Next up in our VillageQ community, let’s meet Jen. She is a long-time reader and commenter on VillageQ. Jen and her wife manage to wrangle three adorable kids, filling a plethora of social media platforms with beautiful pictures of them often participating in fun, outdoorsy activities. Honestly, I wish they lived closer so my kid could tag along and learn to appreciate nature as they do!
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Hometown: Lowell, MA
Social media handles: @adventurousmoms (Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, YouTube)
Number and ages of kids: 3 – Our four year old Addie, and one year old twins, Evan and Kate.
Number (and type) of pets: 3 fish – Elsa, Max, and Sally
Day job: Chair of the Communications Department at a local community college
Relationship status: Happily married to my wife Kendra since April 2007
Favorite children’s book: I like books too much to pick just one. Some of my faves: Socks for Supper, Popcorn, The Monster at the End of this Book, Harry the Dirty Dog, and Moo, Baa, La La La
Favorite flavor of ice cream: Mint chocolate chip
How did you create your family?
We used an anonymous, open donor, and my wife carried all three kids. Our oldest was conceived through IUI, and the twins were IVF. It was a long and expensive (totally worth it) process that you can read about in more detail HERE.
What challenges have you faced as a queer family, and how did you overcome them?
My optimistic side likes to think that as residents of Massachusetts we’ve faced no challenges, but I’d be lying to myself. In no way has being a two-mom family been horribly difficult. It’s more the little things, micro-aggressions that add up. Wondering why no one at our daughter’s pre-K has ever responded yes to a play date request, having to convince people that there is no dad in our family, or how we “got” our kids. Addie has already had a year of practice explaining to her classmates that she’s got two moms. Thankfully, her teachers are awesome and help her navigate those conversations. And honestly, most people have been really great. Both our families are incredibly supportive. We’ve got a great group of friends which includes a lot of same-sex parents, and our neighborhood has embraced us completely. All these things make it easy to face the challenges and to tune out any ignorance that comes our way.
How do you keep the love alive?
We make time to connect with each other. It’s easy to let the relationship slide under the weight of work commitments and keeping the house together while taking care of three kids, but we make a point to have moms-only time. Date nights are a must. We usually grab dinner and catch a movie. Although sometimes we’re too tired, so we skip the movie and go to Marshalls instead.
We are so so so lucky in this respect. My mom watches our kids once a week, and our friend Tina is our nanny twice a week. I joke that she is co-parenting with us, but she is really incredible. The kids absolutely adore her. Practically every Wednesday since the twins were born, our friend Kate has spent the night and helped out, and at least once a month she and her wife, Amy, spend the weekend or watch the kids so we can go out. My sister and brother also help out, as do many of our friends and neighbors who’ve given us the gift of a date night, watched some combination of the kids while we’ve run errands, or taken Addie when we’ve had to focus on the twins. We feel so lucky to have so many amazing people in our lives.
Describe your favorite family moment.
I love watching the kids interact. Tonight Addie was feeling lousy, and Evan came over to her and just started plopping sloppy kisses all over her face. She giggled. He giggled. Then Kendra and I giggled. A bit later Kate was crying, and Addie immediately tried to soothe her. This was followed by all three of them singing and dancing (and in Kate’s case, wiggling). Those are the moments I treasure. Of course, all of this was followed by Kate having a minor meltdown, Evan crying because I wouldn’t let him in the bathroom with Addie, Addie refusing to eat dinner, and eventually having her own meltdown because Kendra insisted she take a bath instead of a shower, and both twins crying while in the tub. But the sweet moments make the stressful ones bearable, and I cherish all the moments of snuggles, love, “huggles,” kisses, giggling, jokes, and fun.