Sex is a part of life, even when you’re a parent.
Maybe it isn’t as much a part of your life as it was before, or maybe you’re lucky, and it’s still a big part. Regardless, it’s still there, no matter what your sexuality. Gay, straight, bi, pan, or anything in between. Having children doesn’t change that. And it shouldn’t.
Unfortunately, it can and does, for some people and in some situations.
I’ve been a parent for over 24 years, but I’ve been myself for almost 42. Becoming a mother changed things in my life, added another aspect to who I am, but it did not magically make me a completely different person.
Nor should it.
I don’t fit into the hetero-normative ideal of being a mother/parent, and I never have. I was not married, nor in a relationship when I gave birth to my oldest child. I’ve never been in a long-term relationship with my oldest child’s father. For lack of a better term, it was a one night stand with someone I knew quite well.
I got a little closer to “normal” with my second child, as I was married to his father. But I also had a girlfriend. Yes, at the same time. Yes, he knew. No, he wasn’t involved.
After my first divorce, I dated women almost exclusively for a time. My children knew, and saw this as normal. Normal for US. I’ve never hidden my sexuality from my children. I’ve never made it weird or something that needs to be shushed up around family or friends. This has nothing to do with where I’ve lived or worked, either. I’ve had homophobic bosses, I still have homophobic family members. I’ve had dealings with Child Protective Services due to comments made to teachers and the like.
None of that stopped me from being me. None of that stopped me from being a good parent to my children. Contrary to bigoted, typically Christian opinion, two women or two men can raise children just as well as a man and a woman. The sexuality of a child’s parents has absolutely nothing to do with their ability to raise them.
I did not want my children to ever think that however they identified, sexually, gender wise, or otherwise, was something they had to hide from me, or the world, ever. So how could I take what would have been the easier road and hide who I was and still am?
I speak only from my own personal experience. I have friends, good friends, who’ve had to hide who they are for the majority of their lives. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which are violence against their person, loss of rights, loss of their children, and even the potential for loss of life.
Not everyone has the ability to stand up and fight. I did and still do. So, it’s my responsibility to do so, not only for myself, but for those who can not.
There have been people in my life that have come and gone, due to my openness about sexuality in general, and my support for others. Quite honestly, I say good riddance. No matter how much you feel, as a person and a parent, that you need people in your life for support, there will never come a time that allowing those who are going to judge you in, is worth it.
Whether it’s about your sexuality, or other choices you make in your life, you’re teaching your children with everything that you do. Why not teach them to be who they are, instead of what society expects them to conform to?
Because after all, being yourself, to the best of your ability, is all that you can do.