I have two mums
One thing I’ve noticed since having children, is that I spend a lot more time in my day talking to strangers. Before children, I spent most of my time at work, home with partner, visiting family, or hanging out with friends. But now, I spend a lot more of time in public places: playgrounds, the swimming pool, libraries, or the Big Red Car at the shopping centre. When I’m with my partner, other adults tend not to talk to us, probably because they’re not too sure whether we are friends, sisters, or lovers (although the last often doesn’t even enter the thoughts of many). But when I am on my own, I inevitably end up chatting with the other parents hanging out in these places too. On a regular basis, the conversation ends up with a question about my husband. I say I am not married. So they then ask about my sons’ dad. And I say they don’t have a dad. Usually I quickly follow this up by saying they have two mums. Once I didn’t do this quickly enough, and a father at the swimming pool started saying “What happened? He didn’t die, did he?” But when I did explain, he was great, although perhaps a little overly keen to re-assure me about how “gay-friendly” he was.
Over the three years I have been a parent I have become more and more confident with these sorts of conversations. And of course, whenever I have these conversations, my sons are listening too. Although I haven’t consciously done it, I think my confidence in handling questions of this sort has rubbed off on my older son. One day, my neighbour’s three-year-old son was over for a play date. I was in another room, but could hear them playing. In between playing fire fighters and throwing stuffed animals at each other, out of the blue, Sam asked my son where his dad was. Without any hesitation, my two-year-old son said “I don’t have a Dad. I have two Mums.” Sam replied, “Oh, let’s play trains now. I’m going to be Thomas, and you can be Percy.” I was so very proud.