Out with Mommy

Archive for the ‘gay mother’ Category

Two nurses in Las Vegas, Nevada, both named Dina, got tired of crossing out pronouns and editing greeting cards for each other, family and friends, so they created Teazled.com, a new online Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender greeting card company for non-traditional families.  The two Dinas, who have been in a loving marriage for seven years and raised four children together, started Teazled to offer LGBT families cards that represent their families and life milestones.

   “Dina and I started Teazled because we felt a void looking for a greeting card to express our feelings during life’s special occasions, only to have to edit the available selection,” said Dina Proto, cofounder of Teazled. “We understand non-traditional families share the same traditional bonds of love and respect. We want the non-traditional family to be able to celebrate those meaningful moments, express their innermost thoughts and communicate with those they cherish.”

Sure, there are other LGBT-oriented greeting card companies, but often the images are R rated.  Teazled showcases tasteful greeting cards for individuals and their families for 25 different occasions, including coming out and commitment ceremonies.  All cards are $3.99 each plus $1 for shipping.  To order, go to www.teazled.com




NEW YORK, N.Y. — Cynthia Nixon has another redhead in her family.

The “Sex and The City” star (who is naturally blond), and her partner, fiancee Christine Marinoni, showed off the first photo of their newborn – Max Ellington Nixon-Marinoni, on Sunday.

Christine, 43, gave birth to Max, last Monday and he has a shock of red hair, just like his biological mom.

Cynthia announced her engagement to Christine in May 2009 while at the Love, Peace and Marriage Equality rally in New York City, saying at the time, she had become engaged the month before.

The couple began dating in 2003, after the star split from husband Danny Mozes, with whom she has two children – Samantha, 15, and Charles, 8.

Cynthia currently stars in Showtime’s “The Big C” alongside Golden Globe winner Laura Linney.





Cynthia Nixon’s fiancee has given birth to their son.

The ‘Sex and the City’ actress and her partner Christine Marinoni, 43, welcomed son Max Ellington Nixon-Marinoni into the world on Monday, their spokesperson has confirmed.

The representative said: “Christine and baby are doing great.”

No further information has been given.

Cynthia, 44, has two children,  Samantha, 14, and eight-year-old Charles, whose father is her former boyfriend Danny Mozes.

 “Maybe I’m just lucky, but I feel like Christine is so amazing with our kids – because they’re our kids.  I feel like falling in love with her is part of being amazed at how she makes our family so much better,”  said Nixon.

Cynthia and Christine started dating in 2004 and announced their engagement in 2009


Julianne Moore who starred with Annette Bening as lesbian couple  rasing children together in “The Kids are Alright” recently talked about same-sex couple parenting skills.

Julianne Moore, a mother of two, commentedin  an interview that same-sex couples may make better parents because their children are planned.

“You know what else is really nice, is if you’re in a same-sex relationship, you can’t have a kid by accident, so these children are planned and loved and wanted, well-educated and well-adjusted — and that’s what you want,” she said.

That’s what we’re all here for, right?”

Last week my partner and I were shopping yesterday at Target in West Hollywood, buying some decorations and favors for a Halloween party we are hosting for the kids in the neighborhood, and we were having a delightful time picking out multi-colored flashlights and jack-o-lantern treat buckets, but the shopping trip turned ugly when my son wanted every bag of candy in the Halloween aisle.

A smart boy, he learned long ago how to Houdini out of the safety straps on shopping carts, so it has become a regular challenge to keep him seated in the cart.  After he stood up in the cart several times, and we firmly told him to sit back down, explained to him that it was dangerous, that the store manager would tell us to leave if he didn’t sit down, yadda, yadda, yadda, we finally warned him that if he stood up in the cart one more time, he would have to go with Mommy to the car and wait.

Always testing, as three year olds do, he stood up.  That was it.  I plucked him from the cart and plopped in on my hip.  “Ok, now we’re going to the car.”

He turned to my partner, whom my son calls “Momma,” for reinforcement.  In solidarity with me, she told him, “No, you have to go to the car with your Mommy, because you didn’t sit in the cart.”

I carried him, kicking and screaming all the way to the elevator to the parking garage.  The whole way he screamed, “Momma, Momma.  I want Momma.”

