Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Discovers: Being a Single Parent is Hard AF

With his husband in New York working on an exciting new TV show, this LA-based dad gains a new appreciation for single parents.

When my husband Alex tells me he's going to be home super late, I have my go-to routine. I give our son a bath; we read bedtime stories; I tuck him in and then I go downstairs to raid the freezer for some dinner (Ben & Jerry's). Then I go down a vintage Whitney Houston rabbit hole on Youtube. Then I might check out a few other *ahem* websites, before finally falling asleep.

But what happens when Alex tells me he's going to be home in a couple of months? Now that's a very different story… with more Ben & Jerry's involved than I care to admit.


Earlier this Fall we received the exciting news that the TV show Alex is producing was picked up to series. This was an amazing accomplishment — something he worked so hard and so long for. However, the show was set to be filmed in New York and we live in Los Angeles. That meant that I would have to take on full-time parenting responsibilities for long stretches of time while Alex was on set 3,000 miles.

First off, I'm incredibly proud of Alex for getting his first TV show produced (It's called Dickinson and stars Hailee Steinfeld and Jane Krakowski — it'll appear on the new Apple network sometime in 2019). He's so committed to his craft and he totally deserves this huge opportunity. That said… I knew all this time away was going to be challenging for me. No, not because we're co-dependent (which we are) and not because I can't live without him (which I can't) – but because I have my own high-pressure, full-time job that requires my attention 24/7. As a Creative Director in the world of advertising I am always on call for my clients. Try explaining that to a seven-year old who wants to play every second of every day.

Both of us have certainly traveled for work before — leaving the other to fend for the family — however, never for months at a time. This was something new that was going to need some getting used to. In other words, this was going to be hard AF.

Here's a little background. Alex and I have been 50/50 parents from day one. We are both extremely hands-on dads. We each put in roughly the same amount of work and time when it comes to our family. That was something we promised each other before Maxwell came into our lives to avoid potential feelings of resentment down the line. And for the most part, this is the first time that arrangement has been tested.

As Al's shooting dates neared, we made a list of all the additional things I would be taking on. New for me would be getting up at 5:45 when Max wakes up (Al's always been a morning person). I'd also be responsible for making him breakfast, making his lunch for school and making sure he's prepared for all his afternoon activities (tennis, Lego club, Karate, etc). Typically Al would do Max's morning routine while I take on the evening routine. But now, I would be doing both. I totally got this, right? Wrong.

Evenings would prove most challenging. I had to have a talk with my boss about leaving the office by 6:00 p.m. every night so I could get home in time to relieve our nanny by 7pm… with the promise that I'd continue working from home after Max goes to bed. Fortunately my office acquiesced (not that they had much of a choice).

Then there were the weekends. We over scheduled ourselves and stayed really active, because when Max is inactive — a.k.a. bored — he tends to act out. So there were several weekends in a row of me and my little guy… with no breaks in-between. 90% of me loved every second of it, but damn, that other 10%... I found myself offering friends hundreds of dollars to watch Max for a few minutes so I could poop/scream/shower/sob in peace.

During those four weeks we stayed very busy, had lots of fun, lots of laughs, lots of time-outs, lots of cuddles... and not lots of sleep. But through it all, we some how managed to become even closer. But I learned firsthand just how challenging it is for single parents… especially parents with more than one child. I have so much more respect for them, knowing what they go through every single day. They should all be wearing an S on their chest, because, in my opinion, single parents are superheroes.

This time apart from Al has made me appreciate him even more for everything he brings to the table. We could never do it without him and we're so lucky to have him in our lives. It sounds corny, but it's true — I love the guy so freaking much.

Also, I want to give major props to Max, who has handled this transition like a big boy. Because this is just as hard for him as it is for me. He doesn't have the other dad to run to when this dad disciplines him (and by discipline, I mean two Oreos instead of five). Plus, he has to deal with my wavering patience and limited time to play cops and robbers. His behavior has really impressed me. In fact, he's down to biting me just twice a day. Baby steps.

Oh, and Al, if you're reading this — and what kind of husband would you be if you weren't — you so owe me big time for holding it down! And I will collect. Some how. Some way. I will collect.

In the meantime, I've got a few more weeks of solo Daddy duty.

Pray for me.

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

Gay Muslim Single Dad Writes Op Ed on His Path to Self Acceptance

Maivon Wahid writes about the challenges of reconciling three separate, but equally important, identities in an opinion piece for Gay Star News

Maivon Wahid, a gay Muslim single dad living in Fiji, wrote an opinion piece for Gay Star News about the challenges he's faced on his road to self acceptance.

