What Am I Supposed To Say?

Picture the scene. I’m on the bus with Eden. She’s doing her usual chattering at people, smiling and generally being cute. Someone gets into conversation with us and is asking questions about her. Then they say…

“I bet you’re daddy’s little princess, aren’t you?”

My normal response is just to laugh at this, but I was thinking about it the other day. Obviously Eden has two mummies. There’s no “daddy” on the scene. There’s a wonderful donor who helped to make her, but no daddy.

People like to talk about LGBT visibility, so I often wonder if I am letting the side down by not correcting people who say this. I know it’s not meant out of malice and it’s just conversation, but there’s a great opportunity here to broaden people’s minds. Would I offend people by mentioning it? Would it make conversations awkward? Do people really need to know? Do people really give a flying frog?

I would imagine when Eden is older she will probably tell them herself, so do I wait around for that and support her?

When someone says this kind of thing, should it be used as an opportunity to educate? Should I mention that she has two mums? Or do I just take it as the idle conversation piece that it is and laugh or change the subject?

Let’s hear your thoughts, fellow humans. What would you say in my position? Or what would you like me to say if you were the person asking?


This entry was posted in 2016, lgbt, Two mums and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to What Am I Supposed To Say?

  1. Hailey says:

    I think I would just smile and say “Both her mummies love her very much,” and leave it at that. Not make a big deal about it or linger on it. Just say it like it’s normal, because it is. πŸ™‚

  2. :\ That’s a hard one. I think it comes down to your safety in each situation. Sometimes you have to stay closeted for your own safety, peace, and comfort – or your daughter’s. While it will be important for her to grow up seeing you be open about her other mommy, risking yourself isn’t always worth it. I think smiling and laughing (that fake agreement we’re all so good at when closeted) is fine in situations where you don’t know what you CAN say. Or there’s always the good old fallback of saying “my partner” and letting the other person assume what they will.

    Either way, remember that you’re never “letting the side down” when you don’t willingly out yourself or someone else. Unfortunately, we live in a world where we can’t always show that side of ourselves with the kind of pride we wish we could.

    • It’s exactly that! I’ve seen some absolutely horrific behaviour directed at my wife (she works with the general public) and I would hate to put me and Eden in the line of fire when we don’t need to be. But I guess it’s a trial and error thing. Some people will be ok with it, some won’t.

  3. Jade Fitzgerald-Neish says:

    Hi Laura,

    My wife and i are still ttc so we are yet to be in this position! However, personally i think it sets a good precedent to Eden as she gets older to respond with something like “she is a princesss alright but she is all mine and her other Mama’s”. People may ask further open questons inviting you to explain your family make up and if you want to answer, do so. If you don’t then change the subject. And quite frankly, if people dont like your answer then they can do one πŸ™‚

    Eden is still very young so if you arent confident with responses/explanations just yet then you have plenty of time to build up to it πŸ™‚

    Keep doing what you are doing. You are fantastic Mummy’s to Eden and she is adorable!!

    • That’s good. And I’m so glad you pointed out that we have practise time, because that’s something I hadn’t thought about.
      Thankyou for your lovely comments and best of luck with your TTC journey!

  4. I get this comment all the time about how my son must look just like his Dad since he doesn’t look like me. (Which of course is pretty much impossible since he’s adopted). Clearly, not the same situation you face, yet in a way I have similar responses. Most often I laugh it off and just go about my day because I don’t always have the energy to educate and correct the entire universe. I have tried the “I don’t know actually” to which I get weird looks and sometimes more questions. And I have also tried the “He’s adopted so we don’t know” which then leads into the entire adoption conversation. And for us, I’ve also been able to say “he sure acts like his dad!” which seems to satisfy people and they leave us alone.
    Again, I realize our situation is not the same, but I thought I’d share. I like to think right now it’s about me finding the answers I’m comfortable with and showing my son how to respond in a respectful way. Someday our son will answer for himself; however, he feels comfortable. So, I think the most important thing to me is that we educate him to only answer what he wants to share. I think it’s all about him being comfortable and confident.

  5. I agree with the commenter who said it depends on safety. My wife and I get a lot of questions when we are out and about – most common: “Are you sisters?” We get that one SO much! I never thought to ask people how they are related to one another! Anyway, we often do respond with We’re married or we’re wives. Shocks the hell out of people! But we have, on occasion, skirted the question with just a “no” if we didn’t feel comfortable. When our son was younger, I knew he wasn’t comfortable with people knowing he had two moms at first (I met them when he was 9).I answered his friends prying questions with “I’m just a part of his family.” I WISHED I could have told them all, but it wasn’t a good situation for our son.

    When he was 16/17ish, he didn’t care so much anymore. I tried to be open about our status, but the other moms didn’t always get it. They’re clueless! One day we were at a breakfast for the football players and we were talking about how to tie a tie. They were all saying that their husbands had to do it, and I piped in, “Well there are no men in our house, so I googled it!” Is that a big enough of a hint? LOL! Some got it and were impressed that I taught myself and my son something that I guess women aren’t supposed to know how to do!

    So, after that looooonnnggg rant, I guess I just think go with your gut. If you feel like saying, nope, but she is her other mommy’s little princess, then that’s great! And if you don’t feel like outing yourself, that’s also fine. You have to do what feels right for you.

  6. KA Doore says:

    Some days I get really grumpy that it’s basically all on us to educate in this world. And some days I realize that life isn’t fair and that’s the only way we’ll make any progress.

    I agree with everyone else that it’s best to strike a balance. Be open about it whenever you can, but if you’re not comfortable or feel safe – or simply get hit out of the blue, like in this instance – then it’s okay not to be. It can be tiring to constantly be the one educating the clueless and people who are not a minority or disadvantaged in some way will never understand how these little acts add up. At least for those of us who can pass as part of the majority, I think it’s fair to take advantage of that and save our resources for better times.

  7. MaryMary says:

    Wow. Life is difficult and we don’t have to defend ourselves to strangers. I’m not in the same position as you but I have three step children and people assume I’m their Mum (I can’t possibly be. I’m far too young!! Who am I kidding?) It used to really bother me but i’ve come to appreciate that sometimes the kids let it go and sometimes they point out the truth. It’s pretty cool. We’ve talked about it at home and they know they don’t have to pretend I’m their Mum.
    The other bit of my life that’s a challenge and I still don’t deal with very well is a stranger’s questions about siblings. One of mine died when I was a teenager. Sometimes I say I had two brothers. Often I say that I have one. I feel guilty every time but I don’t think the stranger conversation wants to deal with this. I guess all I’m saying is say what’s right for you in each circumstance. You’re not denying Eden or your wife by not explaining every time. Sometimes the situation warrants it and sometimes it doesn’t. Do what you feel is right on any given day.
    I love your blog x

  8. I saw you say on Twitter the other day that you weren’t sure you were making an impact anymore…. Consider this as impactful.

    Until just now, I had not considered how my under confidence in correcting people’s assumptions that I have a husband or Ella has a Dad might affect Ella growing up. I don’t feel any potential danger in people’s attitude toward my responses where I live but this has to be changeable – different towns, different countries, different cultures – sadly acceptance isn’t an epidemic. That said, I don’t want my child to ever ask me why I let someone believe she had a daddy when she doesn’t!!!!

    I think the advice above from others is spot on.

    Thanks for writing this post.

  9. Ah we’re in the same boat! Our son is only 5 months old now, but I feel that for his sake we should be as honest and firm about our relationship to each other. I want him to grow up and be proud that he has two moms. I don’t want him to ever feel embarrassed about it. That being said, we live in a fairly queer friendly city, so our situations may be different.

  10. Yael says:

    Well I think it depends on how YOU feel at that moment.

    Yes it is an opportunity, and yes it is good to be visible but as I am sure you well know it also is draining to have to go into those conversations.

    It is a level of intimacy that is sometimes, understandably, uncomfortable, and it is also sometimes nerve racking especially when there is a carriage full of people who are eavesdropping on that conversation, to deal with your fears of what they will all react like.

    However, that carriage full of eavsdroppers is usually why I choose to correct people πŸ™‚

    My two boys are at an age when they do answer back πŸ™‚ they simply say ‘I don’t have a dad” or “I have two mummies” and it is heart warming to hear how easy it is for them to say and how well they deal with “really? no way…” kind of answers from kids mainly πŸ™‚
    (there is also obviously the unavoidable moment when your heart misses a bit when a question is asked and before it is answered)

    When they were babies, I mostly did correct people.
    I do think visibility / audibility is important.
    But I had one rule when I did correct people:

    1) Never – correct and then go silent.
    If you say “well he actually has two mums” and then stop. The other person will feel bad. I mad it a point to correct and then straight away either explain something, carry on with a conversation or change the subject or what ever it felt right to do in order to project to the person who said it that I am not offended by their assumption, and that they are welcome to ask what ever they want.

    On the other hand I also did not kick myself for letting a comment slide without correcting it, if I really did not feel like opening my life up to a stranger πŸ™‚

    Big hugs πŸ™‚ xx

  11. Kitten says:

    Honestly, it’s up to YOU and how you feel in the moment. I don’t think you’re under any obligation to educate every time it happens. Yes, you’re part of a larger community, but it’s also part of your personal story, and, as such, it’s up to you how you respond. As far as what Eden might take away from an interaction like the one you described, a lot will depend on your reaction. If you say nothing, and instead act uncomfortable or ashamed, and you do that every time, then, yes, she may grow up thinking it’s something to be ashamed of. However, if sometimes you politely and nonchalantly correct them, and sometimes laugh it off and don’t say anything, she’ll pick up on the fact that it’s not something you have to tell everyone all of the time. I think you’ll find more often, though, when she’s older, she will probably correct people all of the time. That’s just something kids do until they learn to filter. You’re right that she will learn what to filter and when from you, but I’m confident that you’re already being a good model, and that when the time comes, you’ll have open conversations with her about it.

  12. Because our kids all look so different (people don’t even know our boys are twins!) we get asked a lot but separately and never as a unit which is weird also! We always, never skipping a beat, say, “Actually, he looks a lot like his other mom. And I carried him!” That is almost ALWAYS our response, even when it isn’t true. Mainly because, even though the the boys don’t understand, Mary does, and it is so important for our 8 year old to not feel ashamed of who she is, where she is from, where she belongs. Hiding such a huge piece of us and who we are would encourage her to hide big pieces of who she is. That being said though, we live in NY. Super inclusive here, and also, I am very aggressive, and well, I have no problem getting up in anyones face if there is a problem! Also also, my wife…firecracker!

  13. It depends – I suppose I make a judgement on the kind of person they appear to be. If I think they look like they might be a bit conservative I would usually leave it.

  14. I can’t imagine a situation like that, but I do have my own experience of LGBT+ invisibility. Back when I was closeted trans*, my girlfriend and I would go skating and hold hands. As an ex hockey player, I was a great skater. We were sitting on the bench, taking a break and holding hands. A man, only looking to be a little older than us, came over and complimented my backwards skating. My girlfriend grabbed my arm, proud of me. Until he said “I bet all the boys are after you.”. I said nothing, and left the ring to recover from the embarrassment.

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