The other people in the elevator starred as I tried to calm down the desparate child in my arms.  I gently reinforced to him, “Next time if you sit in the cart like a good boy, then we can stay.”

All the way to the car he threw a fit and wailed for “Momma.”‘  Slightly embarrassed, I grimaced at the people trapped in the elevator with me and this squirming, screaming child.  As I crossed the parking lot  two men were following me.  I stopped beside my car and was fumbling to find my keys in my purse when one of the men approached me.  In a quiet but demanding tone, “Can you tell me, where is his mother?”

I realized that he thought I was not this child’s mother, and that he thought I might be kidnapping him.  I took a deep breath.  “I am his mother.  He lives with me and my partner.  He calls her ‘Momma.’  That’s why he was calling for ‘Momma.’ “

Still unconvinced, he stood watching me while my son screamed even louder because a threatening looking stranger was looming over his mom. The man was wearing (no lie) Bermuda shorts, socks and sandals.  He definitely did not look like he was from  our part of town.  Possibly a tourist, maybe from the Midwest.

“I want to make sure nobody is taking him who shouldn’t be,” said the man, his friend stepping in closer.

“I appreciate that,” I said, “But I am his mother.  I gave birth to him.”

Here I was in a parking lot telling way too much information to a total stranger, and I was stunned at the idea that someone could think I was a kidnapper.  After all, I was in West Hollywood, gay central.

I tried to sooth my son with, “It’s’ okay, it’s okay,” as I opened the rear door of my car to put him in the carseat.  The man wasn’t budging.  I supposed I could have asked my son to tell the man who I was, but the way my son was throwing a fit who knows what he might have said.  What could I do?  I had already told the man my life story in 20 seconds.  I focused on loading my son into the car, but with two men staring down his mom — and by now my heart beat racing and me exuding shaky nerves — my son was completely rattled.  He refused to go into the carseat.

I decided it best not to escalate the scene.  “Come sit up front with Mommy, OK?  You can honk the horn.”  Finally, my son heard something he liked.  Saved by the horn.  He quit crying, and we went around to the driver’s side where I sat with him in my lap and shut the door.

“Just one time,” I told him.  He tooted the horn.  The men were still standing behind my car.  Now, because of the horn, other people were looking at us.  On the passenger seat floor I spied the bag of candy that we had just gotten at the Westside Families Halloween party at Plumber Park.  A Tootsie Roll sucker!  Normally the one piece of sticky, sugary candy that he’s normally forbidden. I handed it to him for a guaranteed distraction.  He quickly unwrapped it and stuck it in his mouth.  Peace and quiet.

After about a minute, the men walked away.

I sat in the car with my son not sure what to think.  Part of me was glad that strangers would step up to make sure a child was safe.  it was a like an episode of that hidden-camera show, “What Would You Do?” where actors play out some sort of unfair or dangerous social situation to see if passersby will intervene.  Then again, the incident was a reminder of the assumptions some people make and their ignorance about alternative family structures.

In the end, I decided I was glad that the men had approached me.  If someone really had been abducting my son, then I’m glad someone risked their own comfort to approach a stranger to find out what was really happening.  Also, the confrontation gave me the opportunity to educate the men about another family formation.  So maybe next time they see two women with a child they will consider that the women might not be sisters, friends or co-workers but partners.

All in all, a happy ending.


Nosey Nellies are always asking lesbian moms inappropriate questions, like “Who’s the real mom?”   While we may be tempted to say something snarky and sassy back, Steven Petrow, the author of the forthcoming book, “Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners” (gaymanners.com), says polite, direct and even humorous replies will get us further when these gay gaffs occur.

“Silence is an option, but the truth is that a reply of some kind is hard to avoid,” says Petrow. “Good manners often demand that you rise above the occasion—and the intrusion—and treat the questioner with respect, trying to curb any irritation you may be feeling.”

Steven Petrow, author of the forthcoming book "Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners"

Petrow gives the following guidelines for responding to the three most-often asked questions of lesbian moms.

Q:  “Who’s the real mom?”