"I feel pressure on how I am supposed to behave and how I am perceived," he wrote oh how these competing identities play out for him, day to day.

Maivon described himself as an "odd" kid, who never quite fit in--something he still relates to today as an adult. "When I enter the masjid (mosque), I am always judged and questioned," he wrote. "Sometimes it's curiosity, but sometimes it's borderline bullying." He said he found a way to be both gay and Muslim, three years ago, when he met an openly gay Imam at a conference in Australia. "It was through him I was able to first appreciate who I was, then love who I had become and celebrate it."

Being gay in Fiji, he says also makes him feel the need to hide certain parts of himself. "In Fiji, I find the need to hide so many aspects of my authentic being," he wrote.

He also wrote of complications familiar to many single gay men who became dads from previous straight relationships. He writes: "As a single parent to the most beautiful son – I was married to my ex-wife for nine years – learning to become and celebrate the person you want to be is about more than just me; it's a legacy I want to leave for him and the next generation. Although it's hard to meet like-minded people (my dating life is non-existent!), in being myself, I believe I can show others it's OK to be you, and to love whoever you want to love."

Ultimately, despite the challenges he's faced, Maivon says he has found a way to reconcile these three identities into one. "Whether you're gay, Muslim or a single parent – or all three – there is a place and space for everyone," he wrote. "I have found my place in Islam, and am comfortable being the best version of gay I can be. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise."

Read the whole article here.


Gay Dad Life

Gay Dad Settles Discrimination Suit Against LA-Based School

A single gay dad claims an LA-based school did not adequately protect his two daughters who were reportedly bullied on account of his sexual orientation.

According to MyNewsLA, a single gay dad settled his suit against an LA-based school, Pressman Academy of Temple Beth Am. The man, who is unidentified, alleged that his two daughters were discriminated against in the school on account of his sexual orientation.

Identified only as "John Doe" in the complaint, the single gay dad reportedly grew up in Israel and chose Pressman Academy for his daughters "because it is supposed to be the best school that would instill those same values in his children." The school apparently took issue, however, with John Doe's sexuality.

According to the suit, teachers and other staff members at the school repeatedly asked the sisters to bring a "woman figure" to the school's Mother's Day celebration, for instance. School staff also did not intervene to prevent bullying of the daughters, one of whom was reportedly called an "orphan" because she lacked a mother, and teased to the point of telling a school therapist that she was contemplating suicide.

The terms of the settlement were not made public but the girls, thankfully, now attend another school.

Gay Dad Family Stories

After Four Years on a Waiting List, a Chance Encounter at Work Made This Adoptive Dad's Dreams Come True

After a chance encounter with an adoptive mother at his workplace, Andre Barros finally had the family he'd always dreamed of

After four long years on an adoption waitlist, Andre Barros wasn't sure if he'd ever become a dad. But a chance encounter with an adoptive parent at his place of work changed his life forever. Things began to move quickly. Within a few months, he was in a hospital room with his son's birth mother, cutting the cord, and giving his son his very first kiss.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

Judge's Decision in NY 'Compassionate Surrogacy' Case Involving Gay Dad Overturned

Though compensated surrogacy remains illegal in New York State, "compassionate surrogacy" arrangements are remain legal

Last week, an unanimous four-judge panel, part of the New York Appellate Division in Brooklyn, New York, revived a gay dad's petition to adopt his son born via surrogacy. The dad, identified as "Joseph P." in court documents, had earlier been denied his petition to adopt by a Queens County Family Court Judge, John M. Hunt. The Queens judge denied the petition because compensated surrogacy contracts are illegal in New York. However, the child born to Joseph was born via "compassionate surrogacy," meaning his gestational surrogate was not compensated.

The Appellate court's decision, written by Justice Alan D. Scheinkmanm called Hunt's decision "clearly erroneous," and held that a new Family Court judge should re-hear the case.

Judge Hunt's decision is all the more confusing since Joseph had actually already become a father via surrogacy in New York—three times over. In each instance, he used donor eggs and a friend serving, voluntarily, as the gestational surrogate. He had his first child in 2012, and then twins the following year. In all three instances, a Family Court judge granted Joseph's adoption petition, given that each child was conceived via "compassionate surrogacy," meaning no money changes hands in the course of a surrogacy journey between carrier an intended parent. This type of surrogacy arrangement is not illegal under to New York law. The social worker in Joseph's latest attempt to adopt, Gay City News noted, also gave him a favorable review, calling him "a mature, stable, and caring person who intentionally created a family of himself, the twins, and John."

