Which one is the "real" dad? Is it mommy's day off today? Where did your kid come from? These are just a few of the intrusive questions gay dads tend to receive from people on a regular basis that fall into the category of what we like to call “The Mommy Question.” (Check out this hilarious video we created about this phenomenon back in 2015)
While complete strangers may ask us these types from a place of ignorance, gay dads also get "mommy questions" from a far more important source as well: our own kids. So on our social media channels this week, we asked our Gays With Kids community: Have you ever gotten a version of The Mommy Question? If so, who was it from? And how did you handle it?
Here's what you had to say:
Dad-of-two Jay Bostick said his family has definitely faced those kinds of questions before. “We get ‘Which one is the real dad?’ And also for our son who is Black, ‘Whose child is this?’ Both don’t feel great, for us or our sons,” he said.
Dirk Lehman said he has never had any “Mommy Questions” from his son, but he has gotten it from strangers before. “The best was the woman in church who told my son that he had the most beautiful blue eyes, and asked him where he got them from. He said, ‘My dad.’ She smiled, looked into my brown eyes, and then left looking confused,” Dirk said.
Chagab Bagfra said he does get "the mommy question" occasionally. But, instead of letting it frustrate him, he enjoys turning it into a teachable moment. “I like the question, as it lets me tell our beautiful story of adoption by gay men,” he said.
Dad Nathan Cooper said he and his husband's twins, who were born via surrogacy, know the story of the magic that made them. But sometimes they do make comments about the mothers of their school friends. “When my kids say ‘A kid at school has a great mum and they wish they had a mum the same,’ I say 'Sorry about that love. Yes, she is a lovely mum. Just remember you have 2 loving dads, and many other people who adore you,’” Nathan explained. “[I say] ‘Some kids have [none] or just one parent. Some have a family that looks great, but the dad is mean when they are at home. You only need one good adult to love you through childhood, and you have that in me. I love you so much my heart could explode. We can never have everything all the time, so let's be thankful for the abundance we already have.' They love this kind of talk. I don't deny their feelings, but frame it how it really is without clasping on to any negativity.”
Father-of-two Adam Reisman said he tried to bring up a version of “The Mommy Question” with his kids, who were 6 and 7 when he and his husband adopted them. “There were no questions about the birth mother, even though they hadn't seen her since they were 3,” Adam said of his children. “The few times I tried to bring up the subject, both kids told me that we were the only parents they had <3.”
In a strange way, Proctor Jorge said his own daughter started their family’s conversation around the term ‘Mommy.’ “Our daughter was born through surrogacy and has never had a mommy figure around her. She has never asked about mommy, and since early on we have explained to her how lucky she is because she has two daddies,” he said. “The funny thing is that when she started going to daycare, whenever she would cry because she was in distress (because she would fall or just needed me) she would call for ‘Mommy’ while looking for me. I guess she saw the other kids doing this in daycare, and immediately associated the name ‘Mommy’ with the most important person to her, which in this case it was me. I did not correct her or stop her from doing this, as it was clear that in those moments when she was calling for ‘Mommy,’ she was calling for me. That phase did not last long. Now she is 5, and to her, I am "Dada" and her other father is "Papa" (she figured out all by herself what she wanted to call us).”
In fact, he said they took their daughter’s early days of calling him Mommy and turned it into a celebration of love. “We decided to celebrate me on Mother's Day, as Mr. Mom, while celebrating her Papa on Father's Day. That gives us a special day to highlight each one of us, while she gets to celebrate both holidays. So everyone wins...❤️🤗🥰”
Carl Boyer said in their small Oklahoma town, no one asks him or his husband about their children's biological mother, because most people there already know how bad of a home the kids came from. “We own a business here in this small town, and most show respect since the day we adopted all 4 and don’t ever ask where their moms are,” Carl said.
Ken Blake said he used to get questions about the mother figure, but he said he hasn’t heard a “Mommy” question in quite a few years.
Paul Chan said he also doesn’t really get questioned about the whereabouts of a Mom. “It appears that being gay dads is normalizing now heading to 2022," Paul said. "Of course being from San Diego and Toronto, we are fortunate to be in liberal neighborhoods. Also, thanks to help like Gays with Kids for making it easier for all of us!”
Ricardo Herndon had some super-affirming advice for his fellow gay dads: “It's no one's, absolutely NO ONE'S business as to where is the mother, who is the real father, etc etc. They are YOUR children and no one is raising them but the two of you. Folks need to mind their own business and let kids be loved by their parents, be it two men, women, or single parent.”
How do you respond to "the mommy question" from your kids, friends and family, or complete strangers? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org