A:  What this person is trying to find out, is, who between the two women parenting your kid was the one to give birth. Feel free to reply, “We’re both her moms,” even if that results in a puzzled look. Repeat as necessary, but gently. Some straight people still don’t get the idea that Heather can have two mommies, so it falls on us to educate them along the way.

While it’s true that the law in many place does not consider the “other” mom or dad as a legal guardian, polite manners doesn’t make such distinctions because blood ties don’t make one of you more of a parent than the other.

Of course, being the mother in a lesbian couple who hasn’t actually given birth to your child may make you the lightning rod for questions about the legitimacy of your role in your family—sometimes even in the eyes of other LGBT folks. Dealing with such attitudes in your community, school or workplace can be a major source of discomfort if not handled directly and consistently by both parents. One especially challenging situation is in-laws who don’t think of you as their grandchild’s other parent but rather the girlfriend their daughter happens to live with.

Q:  “Who was the sperm donor?”

A:  This is another personal and quite irrelevant piece of information that you may or may not decide to provide information about. Assuming you even used a sperm donor, as opposed to adopting, you can simply say, “We’d prefer to keep that private for now—that information really belongs to our child. We’ll wait until he’s older and tell him what he needs to know.” Another favorite nosy question along the same lines is, “Do you know if the donor has other kids out there?” to which you can say, “The process was really quite thorough, and we have all the information we need, thanks.”

Of course, an outsider’s overzealous interest in a sperm donor’s identity could signal anything from simple nervousness or curiosity to disapproval of your family. Instead of jumping to conclusions about that—if you generally don’t know which it is—one strategy is to simply make a point of reemphasizing your family makeup, at every opportunity. Be extra-clear by using phrases like “our family” or “our kids” with friends and strangers alike.

Q:  “Who is the father?”

A:  This is asked of moms with babies and pregnant women alike. But it is perhaps especially annoying when addressed to a pregnant women because it reflects so starkly the naïve assumption that all pregnant women are straight.

Of course, pregnant women of all orientations have long borne various invasions of their privacy, and neither you nor I am about to change any of that. But it is inappropriate behavior.

Whatever answer you come up with to this question, remember that you can’t change people’s preconceived notions overnight. But there nothing wrong with saying, “I’m sorry, that’s my business,” or joking, “Are you saying I’m fat?” even though it’s a non sequitur. If you want, try a more genuine explanation, such as “I used a sperm bank and, by the way, I’m a lesbian.” Your questioner might think twice the next time before asking another pregnant woman the same question. And you would have done your duty for the day in coming out to someone new.

Check out these and other guidelines to handling just about every queery that comes up in our lives  and subscribe to the “Queeries” newsletter at www.gaymammers.com.

A couple of years ago one of the major mommy magazines ran a short feature on Cat Cora with nary a mention of her partner or the fact she was raising her children in a two-mom household, but Working Mother was anything but mum about the topic in their recent cover story on the out and proud lesbian and only female Iron Chef on Food Network’s Iron Chef of America.

The article featured a family photo of Cat, her partner Jennifer and their four boys.  In a Q&A format the story covers everything from Cat’s coming out to her IVF adventures with Jennifer and their arrangement of having each other’s eggs transferred into the other mother so that they gave birth to each other’s biological children, except for the one boy who they don’t know who is bio mom because they mixed their eggs.

Thanks Working Mother for coming out with such a wonderful, honest and inspiring story of an accomplished working mom who happens to be gay.

Posted on: September 10, 2010

Saw this post on Mombian which is several months old but timeless!  Ok, so my partner and I are not on the list, but we feel pretty powerful each time we say no to chocolate ice cream at 8 o’clock at night.

Mombian Blog Archive  The Most Powerful Lesbian Moms in America.


Posted on: August 7, 2010

The Land’s End Inn – a view of the front garden overlooking the beach below

We’re in Provincetown, finally!  I will have to write retrospectively about our wonderful Boston excursion, but for now, we are enjoying a lavish continental breakfast at the Lands End Inn, a beautiful B&B at the western tip of the peninsula.

The not-just-juice-and-danishes truly continental breakfast at Land’s End

Hosts Michael and Mike (they like to keep it simple) are terrifically hospitable.  Michael met us at the dock yesterday after our harrowing trip in via ferry in rough seas.  What started out as a smooth ride turned bumpy and in fact turned Stephen’s stomach.  Poor child spent the second half of the two-hour trip with his head in a popcorn bucket losing his lunch.