Gay City News notes: "Justice Scheinkman provided a careful description of the laws governing surrogacy in New York. The Legislature provided that surrogacy contracts are unenforceable and treated as void. However, the only surrogacy contracts actually outlawed are those where the surrogate is compensated. It was clear to the Appellate Division that the Legislature did not mean to outlaw voluntary surrogacy arrangements, merely to make them unenforceable in the courts. Those who enter into a compensated surrogacy agreement face a small monetary fine and people who act as brokers to arrange such agreements are liable for a larger penalty. There is no penalty for voluntary, uncompensated surrogacy arrangements."

Read the full article here.

Entertainment

How Fatherhood Has Impacted Tom Daley's Diving Career for the Better

British diver Tom Daley, and new-ish gay dad, is looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in South Korea.

British diver Tom Daley is currently in the running to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in South Korea, his fourth if he competes, at the young age of just 26.

But he also has another concern that most young gay men his age couldn't fathom—fatherhood. He and his husband, filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, recently welcomed Robbie Ray via surrogacy in June 2018.

In an interview with the Independent, Daley explained how fatherhood has changed his routine and training, which he says is often for the better.

"It has changed my life completely in all of the best ways possible," Daley said. "It has changed my perspective, the way I think about things. [My son] is the most important thing in my life, everything I do is for him, everything I think about he is at the forefront of everything."

With respect to his diving career, Daley continued, "if you have a bad day at training, or a good day, you are grounded immediately when you get home through the door because you are having cuddles or you are having to change a dirty nappy. It is the first time that I have been able to leave diving at the diving board and not think about what I need to the next day in the pool."

Whatever the challenges he faces while training, he said, "I can leave it there because you don't have time to think about diving when you are looking after a kid under one."

The strategy seems to be working in Daley's favor. He recently enjoyed his most successful FINA Diving World Series ever this past Spring in Canada, winning 12 medals across five events. And barring any major catastrophe, he is overwhelmingly expected to qualify for South Korea 2020.

And we can't wait to cheer the young dad on!

Change the World

One Gay Dad's Fight Against Hate in Superior, Nebraska

Brian Splater is refusing to let homophobic and transphobic elected officials in his town go unchecked

Millie B. Photography

Guest post written by Brian Splater

No one ever should feel they will have a very lonely and secluded life as a child. But that is something me and many other gay kids believe as they are growing up.

The truth of the matter is there are people who will try everything in their power to have our rights go back in time instead of forward. It is very disheartening when these people are elected officials, or they are people who use their place of employment to spread their disgust and hate.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics

America's First Gay Dad Governor Heads Into the Lion's Den

Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently became the first elected Democrat to speak at the annual Western Conservative Summit in Denver

Last Friday, American's first gay dad Governor, Jared Polis, became the first elected Democrat to speak at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, where he urged the Republican crowd to help him build a "Colorado for all."

"While we should never gloss over the things that divide us, there is a lot more that unites us," Polis said. "When we close ourselves off from discussion or debate, and we reject the possibility of hearing and understanding other perspectives, it threatens the fabric of our democracy."

If he was hoping for a Kumbaya moment, he didn't exactly get it. As he was called to the stage, he was greeted with a smattering of applause—while others booed and shouted for a "recall" of the Governor.

"It was almost unbearable for me to sit there to listen to his talk," Abby Johnson, one of the event's attendees, told the Denver Post. "And I'm going to tell you why. He kept talking about equality for all persons, yet we live in a society where 60 million innocent human beings have been slaughtered in the name of choice. Where is their justice? Where is their equal rights?"

Polis was also criticized from his left flank for attending the same event that refuses to let the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay GOP members, participate—and that featured Donald Trump Jr. as a speaker the same day. "To me it feels like vanity," Katie Farnan, a staffer with progressive group Indivisible, told the Denver Post. "He can go and be a hip Democratic governor who isn't afraid to go into GOP sanctuary. Or maybe it's recall insurance. But unless he was there to hold them accountable for their support for fascist and racist policies, what's the point?"

In response to the criticism from both sides of the political aisle, Polis told the Colorado Sun: "I think it's very important that Coloradans of different ideologies, different races, different geographies, different orientations and gender identities all really celebrate that we're all part of what makes Colorado great."

The event is hosted each year by Colorado Christian University to bring together conservatives from around the state, and the larger West.

What do you think, dads? Was Polis's decision to speak at the event a savvy political move or mere pandering?

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse