The Father Question: A Lesbian Parent’s Answer

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You might think that because our family is made up of two moms and a child that we are a little touchy about Father’s Day, but that just isn’t the case for us. My wife and I both have fathers we love, and we wish for all fathers to be honored on Father’s Day. We honor ours and Finn honors his grandfathers on Father’s Day. We are honored on Mother’s Day, both of us, so we are good.

However, a question we often get or that Finn gets, is “Who is Finn’s Daddy?”

We get this question from well-meaning adults (wondering how we made Finn—this question is answered here and here) and from kids with a mother and a father wondering why Finn’s family looks different from theirs. It is a perfectly innocent and expected question since we live in a world where heterosexual couples make up the dominant culture.

Don’t feel bad if you’ve wondered, asked this question, or if your child has asked a same-sex couple this question or something like it. Ya’ll are just going off what you know. It doesn’t make us uncomfortable. In fact, it gives us a chance to help people understand and accept families like ours.

For us, the answer to that question is:

“Finn doesn’t have a father/ daddy. He has two mothers, Mommy and Mama.”  

It is as simple as that. It really is.

Neither of us is the father or dad. Because we are both women, we take the nomenclature that goes with our gender.

This is not to say that Finn doesn’t have someone that fulfills the role that is traditionally the purview of the father figure. The thing about our family is that this role is taken on by both of us, at any given time—which, of course, as many of you can attest to, is often the case with heterosexual couples too. Gone are the days where the male of the house does/ is exclusively x, y, and z, and the female does/ is exclusively a, b, and c. This pertains to everything from working outside the home and playing catch with kids to household chores and feeding the kids. Many parents these days do both on any given day. So it is with our family too. We both cook, clean, and look after Finn. We both work full-time jobs. Some things my wife is better at or likes more and may do more of (cooking, building things with Finn), and some things I am better at or enjoy more and may do more of (cleaning, reading and learning with Finn). Every family has their own rhythm, and we are no different in this.

In case this worry has crossed your mind: Finn isn’t lacking because he doesn’t have a father. He has two loving parents. And he is surrounded by a host of loving role models, both men and women. As for the men in his life, he has grandfathers, uncles, fathers of his friends, our guy friends—a whole village of men to look up to along with the many women in his life to look up to.

Same-sex parents come in all shapes and sizes, just like heterosexual parents. This is how we see things for our family, and it may not apply to all. Some families might not answer the question the same way we do. But for us, his two mothers, we are Finn’s parents, and he is our everything.

P.S. We call the man who gave us one of the necessary ingredients to make Finn “the donor.”

 

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Brandy hails from Paris, TX. She has always admired Memphis: the culture, the kitsch, the city life it offers. So she moved here for a job and to be closer to family after many years of traipsing around the U.S. Brandy spent her 20's school hopping from state to state, eventually finishing her undergraduate degrees at the University of Arkansas- Fayetteville and her graduate degrees at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL, where she met her wife, Theresa. In 2009, they moved to Minot, ND where Theresa was stationed in the U.S. Air Force. In ND, she survived three blizzards and a flood before moving to Memphis in 2011 to teach writing, literature, and gender and women’s studies at the University of Memphis. Brandy and Theresa were married on a rooftop in NYC in 2012 and welcomed their son, Finnegan (Finn) in 2015. Brandy likes to pretend she’s a juggler or a trapeze artist in the circus flying from role to role: wife, mother, writer, editor, teacher. Sleep? She doesn’t remember what that is. She loves a good cup of half-caf in the morning and a light bubbly bottle of prosecco on the occasional evening out. Her first novel, The Palace Blues: A Novel (Spinsters Ink) was a 2015 Lambda Literary Award Finalist in Lesbian Fiction and winner of the Alice B. Readers’ Lavender Award. Her writing has appeared in Ninth Letter, Pank Magazine, Sinister Wisdom, and Lumina among others.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I loved this…I have a question about what happens of Finnndevides when he’s 16 or (18 lol) that he wants a biological dad relationship? Like what if he goes looking or does ancestry DNA. What if he decides he was lacking? Will that break your heart, how does a LGBT… Family deal with the situation. It would be my same curiosity for adiptive families however rmany say they’re fine with it and many children know they are adopted and it’s not a “you don’t have a bio set of parents” situation…it’s like a you have bio parents but they aren’t in the picture type situation. Lol does this make sense. Like biologically we know and he’ll lean that he has a bio male that gave him a “y” lol out there. I just wonder how hurtful (or not) that could be if a child when grown decides they we’re lacking or simply that they just want to know bio male “dad”. Hopefully this wasn’t offensive. You’ve opened up on the topic and it’s not one that I have the opportunity of discussing with close friends as my friends who identify as LGBT aren’t parents just yet. 🙂

    • Thank you for your response and questions, Candace! We have heard these questions before, so you aren’t alone in your wondering here. We are teaching Finn about all different kinds of families (single parent, adoptive, step-parent, same sex) and have and will continue to be open and honest with him about how he was conceived. So he will always know that he has two moms and we made him with the use of a donor, and that this is just one way that families are created.
      If you read the previous blog about how we made Finn, then you know that we chose a “willing to be known” donor, which means that when Finn turns 18, he can find out who his donor was. We wanted him to have that option if he wanted to know.
      Would this be hard for us? It could be, but we expect and have prepared for it– that he may want to know even if it’s just out of curiosity. It is a fact of his conception, of him. And we will be here to support him through it.
      As far as heartbreak goes, when we signed up to be parents, we pretty much signed up to endure all kinds of heart breaking situations, like when he no longer needs us to hold his hand to go in to school, or if he chooses to go to college half a world away. Emotionally, parenthood is a roller coaster, for any parent, gay or straight.
      Of course, we hope that he never feels like his two parents aren’t enough, but that is every parent’s fear, for one reason or another– Do I make enough money? Do I spend enough time with him? Will he love me as much as I love him? And as any parent with an adolescent knows, kids will feel some kind of lack (no one has everything) at some point no matter their family make-up, no matter their opportunities. And, who’s to say that children of heterosexual parents don’t feel that they are lacking because they don’t have two mothers or two fathers? If we build a world where all families are accepted as normal, this will become less and less of an issue for all children, whatever their family make-up.

  2. Stella has a Mommy, Mummer, and is aware we had a donor to assist with her conception. When asked about a father, she answers matter of factly that she doesn’t have one. So on Father’s Day, her adoring two grandfathers get lots of love. We celebrate double (read: have a veritable block party) for Mothers’ Day 🙂 Through the years, schools and such have trotted out all manner of well intentioned awkwardness for the Father’s Day celebrations and art projects. Our favorite was just making two Mothers’ Day projects, instead… seems like with two moms, she should have twice as much fun!

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