Family / Parenting

The Mother of All Fathers

Robert ShaffronI have a husband, two children, and a membership in the PTA. At home, I do the majority of the cooking, the bulk of the laundry, arrange most of the play dates, email the teachers, assist with the school play, sign the homework, enroll them for camp, and comfort the guinea pig. Moreover, I have been known, on numerous occasions, to utter the phrases, “Actions have consequences,” “If it goes into the laundry inside out, it goes back in your drawer inside out, “Am I speaking a foreign language?” and even the time-worn but ever-reliable “If you learned your multiplication tables the way you learned those damned song lyrics…”

 What I mean to say here is, despite all appearances to the contrary, I’m a mom. And since currently I’m self-employed (a cunning little euphemism for unemployed), I’m now a stay-at-home mom. Some years ago, back in the halcyon days when we had a nanny to spend all day with the boys and schlep them all over the place, I took my son Benjamin to a little evening concert that was being held at the school. As we entered the building, one of the maintenance people saw Ben and said: “I know you! I see you with your mother all the time!” A bit ruffled, I puffed up a tad, looked her in the eye, and said, “No. I’m his mother.”

And while I’m here, can I just set a little something straight, so to speak? I’ve heard repeatedly from some, um, factions, that having two parents of the same sex confuses the children. I’d just like to confirm, in no uncertain terms, that my children are not confused about having two dads. They are frequently confused about racism, long division, cruelty to animals, deodorant, war, lima beans and typewriters. But they are crystal clear about their family composition and have never even thought to question it. We’re all they’ve ever known. Okay, so the boys may be a teensy bit befuddled by RuPaul’s Drag Race…but maybe it’s just production values.Robert Shaffron

In fact, at Ben’s 3rd birthday party, a little girl who was there had a tear-fueled, full-tilt breakdown upon learning that Ben had two fathers. When asked by a panicked gaggle of concerned grownups what she was crying about, she blubbered, “I want two daddies, too!” Not confused. Just disadvantaged.

So when our kids bitch about their parents, they have the same exact repertoire of complaints that all the other kids have, no matter what gender combo they have at home.

And while the boys have no experience of their birth moms, they’re not really missing out on anything. Because when I have to, I can be a real mother.

PHOTO CREDITS: JOHN DAVIS

3 Comments

  1. I am totally going to fold clothes inside out from now on! Drives me BANANAS

    • Full dislosure, Esther. It’s a totally empty threat. I say it all the time, but I’ve never actually done it. Mostly because they wouldn’t care. They’d just wear ’em that way and I would look like the schmuck.

      • Empty threat? Bubble burst.

        I would follow through, but I’m too compulsive to put clothes away that are inside out. I’d be thinking about them all day.

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