, saving the money to purchase sperm from said cryobanks, and then the actual process of my partner receiving fertility clinic-assisted intrauterine inseminations in order to get pregnant took time. But all of this effort and waiting made holding my daughter for the first time that much sweeter. Parenthood felt good on us, so we went through the process again and welcomed twin boys into our family the second time around. Twins. Three kids. It was and still is more than we bargained for.
I recently had the opportunity to talk to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals and couples who are in their own stages of family planning. They were looking for legal advice, tips about second parent adoption, options for surrogacy, and testimonies from people who have adopted children through the foster care system. I reminded them that it takes planning and then more planning when the first plans don’t work out.
But the best advice I thought I could give, even at the risk of scaring them, was to tell them to be prepared to have motherhood and fatherhood be amazing, but really hard.
I love being a mom. It is the most humbling and rewarding thing I have ever done. But it takes a toll on your relationship, your friendships, and yourself. With the added layer of identifying as LGBTQ, being a parent will break your heart in both the best and worst ways possible. Our country has shown signs of improvement, but there is still so much hatred toward and ignorance about LGBTQ families that it makes me doubt that the love I have for my partner and our children will ever be universally understand or accepted as just love.
Having kids has only strengthened our resolve to be honest and open.
My partner and I live as openly as possible. We have not shied away from our sexuality or from the way our family was made. We haven’t made a production out of our lives (our kids make everything we do a production, though that’s another story) but we live as out and proud as our straight neighbors and friends.
Having kids has strengthened our resolve to be honest and open. Skirting the truth or avoiding situations will only make our kids feel like there is something to be ashamed of for having two moms. And there absolutely is not.
That point will be validated on Friday when I sit down for my special Mother’s Day breakfast prepared by five year olds. My daughter, and her two brothers who will be there too, will only feel happiness not in spite of, but because she has two moms who love her so, so much.
It is not within my young kids’ ability to fully comprehend how much we love them and how many sacrifices we make for their happiness, how much thinking we do about protecting them from unkindness, knowing full well we can’t. The truth is that they will never really know the depth of our love or understand the selflessness of parenthood until they have kids of their own. While we would welcome a Mother’s Day of pampering and being spoiled by our children who only show gratitude and self-sufficiency, it’s not going to happen. Not this year.
But we will watch our daughter mingle with her classmates as we mingle with the other mothers in the room, and we will feel safe and supported. And when we wake up on Sunday, on Mother’s Day, we will feel loved. Just like every other day, within the tantrums, uneaten dinners, middle-of-the-night wakeup calls, giggles, tiny arms squeezing us with hugs, and unprompted manners, we will feel the depth of their love for us. And that is all we have ever wanted.