Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Being a Dad is Amazing; So Is Being a Husband, a Friend and a Co-Worker

Mark and Jason (aka "The Gay Dads") break down the importance of not losing your former self once you've become a dad

So you finally upgraded to Daddy Dad status and have a little one (maybe more) ruling over the household. The days of sleeping in are over. Weekend getaways and nights out with friends are a distant memory. Brunch? What's that? You're stuck in an endless cycle of diaper changes, loads of laundry and bottle cleaning. Life, as you know it, is over!

We call bullshit.


We recently met up with some friends who we hadn't seen in a while, introduced them to our son, Jett, and caught up on the "what's new" in everyone's lives. They obviously LOVED Jett (I mean, who wouldn't) and were curious to know how our life has changed since becoming dads. Like any new parent, we have gotten this question, or some form of it, since we brought the little guy home. It's one of those formality questions – Is life different? Is it harder? Is it what you expected? Are you sleeping? Is he sleeping? It's like getting a tattoo. People are required to ask, "Did it hurt?" Uh, yeah it did. Side note – if someone answers the tattoo question with a "no" they are either lying to you or you now know they are into some kinky stuff.

Ok, we digress…

Our life has definitely changed and our priorities have shifted slightly, but we are also acutely aware of the fact that we can't allow ourselves to get lost in our new roles as dads. Don't get us wrong, being a dad is amazing! But so is being a husband. A son. A co-worker. A friend. We absolutely love our life now, but we also loved our life before our son. And it's okay to feel that way! Just because a little one enters the picture doesn't mean you erase everything that you once were. When people say, "My kids are my whole life," I want to pull a Cher, à la "Moonstruck," and slap them back to reality. It's not healthy to do that!

Remembering to care for yourself is just as important as caring for your kids. Too many people lose themselves when society decides being a parent is the most important or only role a person can effectively manage. That puts a HUGE amount of unnecessary pressure on you and your partner and it will slowly lead to resentment. There's a way to allow our identities to evolve without having them go extinct. You have to let your kid(s) join you on the amazing journey already started instead of completely starting the journey over.

Some tips:

Keep doing the things you like to do. Just because you have a kid, doesn't mean you have to lose your pre-baby self in the process. Why do we have to give up 'Rupaul' for 'Paw Patrol'? You want to go to brunch? Bring baby along! Yes, things may take a little more planning upfront, but keep doing the things that make you happy! Your hobbies are essential to keeping you sane. You need some time alone whether that is going to the gym (goodbye dad-bod) or going to dinner with your partner. This is especially true for you stay-at-home dads. Honestly, I have no idea how you do it. I bow down to you. I was off for eight weeks and literally almost lost my damn mind – and this is coming from someone who always thought they would LOVE being a stay-at-home dad.

Remember your teammate. You're on this journey together. You got to this point together. Make time for each other. Spontaneity is a little more difficult, but date nights are a must! Lean on each other when things get hectic (because they will). Ask for help. You will be tired. You will be cranky. Just remember how much you loved each other pre-baby because the "it's your turn to change the diaper" game is brutal!

Remember your friends. Yes, it's not going to be late-nights-out-at-the-bar every weekend anymore, but you still need their support and presence in your life. Enjoying adult beverage beverages is still acceptable but we caution you: being hungover with a child is a nightmare. You have been warned.

Your house doesn't have to turn into Toys"R"Us. You will inevitably be surrounded by so much kid stuff, but there needs to be a place for everything to be put away. If there's not, get rid of it. If we have learned anything from years of watching HGTV it's this: Adult Space.

Have fun and don't take things so seriously! Every aspect of raising a child is a phase and it will pass. Enjoy the moments (yes, even being thrown up on) because it goes by waaay too fast. It's cliché but it's true. Jett is already over three months old and we have no idea where the time went!

Hopefully, dads and dads-to-be find our tips helpful and they can use them to hold onto their personal identities in fatherhood. As mama Ru always says: "If you can't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?"

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Single Gay Dad and the City

When Kyle decided to take his four kids, ages 6-11, to New York City on vacation, his friends thought he was crazy.

"You're crazy, Kyle."

"You can't be serious? A single dad taking four kids to the Big Apple? Think again."

"That's bold. There's no way I'd do that."

Those were a few of the responses I heard from my friends as I told them I was thinking of booking a trip to New York City with four kids, ages 11-6. My children's fall vacation from school was approaching and I wanted to get out of the house and explore. Was the Big Apple too much of an adventure?

