Gay Dad Life

What's the Difference Between a "Dad" and a "Parent"?

Being a dad is awesome. Being a parent is hardcore.

I have already begun to notice a clear distinction between being a dad and being a parent. As a dad, I get to play with my kids, show them love in fun, caring way like smothering them with hugs or performing impromptu singing concerts which fortunately they have no developed the vocal ability to critique. As a dad, I can be the shoulder they cry on, the face that makes them so easily light up, the dude who swings them around, tosses their little body of my shoulder as we embark upon another adventure. Being a dad is unbelievably rewarding and connects me to my twins in a way I know will bond us forever.


So then there is the parent thing. And, I guess, yeah - being a dad is being a parent. Sure, there's that. But I'm a big kid at heart and I don't know if my overly eager, imaginative spirit will ever grow up. And, quite frankly, I don't want it to. So being a parent, for me, is the inevitable grown up side to fatherhood.

Somewhere along the crazy road of surrogacy and welcoming our then newborn twins, an agreement had to be made. It's a decision I never was formally aware of, one I still don't know when or how it happened. But at some point I agreed to being a parent. A serious commitment to do for these two little humans better than I ever did for myself. I agreed to face my demons, my fears, my phobias, my irresponsible and totally self-serving side - face it all head on so I could be the best parent possible for them.

A balance is necessary in fatherhood, the balance of dad and parent - of the mentor and guide. My inner child had to join forces with my inner adult so I could lay a foundation of love and security.

I could play all day, could easily live within my weird little mind and show our kids the world. Open their eyes to art, music, food, nature - the endless opportunity of boundless excitement all within our fingertips. But I also have to provide a feeling of safety, of trust and balance. I can show them that the dark is nothing to fear, even though I may be petrified myself (I'm sure my husband is laughing right now. I have been known to turn all the lights on when he is away on business). I can show them it's OK to cry and feel emotions, that a bump on the head isn't the end of the world (even though I may have had a minor anxiety attack when my son fell face first out his stroller onto a cement floor).

Listen, the sight of full on diarrhea would normally make me want to hurl - but somehow as a parent, a switch is flipped. It's business as usual and I have to handle things I would normally run from - face responsibilities I would otherwise scoff at. Constant cleaning, feeding, scheduling, maintaining, wiping, soothing - all the while still showing them I'm their dad, not just their parent. And vice versa.

While as a person who naturally can dissolve in front of a television or get lost in my own world for hours on end, as a parent I made an agreement to make sure my babes are taken care of in mind, body and spirit. Still making time for my own sanity and balance. But as a dad I want to show them all the magic of getting lost in fantasy and exploring personal freedom without consequence.

It's a tightrope of choice that seems to come so naturally when just realizing one day how grateful I am to be their father. How lucky my husband and I are to show these two baby birds the whole world, while still protecting them from it until they choose to fly on their own.

It has been an eye-opening, soul-searching experience that has only just begun. One that just kind of works itself out if you're willing to be the best you can be. And, honestly, sometimes that means asking for help so you can walk away for a few hours to recharge. Other times that may mean doing three loads of laundry while cleaning 12 bottles, making baby food, walking the dogs, then getting the kids ready for a bath.

But breathe easy, have fun and always remember how freakin' cool your kids are.

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In the Bay Area? Sign up now for the next Men Having Babies Conference taking place this January 12-13!

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The article quotes a local clinician as saying on the show: "I think it's crazy that gay couples, but also women who have medical issues, have to go abroad to fulfil their desire to have children, while all medical and technical expertise and knowledge is in house."

Dutch gay couples may still face some legal headaches, however. According to Dutch Law, Pink News writes, the person that gives birth to the child is the legal parent. While the law was updated in 2014 to allow a non-biological lesbian parent to claim guardianship over her child, no such accommodation has yet been made for gay couples. They will still need to seek a court's approval before gaining legal parenting writes until the law is changed.

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Tip Number 1 – Try to prepare your own meals with fresh ingredients. Doing so gives you better control over the amount of sugar, sodium and cholesterol you and your family consume.

Tip Number 2 – Experiment in your kitchen with herbs and spices you haven't used before. Some items we've added in recent years include cumin, tarragon, curry, turmeric and ginger. Start slowly, though, you can always add more next time.

Tip Number 3 – Use veggies instead of pasta to get more veggies in your diet. We like spaghetti squash, zucchini and beets for this purpose and toss them with our favorite sauce.

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Recently, Gays With Kids received the following message via one of our social media channels:

"Hey guys, love what you do. But where are your stories about bi men who are dads? Do they not exist? I get the sense from your page that most queer dads identify as gay. I identify as bi (or pansexual) and want to become a dad one day, but just never see my story represented. Are they just not out there?"

We can say with resounding certainly that YES bisexual dads absolutely exist. In fact, of all the letters in our acronym, far more LGBTQ parents fall into the "b" category than any other.

But our reader is certainly right in one respect--we don't hear the stories of bisexual/pansexual dads told nearly often enough. While we occasionally find stories to tell about bi dads, like this great one from earlier this year from a dad who just came out, we otherwise aren't often finding stories of bi dads nearly as easy as we do gay dads. We're sure this is due to any number of reasons--societal pressure to stay closeted from both the straight and LGBTQ communities along with erasure of bisexuality both come to mind.

But it's also because we haven't done the best job reaching out specifically to the bi dad community! We hope to change that. So if you are a bi man who is a father (or wants to become a father) and in a relationship with a man OR woman (or are single!) we want to hear from you! Click here so we can help tell your story and increase exposure for the bi dad community, or drop us a line at dads@gayswithkids.com!

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