The “Mom”

An interesting aspect of this whole two-mom thing is quietly fooling the general public into believing that my wife is the birth mom.  The thing is, RR has my wife’s skin tone and hair color.  My wife is also the default stroller-pusher, restroom diaper-changer, and carseat-sunshield-lifter-upper-when-people-are-peering-in.  Neither of us look like we’re carrying post-pregnancy weight (no, that’s just regular weight thankyouverymuch), and we both look equally as tired (though less so these days).  Also, neither of us is strutting about with a “you’re breastfeeding, aren’t you?” rack, either.  So chances are, if you saw us on the street, you’d assume she carried RR for ten months, not me.  Well, and maybe my cammo shorts and backwards hat take me more out of the running.

We had dinner at a Thai restaurant the other night (outdoor seating?  yep, you guessed it.) and since we were eating during the senior citizen’s hour, we were the only people on the patio.  Each time we had something delivered (start with the calamari? yes please!), or had our drinks refilled, another new waiter or waitress was sent out to gaze at our baby.  The waiter asked (or, rather, gestured questioningly) which one of us was the mother, automatically assuming my wife, but wanting to give me the opportunity to correct him, if need be… although, he looked pretty certain that he had gotten it right.  My wife and I shared an millisecond-long  exchange of glances which conveyed (Hey, I know we’re both the “mom” but I don’t want to have a political conversation over my Pad Thai right now about same-sex parenting – We’ll fess up to you being the mom, but we both know that doesn’t make either of us more or less the “mom.”  Deal?  Deal.)  So I fessed up, and he began comparing our facial features.  She has my nose and chin, apparently.

So I feel like we (along with RR) are in for a lifetime of fooling strangers and people we meet who don’t know which one of us is the mother.  Maybe fooling is the wrong word, since it’s not intentional, really.  OK, maybe it’s a little intentional, but only for the fact that RR looks like my wife and I did it in a back alley, and had a baby ten months later.  It doesn’t bother me one bit if people assume I’m not the birth mother, and in fact, I think I’d be bothered more if it were more blatantly obvious.

I hope as she gets older, folks stop wondering or asking or assuming, and just accept the fact that she’s our daughter.  That we’re both the “mom.”  And that their curiosity can eat them alive before they feel the need to ask point blank.  I think some people will always want to know (like the lady at our baby shower who asked us over punch and cookies who the donor was.  um.  awkward much?), and that’s OK, too.  And we’ll tell those people.  Maybe.  But would it be so bad to lie, though?

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Posted on August 30, 2010, in glbta... with mayo. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I think if we get that question, I am just going to nod and smile.

    Sounds like everything is going well…..

  2. Back when our twins were younger, our stock answer to the who’s the mom question was, ‘We both are, but _______ gave birth to them.’ Now it’s just ‘We both are.’ It’s never turned into a political discussion because we are so matter of fact about it, and I like to hope we’re teaching people not to make assumptions!

  3. We get that question all too often. They try and match up features, and say, ” which one is the mom?! We’ve always told them, ” we both are!’ We’ve never had anything negative come from this answer. Its the truth, we both are.

  4. Seeing as I’m so very white, and Ching is so very Chinese, and our Noah is a mix – well, a mix where the Chinese genes obliterated most of the white ones – he looks like her, so we don’t get any questions yet since we’ve been together when we’ve taken him out. I can’t wait until he’s a little older and I take him to parks, play dates, whatever, and get the funny looks and people probably assume he’s adopted. But that still won’t be as funny as when Ching would take my oh, so pale, blond and blue-eyed baby nephew to the asian grocery stores when he was a baby.

  5. I have wondered myself how we’ll handle this situation. The desire to tell the truth (we’re both “the mom”) and be recognized for what we are, versus the desire to just have dinner (or whatever) in peace. I think it’ll also, for me at least, be affected by whether the kid is old enough to understand what we’re saying. Because the last thing I want to do is disavow my child when we’re in public, you know? But I’m probably getting way ahead of myself. And as long as y’all are okay with whatever answer, then it’s fine, right?

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