Gay Dad Life

Inside the Weird World of Expectations for Gay Dads

At social gatherings with other parents, Grant Minkhorst finds he's often the only father in the room

In my two months as a parent, I've had the pleasure of meeting a lot of new parents. As a gay dad, I am the one signing up for little activity groups and social gatherings with other new parents. I am often the only father in the room. I find myself trying to "fit in" by discussing all of the things that new moms talk about: nap schedules, feeding, baby gear and "that the sidewalks are too narrow!" But there are some topics of conversation to which I cannot contribute (e.g., breast feeding). As a social person, this can leave me feeling a little isolated, almost as if I exist just outside the real parenting bubble. Because being a mom is different.


I have read countless articles on parenting, particularly about the issue of "mom shaming." I've also read their companion articles about the perpetually low expectations that society puts on dads. For example, a mom can be at the grocery store with her children and one is having a temper-tantrum, another is ripping items from the shelf while another is repeatedly asking, "Mom, can I get this?" The mom looks around to see other customers not-so-secretly judging her ("Why can't that woman control her kids?")

Meanwhile, on the other side of the grocery store we have a dad who is pushing a stroller with a sleeping baby. All of the sudden, balloons and confetti fall from the ceiling as the unsuspecting father is surprised to hear that he has received the award for FATHER OF THE YEAR!

Needless to say, the Expectations Game for mothers and fathers is about as fair as a hockey game featuring Canada and Iceland (LOOK AT ME WITH A SPORTS REFERENCE! So butch).

However, I have found the Expectations Game for gay dads to be a little more complex to figure out. It's like there is a heterosexual parenting league and then another league called "Other." Navigating the expectations in the Other parenting league has been challenging, especially as I keep dipping my toes in the heterosexual league. And I think it's because the expectations aren't clear.

As a gay dad, I had (mis)conceptions about what other people were expecting of us as parents. For example, "They're gay so their kid is always going to be dressed so well." I was putting pressure on myself to show that we could handle having a newborn and make it look easy at the same time. With gay parenting becoming more common, I feel as if gay dads put undue pressure on themselves to prove their parenting skills to members of the Hetero Parenting League (and their passionate fans). We share adorable Instagram photos where our child is dressed to perfection while baking a delicious loaf of sourdough bread. See, everyone: we got this! But, after two weeks, I gave up. Parenting is hard and we're not always at our best. I am going to contribute to the parenting community by being authentic, even if it means being judged by members of both the Heterosexual and Other Parenting Leagues.

This may all be in my head (if you took a trip up there, you may not make it out alive), but I think there is some truth to this line of thinking. For years, gay people having children was not an option. Now, through surrogacy, adoption and fostering, more and more members of the LGBTQ+ community are experiencing the joys (and hardships) of parenting. Every few weeks I see another study published with a title like, "Children of Gay Parents Don't Become Sociopaths." Okay, maybe not that dramatic, but gay parenting studies seem to confirm what people from our community have known for a long time: we aren't that much different from you. Some of our kids will be well-adjusted, productive members of society while others will struggle to find their place. These studies can seem like mechanisms to reassure our heterosexual brothers and sisters that there is no need to worry and that our having children will not cause The Apocalypse.

For now, I am going to continue to partake in activities with other new parents. I will share my frustrations and successes. I will analyse bowel movements and feeding patterns of other babies. I will humble-brag when my baby reaches a milestone three days early. But I will not try to hold myself to any standard other than the one that states, I am doing my best.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go and change my baby. The diaper goes on the head, right?

Follow our parenting journey on Instagram @daddypapaandjasper

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Family Stories

Philippe "Swiped Right" on This Handsome Young Dad

At first, Philippe wasn't sure he could date a man who was a dad. But Steve, and his son Gabriel, have helped him realize a "fatherly side" of himself he didn't know he had.

"It's been one hell of a ride since the beginning," said 26-year-old Steve Argyrakis, Canadian dad of one. He was 19 when he found out he was going to be a dad and the mom was already several months along in her pregnancy. Steve, who lives in Montreal, was struggling with his homosexuality but wanted to do the "right thing," so he continued to suppress his authentic self. "I was so scared about the future and about my own happiness, that I had put aside my homosexuality once again."