Motion sickness abated as soon as we hit land, and we were off for a tour of Commercial Street in Michael’s Prius.  We cut through the street dodging the tourists who were flooding into the roadway from the crowded sidewalks.  Due to the windy weather it was not a beach day, so all the town’s visitors literally took to the streets.

After quickly unpacking we headed into town to see the sights and get a bite to eat.  We had the great idea to peddle across P-town on rented bikes with a kid trailer, but Mike gave us a reality check when he began to give us pointers on navigating around the cars and people and finding a place to lock up the bikes during peak season.  So we opted to hoof it, which is not an easy option either with a soon-to-be-three year old.  With fits and starts, we finally made it to the center of town, and hot and tired from the hike we let ourselves be led into the nearest restaurant for an early dinner by a man standing outside the establishment beckoning us with the promise of “air-conditioned dining.”

We plopped ourselves down inside Bayside Betsy’s and discovered that even diner-style dining was pretty pricey in P-town, with average entrees running about $20.  Kira ordered Betsy’s Pasta and I got the fish & chips.  For Stephen it was the homemade 8-bean soup.  Kira’s entrée was pretty good, mine was average, though I could have skipped the cold hard fries, and Stephen’s soup was actually the tastiest food we ordered.  We did have a delightful server, Bobby, who clearly hasn’t spent much time with young kids, as he spelled out  his name for Stephen on his paper kid’s place mat,  as if Stephen could read and write.  Bobby cooed and awed over Stephen who won him over by calling out “Thank you Bobby,” each time Bobby brought us something.  Bobby also whipped up some special Hershey’s syrup mix chocolate milk by request, and he even warmed it up, exactly to Stephen’s order!

After some sustenance we wandered back into the street to browse at the hidden treasure chest of Marine Specialties Store (www.ptownarmynavy.com), a surplus store with everything from unique tchatchkes, such as a specially designed dish for holding melted butter and seafood sauce for lobster aficionados, to mass- produced imported-from-China cheapie kid’s toys, including plastic swords and sand buckets.   After milling about town for an hour or so, we dropped by Gallery Voyeur (www.voy-art.com) an art studio at Ptown’s East End, at 444 Commercial Street, owned by lesbian artist  Johniene Papandreas.

Artist Johniene Papandreas working at her studio/gallery

Johniene’s pieces are large, dramatic portraits in which she has excerpts details from classic works, such as the eyes of DaVinci’s Virgin of the Rocks or a pair of voluptuous lips from a visage of Caravaggio’s “The Musicians,” and then renders the features with an emotional energy that she has infused into the moment — or perhaps a moment before or after–  that the original artist captured the subject.

Beloved, a portrait inspired by DaVinci’s Virgin of the Rock

 Johniene likes to work in the gallery where others can watch the creative process at work and talk to her about her vision, hence the “Voyeur” namesake of the studio.


See her at work here:   

Her partner who shares the space paints portraits of animal friends by commission, and so in the window and on the walls hang the furry faces of Lucky Dogs, her collection of canine subjects, from bull dogs and beagles to Dalmatians.

Stephen points out one of the Lucky Dogs

My son took to the coasters featuring some of the artist’s most beloved of the furry faces, especially the golden retriever.

Stephen shows his enthusiasm for the golden retreiver coaster from the Lucky Dogs collection

Onward from the art district, about three miles from our home-away-from-home at Lands End, we began walk back, but Stephen decided he was done with walking, done with riding on our shoulders and done with being carried.  So we sought out the elusive stroller rental in town, to no avail.  We decided that someone in P’town could make a killing renting strollers because NOBODY had them or knew where we could get one.  We even tried the local hardware store where we thought we could buy a wagon in which we could pull our little cranky kid, but the ACME Hardware store was closed up tight at 6:30 pm.  We ran into a trio of women happily pushing along a stroller with a little girl, and we asked them where we could get a stroller too.  They had no idea, but they did have a brilliant idea for getting us back to the Inn with Stephen, who by now was laying on the sidewalk, refusing to budge.  One of the women, tanned with sunstreaked hair, clearly a local, offered that we should hire a pedicab, a bicycle propelled cab, that we could pay “whatever we felt was fair.”

