By: Carol Rood
I am a mother. I have given birth to two handsome, amazing, funny sons. I love them with all of my heart. I have never met a parent who I felt didn’t love their child(ren). I have read about and heard about abuses done to children and find that atrocious and sickening, particularly when they are perpetrated by the parents of these innocent beings. However, for the most part I believe 97% of all humans are good, and therefore 97% of all parents love their children, and strive to be good parents. I think it is safe to say that we live in a child-centered world. We hear about attachment parenting and helicopter parents and how we give our children too much.
Parenting is one of the most important and most difficult jobs, yet there is no training for it. We can read books, listen to friends, watch tv shows, listen to radio programs. All of this will still not teach us how to be effective, loving, good parents. I have found that trial and error has been the best teacher for me to learn how to improve as a parent. I have learned the most at the “university” of experience.
When I decided to be in a relationship with another woman I was a newly-divorced single woman with primary physical custody of my children (2 boys aged 5 and 7). The woman I was becoming involved with was also a single mother with physical custody of her two kids (aged 11 and 13). We lived in different states (she was on Active Duty in the Navy stationed away from me), and was awaiting orders to come back down to Virginia. We knew she was going to come back down to Virginia, and we wanted to live together, but we were concerned about moving in together with our children.
We were worried about us being “out” while she was in the Navy, and we were worried about what the children would think about us being together. We were also very worried about our ex-husbands trying to take our children away. All of this influenced how we proceeded in the beginnings of our relationship.
We usually visited with each other when the children were visiting their fathers. Her children’s father lived in Virginia, so she would bring them down to see their father twice a month. I would have my kids with their father the same weekend. That way K and I could be together without worrying about the children “finding out” about us. I think we were mostly concerned that the children (who were born into heterosexual marriages) would somehow hate us or be ashamed of us. We were assuming they would somehow have prejudices they had not exhibited or been taught. Looking back now, I think we were overly worried, but this was new territory we were entering, and it was scary.
We decided to go ahead and buy a house. A 5-bedroom house. Now you might think we wanted a 5-bedroom house so we could house a child in each room (4 kids all together), and share the master bedroom, but nooo, that was not the case. When we moved in, K took over the master bedroom, we put her oldest boy and my oldest boy in a room together, her daughter got a room, my youngest son got a room, and I had my own bedroom. Yes, you read correctly, I had my own bedroom, and K had her own bedroom. This was not just for show, either. I had all of my furniture, my computer, my clothing, etc. in my room, and K kept her things in her room.
We decided as long as the children “didn’t know”, and K was still on Active Duty, keeping up the sham of “two best friends sharing housing costs” was the best way to go. We also had to keep up appearances for the children’s fathers in case they “popped by” (which they never did by the way). So here we were in our lovely new house, each with our own room, having clandestine nighttime visits on the sly. Sometimes we would “visit” in my room, sometimes K’s room, but come morning, when the kids came looking for us, we would each be cozy in our own beds.
Some people may think this was extreme, but we were worried about how the kids would react, and worried about any Navy friends that might come over, and worried about the children’s fathers. We were so cautious, and scared. It was uncharted territory, and even though we were sure of our love for each other, we were unsure of everything else.
As time went on we became more open with the kids, and with our families. We were more sure of our rights as parents, and when K retired from the Navy we decided to come “out” to our kids. So we each took turns and over the next couple of days we talked to our kids. We thought we were being so careful, yet when we told the kids we were “together”, the funny thing was they said they already knew. They were like “duh mom”…it was funny! So I moved in to the master bedroom with K, and each kid got their own room.
Our children were proof to us that prejudice is taught, not something people are born with. Our kids didn’t care that we were with someone of the same gender. They just cared that their mom(s) were happy.
Our kids Rock!!
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Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian
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