When My Daughter Asked Why Her Friend Has Two Mommies, I Got A Chance To Shine (For a half second)

You know those moments in your job when something great happened in front of your boss and your colleagues?  I used to really love those moments– when I was the associate attorney who could help the partner put facts together during a legal team meeting or when I lured college sophomores into opening credit cards when I was an assistant manager at Express.

I loved that heady feeling of accomplishment, especially when I had an audience.

Frankly, I still do.

As a mother, I have those moments too, except without the audience and now my boss is 3.5 years old and asks me to carry her if we walk more than 2 blocks.

But, still, I felt the swish of a slam dunk moment the other day, but had I blinked I would have missed it.

Sadie and I were walking home from the bus stop, talking about our Thanksgiving plans to visit friends in Madison.  Our Madison friends happen to be a lesbian couple with a young son.  We have visited them before, and Sadie has not asked any questions about the differences in our families. But I’ve been ready.  Ready to give her the loving, liberal, compassionate answer, which would prove (to myself) that I am open-minded and, even better, raising open-minded children who are learning to be tolerant and accepting of all people regardless of sexual-orientation. We are so urbane!

Sadie: Where are we going to be for Thanksgiving?

Me: We are going to see Gus and H. and K.

Sadie: Why does Gus have two mommies?

OHGOODLORDHERE’SMYMOMENT.  I felt the winds shift.  This is it! This is where I teach my daughter about how families come in all shapes and sizes, and then I will go home and order the book about the kid with two mommies off Amazon, and I will win the liberal race of tolerance and inclusiveness.

Me: Sadie, I am so glad you asked that question.  Gus has two mommies because some families have two mommies, some have two daddies, and some have only one mommy or one daddy; some families have mommies and daddies and grandparents, and some families have daddies and step moms and mommies and step daddies.  Some people are raised by their extended family members, like aunts and uncles, though no one we know fits that category. Or at least, not that I know of.  Families can be any people who are brought together in love.

Me: Sadie?

Me: Sadie?

Sadie: Mom, why is that squirrel standing on that branch? I have to pee. Oh! And where’s my snack? I left it on the bus.

Me: So we are done talking about Gus and his two mommies and about the beauty of families brought together by love?

Sadie: Wait, here’s my snack! It was in my pocket.

Me: Ok, now that you have your snack, do you want to talk some more about Gus’ family situation?

Sadie: Mom….

Me: Yes?

Sadie: Who’s Gus again? I forgot.

And there you have it.  My dissertation on modern family structure was so stimulating and educating for Sadie that she forgot who we were talking about.

Let me know if you want me to talk to your kids about any of the social issues of our time. My fees are very reasonable.


68 thoughts on “When My Daughter Asked Why Her Friend Has Two Mommies, I Got A Chance To Shine (For a half second)

  1. Hahaha!!! Yep, I’ve had this discussion as well (and many variations thereof). Almost inevitably, the child asking nods and asks about something completely unrelated. I believe this demonstrates that children are a whole lot more pure than adults and haven’t had their minds polluted by misguided conceptions . . . or as someone else put it, they take on as much information as their minds can process. More questions will follow once they’re ready for the info. Good job, mama, all the same.

  2. I gave a similar speech on Father’s Day, thinking the boy in my daughter’s class would feel left out as he had two moms. Instead my daughter laid into me, “You want to make sure HE feels ok?” HE doesn’t have to make a card AT ALL. He gets to COLOR. And READ. What about ME?”

    OK, then. Clearly not an issue for the next generation.

  3. Hilarious! Thanks for the (quiet)laugh this morning. My girl is sleeping beside me so I’m trying not to laugh, while also trying not to fall out of bed….she’s a bed hog. I can’t wait for that ‘why’ stage. It must get exhausting. I’m at the ‘what’s that?’ stage. She can ask that pointing to the same thing at least
    dozen times in a row.

    Despite Sadie’s memory lapse, you did a great job!

  4. Really. Why IS that squirrel standing on that branch? You kind of skated right by that question, didn’t you?
    In all seriousness, believe me, the tough questions will come up again. You will have plenty of chances to shine.

  5. This was hilarious! The questions will come up again, and maybe next time there won’t be a squirrel around to steal your moment. Good job, Mama!

  6. Oh, she’ll ask again. Just like my daughter did with semen COMEONAIN’TNOBODYREADYFORTHAT And you’ll get to have an actual discussion about families and more and it’ll be great because you’ll be honest and open and OMGDIDSHESAYSEMEN

  7. A while ago Paul looked at me and said “I’m upset”, when I asked him why, he said “We have five children and none of them are gay!” I reassured him and told him that they were born that way. Sometimes, it’s all about perspective.