Sandy (far right) and friends Sue and Sam along with Ella (in Stroller) tipped us off on how to get around P’town

Just as we agreed it was a great idea, an empty pedicap approached, and the other women with Sandy instructed us to let Sandy do the talking and negotiate a ride for us, using her cache as a P’town denizen.  Bob, the driver, agreed to take the three of us all the way back to the West End of town AND he agreed to stop and wait for us to get some ice cream!

The pedicab was a lifesaver.  We piled in, and Bob took off at a nice clip, easily swerving in between and around meandering pedestrians and motorists.  He took us to Lewis Brothers, which he said has the best ice cream in town, evidenced by the long line inside spilling out onto the porch, but he had no problem waiting while I waited in line.

With double dips in cups in hand, we rode the remaining mile or so back to the Inn, all of us quietly enjoying our ice cream.  Kira and I were so intent on our own cups, it took a few moments to notice Stephen had scooped out a good portion of his chocolate ice cream onto his lap and was wearing it not only on his pants but on ours as well.  We were so hungry and the ice cream was so good we just shrugged and finished our desserts.  Cie le vie.

Stephen wears his chocolate ice cream from Lewis Brothers

Shortly we were back at the cozy Inn, and soon in our king-sized family bed.   “We should go to sleep,” Stephen sighed, convincing us with his favorite saying when he’s completely tuckered out.  “I’ve had a long day.”


Today I am excited to be headed with my partner and son to Boston and then to Provincetown to partake in the annual Family Week there hosted by Family Equality Council!

I’ve been to three fantastic events held by Family Equality, but they have all been for adults.  If they put on picnics, bonfires, movie nights, play dates, open swim, family happy hours and the all of the other activities of this special week for LGBT parents and their kids like they do their fabulous galas and fundraising cocktail parties, then this will be a truly wonderful week, we I expect it will be!

I’ve been in NY all week on business, so my family is reuniting with me in Boston tonight and then spending a couple of days in the city before we embark on our Family Week excursion.  While my work week was wonderfully productive and enjoyable, it was seven excruciating days without my son and is the longest I have ever been separated from him.  Hearing his little voice on my nightly calls only made it worse.  I can’t wait to snatch him up and give him a full-on bear hug! 

I’m packing up from my hotel in NY and off to JFK.  It’s been a long week away from my blog as well, so I am hoping to have time to write some updates from Bean Town and P-town.  I can’t wait!!

From the Family Equality Blog and Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler, a tireless leader in the movement for rights of LGBT families.

Posted by Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director in June 1st 2010  

Gay parenting is taking off in America. Thirty-one percent of same-sex couples are raising children compared with 43 percent of straight couples, according to 2008 census data. More than half of gay men and 41 percent of lesbians say they want to have a child.

While LGBT parenting is nothing new, there is no doubt that it is making its way into pop culture like never before. A CNN documentary set to air this month, “Gary and Tony Have a Baby,” follows a married couple throughout the surrogacy process. Modern Family and Glee are two hit shows this TV season highlighting gay families, and the soon-to-be-released the film, The Kids Are All Right, is the tale of two lesbian moms played by Julianne Moore and Annette Benning.

The mainstream inclusion of the LGBT family has begun. And that’s a good thing.

But we have a ways to go to show that LGBT parents are like straight parents. The optics of two dads or two moms remains startling to many, but is slowly becoming a non-event to others. It is up to us as LGBT parents to define the images and perception of parenting (and not let those opposed, or those who are not experts, do it for us). We speak a common language with other parents about hugs and homework, about bedtime and bath time. This is my call to all LGBT parents: become visible, tell your story. This is the only sure-fire way of shaping people’s attitudes.

We also must pay attention to the perception of parenting within the LGBT community. Many LGBT people in their 20s and 30s—and older—either think parenting is too difficult—or they don’t even think about it. Parenting has not been part of the community’s social fabric. We need to change this. As the one million LGBT people raising two millions children can attest, it is doable—and is absolutely worth it.

