When T and I decided we wanted children together she already had 2 from another relationship. Because of this I was always the third wheel when it come to raising them.
When we decided to have our own baby I realised that I had a say, and by default the other children fell under my parenting umbrella.
So here are a few things I’ve learnt being the “other” mother.
1. It is still apparently everyone’s first rodeo!
What I mean by that of course is that despite the portrayal of LGBT+ families in the media and acceptance has increased, for a lot of people they haven’t experienced a same sex family. They don’t know how to act. We are kind of like this new interesting topic everyone wants to know about. This is cute, but it opens you up to a whole manner of questions that you would be asked if you were a straight couple. I covered some of these in a previous post.
2. No matter how equal you and your partner are in the relationship, people will always make the nonbiological parent feel inferior.
This one doesn’t need much explaining. Sometimes it’s someone innocently asking who the “real” Mum is, or a consultant at the hospital asking who you are when you both take your child to an appointment.I honest think people don’t mean to offend or make you feel like your role with the child isn’t valid, but it does sting.
3. People will tell your children what they think.
For me this is an issue. Mainly because it puts my child in an awkward position. I have had staff at D’s School tell her that I must be her step mum because she wouldn’t have 2 mummy’s, or kids tell her she’s weird because she hasn’t got a Dad (which is funny because neither have a lot of them). It is important to me that my children have a positive outlook when it comes to how they feel about us as parents. I like to think that regardless of our genders, t and I love them, care for them and they never go without.
4. Be prepared to have to prove who you are!
I once took D to the hospital when she was sick, and they asked me 16 times in an hour wether we had a social worker because I told them that I wasn’t her biological mum. I don’t understand why the two correlate, especially as it is on her notes that she has 2 mums.
5. Schools and other places aren’t equipped for same sex families
When D started school we had some issues. The forms we were given had things like “mums contact details” “dads contact details”. When we handed them forms in we were told they couldn’t enter me onto the system as a second Mum. So I asked where they put the foster parents details or equivalent and there wasn’t anywhere, so for the first year or so I was Dad on the school system.Also, not even the registrar knew the law around registering a birth to a same sex couple. T and I weren’t married when either of the kids were conceived, and therefore I have no parental rights. When we went to register D’s birth we were called back because initially they put me on the birth certificate as parent 2. But then realised their mistake. These are the same people who record deaths and marriages.
6. Be prepared to explain the ins and outs of everything.
Linking back to point 1. People want to know stuff that might be a bit out there. As the “other” parent you will feel duty bound to answer any and all questions. The most frequent question we get is how, closely followed by “so who is the dad”.
7. Regardless of biology you will never know a feeling like it
I never realised the bond I had with my kids. I never realised that anyone could love and be loved unconditionally. I know that may sound weird but they have really made me a better person. I would die for them, and before that feeling wasn’t really every something I knew.