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Adoption Is a Rollercoaster, but it's Worth the Ride

Erik Alexander (aka Nola Papa) opens up about his whirlwind 3.5-week adoption process.

Adoption is an emotional journey for anyone. Depending on how long you have to wait, that anxiety can be amplified dramatically. In the beginning, we were told our wait could be anywhere from 5-7 years. Just imagine our excitement when we found it could be shrunken down to less than a month!

However, it didn't come without heartbreak. It is crucially important to know that each journey is completely different. Sure, there are happy and excited emotions. But there is also fear, tears and heartbreak. Some adoptions end in failure, without any explanation. But at the end of this journey, when you are holding your new baby, there isn't an emotion I can articulate to convey how complete you feel.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

This Love Story Starts in Provincetown and Ends in Parenthood

Joe Burke explains how his beautiful family of three came to be via a surrogacy journey

Guest post written by new dad, Joe Burke

In typical gay, New England fashion, Peter Stanieich and I met down in Provincetown the day after July Fourth. While there was an undeniable spark between the two of us, it's probably safe to assume that neither one of us expected things to progress the way it did so quickly. Both living in Boston at the time, we ended up regrouping in the city a few days after meeting in Provincetown for a couple drinks. We had so much fun that we spent almost every day and/or night together for the following two weeks.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

One Single Gay Dad's Trailblazing Path to Parenthood Via Surrogacy

20 years ago, Gene became the first single gay man to work with Circle Surrogacy in order to become a dad — trailblazing a path for many others since.

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.

"I think I was pretty naïve, I guess," chuckled Gene, one of the first single gay dads to work with Circle Surrogacy over 19 years ago. "I just had made a decision and went out and did it, and wasn't really thinking about how difficult it might be or what other people thought, being first at doing something."

So how did Gene hear about surrogacy as an option for single gay men? Well, it began with Gene flipping through a bar magazine. He recalls seeing an ad about a woman providing a service to connect gay men with lesbians in platonic co-parenting relationships. While he started down that path, working with the founder, Jennifer, he remembers thinking, "What if I meet someone? What if I want to move? It would create all these complications."

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Gay Dad Life

Karamo Brown Co-Writes Children's Book with Son, Jason

The 'Queer Eye' star and his son named the story on a family mantra: You are Perfectly Designed

When his sons, Jason and Chris, were young, "Queer Eye" Star Karamo Brown repeated the same saying to them: "You are perfectly designed."

That mantra is now a Children's Book, cowritten by Karamo and his 22-year-old son, Jason, who used to come how and "say things like, 'I don't want to be me, I wish I was someone else, I wish I had a different life." As a parent, that "broke my heart," Karamo told Yahoo! Lifestyle. "I would say to him, 'You are blessed and you are perfect just the way you are,' as a reminder that you have been given so much and you should be appreciative and know that you're enough — I know that the world will try to tear you down, but if you can say to yourself, 'I am perfectly designed,' maybe it can quiet out some of those negative messages."

The illustrations, by Anoosha Syed, also make a point of displaying families of a variety of races and sexual orientations throughout the book.

Read more about Karamo's fascinating path to becoming a gay dad here, and then check out the video below that delves deeper into the inspiration behind "You Are Perfectly Designed," available on Amazon.



Change the World

"Dadvocates" Gather in D.C. to Demand Paid Family Leave for ALL Parents

"Dadvocate" and new gay dad Rudy Segovia joined others in D.C. recently to educate lawmakers on the need for paid family leave for ALL parents

On Tuesday October 22, Dove Men+Care and PL+US (Paid Leave for the United States) led the Dads' Day of Action on Capitol Hill. A group of over 40 dads and "dadvocates" from across the states lobbied key member of Congress on the issue of paid paternity leave for *ALL* dads. They shared stories of their struggles to take time off when welcoming new family members and the challenges dads face with no paid paternity leave.

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Gay Dad Photo Essays

Falling for Fall: 33 Photos of Gay Dads and Kids at the Pumpkin Patch

Oh my gourd, it's fall! To celebrate, we rounded up 33 pics (and whole lot of pun-kins) in our annual fall photo essay!

Don your checked shirt, grab them apples, and shine those smiles while perched on pumpkins — it's the annual fall family photo op! A trip to the pumpkin patch and / or apple orchard is a staple family fall outing, and we're here for it. 🎃🍎🍂👨👨👧👦

Thanks to these dads who shared their pics with us! Share your own to dads@gayswithkids.com and we'll add them to this post!

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