VillageQ Communities welcomes Mitch and his family today. I love how he shares how times have changed since he was young and about his tight-knit community. Mitch makes living in NYC sound pretty great!
If you would like to participate in this series, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Name: Mitch C.
Hometown: Bronx & Spring Valley, NY
Social media handles: @gaynycdad on Twitter, FB, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube
Number and ages of kids: 12-year-old son
Blogger. I started the blog to talk about our similarities to “conventional” families. People who meet us and spend time with us from different parts of the country (at family blog conferences) see that we are more alike than different.
Relationship status: married
Favorite children’s book: Tomorrow’s Children by Isaac Asimov
Favorite flavor of ice cream: Pralines & Cream
How did you create your family?
We adopted our son in Arizona. We were with him at birth and stayed with him in the hospital.
What challenges have you faced as a queer family, and how did you overcome them?
None. In fact, it felt as if we were celebrated for forming a family.
What is it like for queer parents in New York?
In Manhattan, where we feel safe raising a child as a same sex couple, it has been remarkable. An issue once came up where a kid told my son he had to have a mom. The kids had a fight over that. Turned out, the kid was just talking about the biology of it all. Schools, camps, our community, and everyone else have been 100% supportive.
Who else provides childcare? It takes a village. Who’s in yours?
We sent our son to a daycare in our neighborhood. Our community is made up of a tight knit group of parents, which grew once the all the kids started going to elementary school. Then our circle of adults, parents, and caregivers grew. Everyone looks out for everyone’s kids. Also, both sets of grandparents were very involved in the first five years of our son’s life, staying with us once a week to help us and spend time with their grandson. At the age of 12, my son enjoys much more independence, but he is part of a community that keeps an eye out for each other. We are very lucky to have that where we live, gay or straight.
What did your parents do well that you want to emulate? What mistakes did they make that you hope to never repeat?
The number one thing that both sets of our parents have done is stay married for over half a century. We have been together for 23 years and still chugging along. I want my son to know that the institution of marriage is an important one.
Our parents used physical force while we were growing up. Spanking was far more common in that time, both of us being over 50. While I do not regret how my parents disciplined me, I feel that kind of punishment is no longer necessary. We use consequences and believe me, losing electronic privileges in this day and age is a terrible punishment! I do think think it’s important to be stern when necessary and not coddle my child.
The other big difference in the way I am raising my son is that I communicate with him more than my parents did with me. I try to tell him everything going on, I attempt to explain why we do certain things, and I work very hard to keep the lines of communication open with him. This was not a priority when I was being brought up. I feel it is more important now more than ever. I also do not want my son to go through puberty and the teen years without feeling completely supported. And, in anticipation of the next question, I feel I am accomplishing this goal. When I do get my son to open up, I also him how helpful I can be and how much better he feels when he confides in me.