And needed. There are half a million kids currently in the U.S. foster care system, 120,000 of whom are available for adoption. Dr. Gary Gates of the Williams Institute projects that the number of LGBT people wanting to adopt far exceeds the number of kids waiting to be adopted. (Family Equality Council has made significant progress on drafting and gaining support for federal legislation aimed at loosening restrictions on LGBT adoption).

My work fortunately allows me—encourages me, really—to shout from the rooftops about how proud I am of my two amazing boys and my entire family. Family Equality’s family programming reaches thousands of families, and, this summer, we will celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Family Week in Provincetown, the annual gathering place for LGBT families. Because of this event, we have taught more than 1,000 thousand families how to be ambassadors of our movement.

Despite our hectic schedules, I think we as LGBT parents have a responsibility to be involved in the making of our own history—the history of the parents’ (and prospective parents’) movement. There’s no question in my mind we’re crossing, or may have just crossed, the first serious threshold toward greater acceptance of the LGBT family. So, this is the time to get engaged. Let’s keep this newly-minted momentum going.

My personal note: I tend to believe that Jodie Foster, who has an impeccable reputation, would not attack an innocent teenager trying to take a souvenir photo.  I do believe that as a mom she would stand up to predatory and intrusive paparazzi who are invading her and her children’s privacy.  I have been caught in paparazzi crossfire before and these guys are rude and ruthless.

Los Angeles – After RadarOnline.com reported on Friday that Jodie Foster had been accused of battery by a 17-year-old boy, a rep for the actress tells People that the boy was “most definitely a professional paparazzo” who was harassing Foster and her family.

According to the police report, the incident happened May 29 at the Los Angeles shopping center The Grove: “Vict while at The Grove saw susp and began taking pics of susp with his camera then walked to the valet area of The Grove. Susp followed vict, poked him on his chest, grabbed vict by his left arm causing visible injury.”

The 17-year-old’s father told RadarOnline.com, “My son was at The Grove with his girlfriend and they were going to see a movie. He saw Jodie Foster and is a big fan so went over and took a picture of her.

“She came after him, poked him in the chest and said, ‘Do you even have a mother you slime ball?’”

Foster’s rep, however, says the police report is a complete “fabrication” of what happened. “He had a large camera bag and 100mm telephoto lens. He tailed Jodie and followed her all the way from the move theater to the valet.

“He crowded her and her two young children and took photos of them the whole time,” says the rep, adding that the actress then asked him to stop.

From TIME magazine, June 7, 2010

The teen years are never the easiest for any family to navigate. But could they be even more challenging for children and parents in households headed by gay parents?

That is the question researchers explored in the first study ever to track children raised by lesbian parents, from birth to adolescence. Although previous studies have indicated that children with same-sex parents show no significant differences compared with children in heterosexual homes when it comes to social development and adjustment, many of those investigations involved children who were born to women in heterosexual marriages, who later divorced and came out as lesbians.(See a photographic history of gay rights, from Stonewall to Prop 8.)

For their new study, published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics, researchers Nanette Gartrell, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco (and a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles), and Henry Bos, a behavioral scientist at the University of Amsterdam, focused on what they call planned lesbian families — households in which the mothers identified themselves as lesbian at the time of artificial insemination.

Data on such families are sparse, but they are important for establishing whether a child’s environment in a home with same-sex parents would be any more or less nurturing than one with a heterosexual couple.(See a gay-rights timeline.)

The authors found that children raised by lesbian mothers — whether the mother was partnered or single — scored very similarly to children raised by heterosexual parents on measures of development and social behavior. These findings were expected, the authors said; however, they were surprised to discover that children in lesbian homes scored higher than kids in straight families on some psychological measures of self-esteem and confidence, did better academically and were less likely to have behavioral problems, such as rule-breaking and aggression. (Comment on this story.)

“We simply expected to find no difference in psychological adjustment between adolescents reared in lesbian families and the normative sample of age-matched controls,” says Gartrell. “I was surprised to find that on some measures we found higher levels of [psychological] competency and lower levels of behavioral problems. It wasn’t something I anticipated.”

In addition, children in same-sex-parent families whose mothers ended up separating did as well as children in lesbian families in which the moms stayed together.

