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 ()
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Why This Gay Dad Always Dreaded Parent-Teacher Conferences

With his kids well into their twenties, Jim Joseph gets nostalgic watching friends post back-to-school images of pics of their kids trick-or-treating. One thing he doesn't miss though? The dreaded parent-teacher conference.

I know that social media has gotten a lot of flak in the last couple of years, mostly because of its political tendencies and political, shall we say, drama. Sure, I'm acutely aware of that. But there's a part of social media that is still exceedingly fun and rewarding, and I've been enjoying it a lot lately.

It's been so much fun seeing all of my friends and colleagues with their families during this year's back-to-school and Halloween festivities. School uniforms, backpacks, bake sales, fundraisers, and, of course, Halloween costumes.

I'm getting the chance to relive the years when I did all of that when my kids were young (they are now well into their '20's now!). I miss it. A lot.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Women Recount Reasons Why They Served as Surrogates in Moving Essays for Marie Claire Magazine

"We've gained an extended family," Nichole Vaughan said of the single gay man to whom she served as a surrogate

In a recent article for Marie Claire, five women who have served as surrogates recounted their experiences in personal essays for the magazine.

"I have a sister who's 11 years younger than I am, who has a heart condition, and has been advised not to carry for herself," said Nichole Vaughan, a 33 year old women in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. "I've always wanted to be a surrogate for her. Since she's not quite settled down, I decided to be a surrogate for someone else first, learn to separate myself. Make sure my body could do it."

The intended parent she ended up carrying for was a single gay man. "We've gained an extended family," she said. "The first time the gentleman came up and met my kids, who were 9 and 4 at the time, he told them, 'I'm going to be your cousin in Miami.' That's how my kids refer to him. They're like, 'I have a cousin in Miami.'"

Nichole went on to give advice to other women considering serving as a surrogate. "I wouldn't do this if you don't have a very supportive group of friends and family. If they're not there in the beginning, then it'll be a very difficult road. We had to travel [to Miami for the transfer] so I needed my children watched. My doctor required me to stay flat for 72 hours afterwards, so you have to account for that as well. Some people stay in a hotel, but fortunately, that's where my intended father lives, so we stayed with him. It was a good way to bond."

Now that Nichole has successfully served as a surrogate, she still plans to do the same for her sister one day. "I'm very excited to do this again for my sister. I may even do it again for somebody else; I'm tossing that around. I really enjoy it. I love being able to bless somebody else."

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Why I Pursued Surrogacy as a Single Gay Man

Joseph writes about the events in his life that led him to choose surrogacy as his path to parenthood as a single gay man.

I don't even know where to begin. When people say lost for words, I never truly understood it until Friday, April 19, 2018. Email notification, "Test results. Positive. Congrats." Four words that completely changed my life forever.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

Salt Lake Gay Couple Behind Viral Wedding Proposal Become Foster Dads

They've gone viral, appeared on Ellen, and were married by Queen Latifa. What can top all that? Fatherhood.

Photo credit: Tiffany Burke, Follow Your Art Photography.

Over 5 years ago, you might remember seeing an amazing proposal that took place in a Home Depot in Utah. With the help of close friends and family, Spencer organized an incredible flash mob to sweep Dustin off his feet. If you did see it, you're one of the 14 million viewers who did. (If you have been living under a rock, you can see the video below!)

The fiancés quickly became an overnight sensation thanks to this unbelievably romantic stunt. They even appeared on Ellen and were given engagement gifts. (You know you've made it once Ellen starts giving you stuff.) Dustin and Spencer were also part of a symbolic wedding ceremony with many other couples who were married during the 2014 Grammy's event, by Queen Latifa, while Macklemore sang "Same Love."

And for their next act? Fatherhood.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

9-Year-Old Girl Starts Successful Jewelry Line With Help of Gay Dads

Riley Petersen is 9 (!) and already a Creative Director, with the help of her gay dads

Riley Kinnane-Petersen is 9 years old, enjoys playing tennis, being with friends, has a pet cat, and lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her two dads, John Petersen and William Kinnane. She's also the official Creative Director of a successful jewelry line she founded with the help of her dads. Two years ago, John even quit his day job to assist in the day-to-day operations of the jewelry company.

What began as a long road to adoption for William and John, has become a thriving creative business, and more importantly a family.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

New Children's Book Explores a Different Kind of Gay Fatherhood: Doggy Dads

Pickles + Ocho is a real life story about two French bulldogs in a family with their two gay dads.

Guest post written by Dan Wellik

Pickles + Ocho is a real life story about two French bulldogs in a family with their two gay dads. It tells the story of how Pickles' life changes once his new "baby brother" Ocho joins his family. The themes in this story are important ones – families come in all shapes and sizes, all families look a little different than the next and diversity and inclusion should be celebrated. I have always felt strongly that children need more exposure to LGBT families and wanted to add my voice to this very important conversation.

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

This Gay Dad's Search for Reliable Surrogacy Info in Canada Led Him to Share His Own Story

Grant Minkhorst scoured the Internet for reliable info, relevant to Canada, but found "slim pickings."

When my husband and I decided that we wanted to start a family, we scoured the internet for information and resources about gay parenting. As many of you already know, it was "slim pickings," as Grandma would say. I stumbled from one website to the next with little to show for it. When I wanted to learn more about surrogacy specifically, I would repeatedly end up on surrogacy agency websites. While some included relevant information, I noticed large gaps and a countless inconsistencies. Not only that, but many of the agency websites were based in the United States where the surrogacy process differs from that in Canada. The search for a dependable resource for would-be Canadian gay fathers was frustrating and, seemingly, futile.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

FOLLOW OUR FAMILIES

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse