From the beginning, we taught our daughter it's okay to be different. She gets that. And now rolls her 5-year-old blue eyes with the reminder. We realized recently that while we spoke a lot about differences in theory, we weren't spending enough time on what those differences are. Children notice differences. We all do. Let's not ignore this. Here are some ways I want you to talk to your kids about my same-sex family.
When a kid has a mom and a dad, they think that's the normal way to have a family. When that kid meets my kid who has two moms, he or she will often question that fact. "How do two moms make a baby?" and "Who is the real mom?" are questions we hear a lot. It's a lot easier when my daughter doesn't have to answer these questions at school because you already answered them at home. Spoiler: We are both the real moms. And there are all kinds of ways babies are made. Talk about it. Give your children language for these moments before they ask with an outside voice in the hallway at kindergarten drop off.
"Are you a boy?" is a question I get asked a lot. No. I'm not a boy. I'm a girl. A woman. I have short hair and don't wear typical female clothes most of the time. But I'm still not a boy. Because women can look like me and still be women. Our own daughter knew this to be true for us, but drew us with long hair and wearing dresses for a long time. It wasn't that she thought we were male, because she knows we aren't; it just took a bit for her drawings to catch up with her understanding of gender expression. Because gender is tricky. For all of us.
Even though our country has come a long way, even just in my 5-year-old's lifetime, there are still plenty of people who hate our family. When I get yelled at on the street, "Watch out, whatever you are!" I remember we're not the same. Teach your children empathy. Tell them that sometimes gay people are hated just because of who we are. Teach your children what hate speech sounds like. Teach them about injustice. Let them be angry about that. We are all better for it.
Don't wait until you meet us or a family like us to talk about same-sex families with your children. Start now.
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