    Good job Mama!

  8. Sounds pretty much like most conversations with a 3 year old. And the squirrel comment has special resonance in our house after watching the movie, “Up.”

    By virtue of brining up our son around families of many different variations, we’re hoping this is just normal for him. He’s 4.5 and so far is unfazed. What’s weird is he asks about color and accents fairly often, even though his day care and preschool are pretty diverse. Have had to rethink my strategy on that a few times.

  9. I once gave a lecture similar to yours in response to a query from one of my backseat riders (all my sons, of course). Oldest son entered the car and said, “why did you tell us you have to be married to have children?” So I did the eat-crow thing and went into details about how man-and-woman can make babies but now science can help out for any woman who wants a child and then there’s also the great gift of adoption yadda-yadda. All given in sincere frankness with the radio off and with me swerving all over as I’m watching my audience in the rearview mirror.
    The response I got? “No, I mean like animals. Dogs and chickens NEVER get married, right?”
    Oh boy.

  10. Perfect for the 3.5s! And squirrels & snacks can be very important!
    This morning at 6:45am I got “are there different kinds of chickens? Ones that lay eggs we eat and ones that lay eggs with chicks?” I said they’re the same kind of chickens. The chicks start out as the same eggs we eat, but they need a rooster to become chicks. This was followed by the “why?” . Because just like people need a man and a woman, there has to be a chicken and a rooster. She was satisfied. I have learned not to answer her “why” with “how”.

    More related to your story…our urban kids don’t think much of homosexuality. They have friends and family with two moms or two dads. They know our gay male friends adopted and haven’t yet asked about the gay females. Maybe I should ask them how they explained it so I’m prepared.

  11. Actually spit my mimosa out on my keyboard when I read this: I lured college sophomores into opening credit cards when I was an assistant manager at Express. HA!!!! (Yes, mimosa. At the office. Don’t judge.)

  12. OMG…I love this so much because I would have TOTALLY been ready for my shining moment of parenting…and it would have panned out exactly like that. Kids have a way of making sure you don’t get TOO full of yourself, don’t they! Great, great story!

  13. I love that she was just like, “Yeah, whatever, squirrels.” In a way that’s the awesomest response of all because you can tell that to her having two mommies is just about as remarkable or shocking as having to pee.

  14. Wow, Mama! It’s really hard for mommies and daddies to remember tht the age of reason is 7. Without regard to intellectual capability.
    Any answer beyond either “Because.” or “Isn’t that interesting?’ is too much,

  15. Love it! I’ve so been there with my “Here’s a chance for an after-school special moment” face on and then they’re on to the next squirrel or snack or Lego before I know it. But I have to believe being raised in a family (whatever shape! whatever size!) where questions are met with loving, open-minded answers does lay the groundwork for their being loving and open-minded as they grow. Here’s hoping at least.

  16. LMAO.

    So awesome. I’ve had the same moment.

    It’ll come up again. And if your answer is consistent, its what she will think is normal. And that’s what matters. Anderson of tolerant open mindedness that seem casual because they are.

  17. You’re hired! I want you to talk with my girls about drugs and alcohol soon and sex in a year or two. With any luck they’ll be so focused on who has a bigger serving of Goldfish or who has more room on the couch, they won’t wonder why you’re talking with them about these topics instead of me. Genius, mama!

  18. Hi, random rowmie! Ah, such a relatable post. Though I don’t have kids I distinctly remember a conversation with my then-5 year-old nephew. He had asked me a profound question about God, which I felt ill-equipped to answer. While I was in the middle of nattering away about who knows what, he said, “How do spiders throw up?”

  19. The beauty of children is that those things are no big deal, unless they are taught that it’s a big deal. The good news is, it was no big deal to her, so that means you are doing well!

  20. I have had that conversation with my kids, almost choked when my daughter got into technical details.

    “Dad, whose penis did they use to have Sally?”

    And there you have it, one of the few questions that have left me shaking my head. Came up with an appropriate answer, but damn…

  21. Thats awesome. I have a couple of friends who are currently expecting ( also a son) and Its comforting to know, while there are questions and curiosities, they arent any bigger than all the other questions, as it should be!

  22. You have an answer, which is awesome — both having the answer and the answer itself, that is. It will come up again and you’ll answer it again. And again and again because that’s how kids work. She’ll hear you when she needs to hear you.

  23. Pingback: The Homosexual Union Conversation Went So Much Better Than The Dead Dog One | Outlaw Mama

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