The data that Gartrell and Bos analyzed came from the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS), begun in 1986. The authors included 154 women in 84 families who underwent artificial insemination to start a family; the parents agreed to answer questions about their children’s social skills, academic performance and behavior at five follow-up times over the 17-year study period. Children in the families were interviewed by researchers at age 10 and were then asked at age 17 to complete an online questionnaire, which included queries about the teens’ activities, social lives, feelings of anxiety or depression, and behavior.

Not surprisingly, the researchers found that 41% of children reported having endured some teasing, ostracism or discrimination related to their being raised by same-sex parents. But Gartrell and Bos could find no differences on psychological adjustment tests between the children and those in a group of matched controls. At age 10, children reporting discrimination did exhibit more signs of psychological stress than their peers, but by age 17, the feelings had dissipated. “Obviously there are some factors that may include family support and changes in education about appreciation for diversity that may be helping young people to come to a better place despite these experiences,” says Gartrell.

It’s not clear exactly why children of lesbian mothers tend to do better than those in heterosexual families on certain measures. But after studying gay and lesbian families for 24 years, Gartrell has some theories. “They are very involved in their children’s lives,” she says of the lesbian parents. “And that is a great recipe for healthy outcomes for children. Being present, having good communication, being there in their schools, finding out what is going on in their schools and various aspects of the children’s lives is very, very important.”

Although active involvement isn’t unique to lesbian households, Gartrell notes that same-sex mothers tend to make that kind of parenting more of a priority. Because their children are more likely to experience discrimination and stigmatization as a result of their family circumstances, these mothers can be more likely to broach complicated topics, such as sexuality and diversity and tolerance, with their children early on. Having such a foundation may help to give these children more confidence and maturity in dealing with social differences and prejudices as they get older.

Because the research is ongoing, Gartrell hopes to test some of these theories with additional studies. She is also hoping to collect more data on gay-father households; gay fatherhood is less common than lesbian motherhood because of the high costs of surrogacy or adoption that gay couples face in order to start a family.

This morning my little darling, Stephen, who will be three in August, demonstrated just why his age is called “Terrible Twos.”  After being told “no” when he wanted to pour more syrup on his already drowning pancakes, he threw a fit and tipped over the breakfast table. A cup of hot coffee landed on the dog, a glass of orange juice shattered with shards flying in all directions, and sticky, syrupy pancakes, sausage and fruit salad flew across the room, splattering the floor and even the walls. It was a scene not to remembered but not cherished.  Our first concern was the dog, who appeared startled and frightened but not injured.  The our attention was to the bad boy in the high chair. My frazzled partner, Kira, picked him up out of the chair with an “Oh My God, NO!”  She hauled him off for a time out in his room.  He was already bawling, as he was just as shocked at the aftermath as all of us. With a deep sigh, I began picking up the broken glass, sopping up the coffee and juice and lamenting the hot breakfast of blueberry pancakes I had just made going to waste, not to mention I was just about to have my first bite, and I was so looking forward to it. Stephen was still crying in his room, Kira took the dog out for a walk, and I cleaned up.  It was another Sunday morning in our happy home.  It wasn’t even 9 am yet, and my day was already just like most days, as I go from cleaning up one mess to the next mess and from tantrum to tantrum, trying to get through the day without any major meltdowns, just to wake up and do it again the next day. The other day when I mentioned this pattern to a fellow mom, she said, “You think the twos are bad.  Wait until you hit the Terrible Threes!”

The disaster that was our breakfast table

But for all the tantrums and messes, this is what I signed up for.  It’s all part of motherhood, and this is what I wanted.

When years ago I told a friend, actually an ex,  that I wanted to have a child, she warned, “It will change your life.  It will be all about the kid.”
“Yeah, I know,” I responded.  “I’m ready for it.”
The irony of this morning’s breakfast disaster was that the orange juice glass that broke into a hundred tiny pieces was the last of a set of crystal bar glasses given to me by, yes, another ex.  It was symbolic that the remnants of my old days as a swinging single gay gal are disappearing.
Those days are over.  Motherhood is my life now, and I do love it, even as I brace myself for the Terrible Threes.

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