A couple of months later, little Gabriel was born, and it was love at first sight.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

4 Emotional Videos of Gay Dads Meeting Their Children for the First Time

Watch four emotional videos of gay dads meeting their children for the first time!

"It was love at first..."

"Uninhibited caring and love..."

"It's instant and it's overwhelming..."

It's true. For many of us, those first precious moments are tales we're excited to one day share with our kids, telling them how much we wanted to be their dads. Whether it's tears of joy, a loss for words, a fist pump in the air, or an immediate "I love you," we'll each remember the first time we laid eyes on our children.

Watch these four first moment videos of these amazing dads, and we guarantee, they'll be no dry eyes in the house.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Photo Essays

5 Pics of Ricky Martin In Newborn Baby Bliss

He may be a superstar most of the year, but with a new baby girl at home, Ricky Martin is just a regular ol' dad deep in the throes of newborn baby bliss.

On January 1st, 2019 superstar Ricky Martin and his husband Jwan Yosef shared a post via Instagram announcing that they'd welcomed a baby girl named Lucia into their family.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

Gay Dads Featured in Enfamil Commercial

A new ad for Enfamil showcases two gay men talking about their daughter.

The best kind of inclusion is when you're not singled out but instead included right along with everyone else. This kind inclusion inspires others to pursue their own dreams and desires, just like any one else. As part of our popular culture, we know that brands are uniquely suited to inspire us in this way.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Cooking with Kids: An Interview with David Burtka

David Burtka sits down with us to talk about his new book "Life is a Party."

When you're a young couple it's easy to order in or dine out on a daily basis, but when the kids come along, spending time in the kitchen to prepare nutritious and healthy meals for them can become a problem for some dads. We turned to gay dad and celebrity chef David Burtka who just published his debut recipe book Life is a Party, to get some advice, inspiration, and support as we take our baby steps in the kitchen.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics

Daughter of Married Gay Couple Who Used Surrogacy Abroad Isn't Citizen, Says U.S. State Department

A decades-old law can be used to discriminate against gay couples who use surrogacy abroad.

James Derek Mize and his husband Jonathan Gregg are both American citizens, but their daughter, born via a surrogate, may not be, at least according to the U.S. State Department.

The New York Times took an in-depth look at this case in a piece that ran in the paper yesterday. While James was born and raised in the U.S, his husband Jonathan was originally born in Britain. That may be enough, according to the State Department, to deny their daughter citizenship.

"We're both Americans; we're married," James told the New York Times. "We just found it really hard to believe that we could have a child that wouldn't be able to be in our country."

According to decades-old immigration law, a child born abroad must have a biological connection to a parent that is a U.S. citizen in order to be eligible to receive citizenship upon birth. Children born via surrogacy are determined to be "out of wedlock," according to the Times report," which then requires a more onerous process to qualify for citizenship, such as demonstrating that a biological parent is not only an American citizen, but has spent at least five years in the country.

The intent of the law, which dates back to the 1950s, was to prevent people from claiming, falsely, that they are the children of U.S. parents. But LGBTQ advocates argue this archaic policy is being used intentionally to discriminates against same-sex couples, who often have to rely on donors, IVF and surrogacy in order to have biologically children, and are thus held to a higher standard.

"This is where our life is. This is where our jobs are," James told the Times. "Our daughter can't be here, but she has no one else to care for her."

Read the whole story here.


Popular

Couple That Met at the Gym Now Spotting Each Other Through Fatherhood

How two real New-Yorkers became two soft-hearted dads

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

Byron and Matthew Slosar, both 41, met ten years ago at one of New York City's Equinox gyms. "I asked him for a spot on the bench press," smiled Byron. The couple were married September 22, 2012.

Surrogacy was always the way Byron and Matthew wanted to become parents. They chose to wait and become dads later in life, until they had established careers and the financial means to pursue their chosen path.

They signed with Circle Surrogacy after interviewing a few agencies. "We immediately connected with their entire staff, particularly Anne Watson who lovingly dealt with my healthy neuroses on the daily for 1.5 years," said Byron. "They definitely personalized the service and helped us understand all 2,000 moving parts." The dads-to-be were also very impressed with how much emotional support they received from Circle.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse