Categories
Family LGBTQ+

What Not to Say When Your Child Comes Out

Happy Pride Month, ya’ll! I don’t know about you guys, but I am absolutely loving the rainbows everywhere. They are all over my social media feeds and hanging from most of our local stores. This year, I have been even happier to see all the recognition of the different sexualities and genders under that rainbow flag. People are proudly proclaiming their Pan/Demi/Ace/etc. identities, and it is beautiful to see!

I wish I had the courage as well to share my own identities with the world on my personal social medias. It may shock you all to know that this little outspoken blogger is quite the introvert in real life. I was past 30 before I finally allowed myself to acknowledge my bisexuality. It took a few years more before I stopped second guessing myself and fully embraced it. But I have yet to shout it to the heavens for all to hear. My mostly conservative family would not approve, so to keep the peace as much as possible, I keep that part from them.

Sass, on the other hand, thankfully doesn’t feel the need to hide who she is. At 13 yrs old, shortly before her 14th birthday, she casually dropped that she maybe liked boys AND girls. Then a few months later, narrowed that down and dropped boys from the picture all together. And ever since she has embraced her identity wholeheartedly. She wears the Lesbian flag pins her sister made proudly on her school bag. She came out to her friends and their families, all of whom embraced her wholeheartedly as well.

Crumbs is still figuring it out. She is 12 yrs old now, and has not showed any interest one way or another. Which is great for us (what parent wants to think about their babies liking people and dating?) But she has shared that she knows she isn’t straight. She is queer, just currently undefined. And there is no rush for her to define it. She will tell us when she knows. We trust her to figure it out for herself.

So it’s been nice to see all the pride posts this past week. And even nicer still to come across a small handful of posts about coming out. A friend proudly shared their newfound realization of their own sexual identities after coming across some new terms they learned this month. And a few fellow moms shared joys and concerns over their kids coming out. These are the ones that stuck out the most because of my own babies.

The posts themselves were simple: just a mom sharing her worries and asking for support and guidance from others after their child came out to them. A majority of the comments were just that: supportive and full of wonderful affirming guidance. They were the kind of comments you would hope to see. Moms pouring loving into another mom facing a brand new path she hadn’t seen coming.

But then there were some that weren’t so supportive.

“They are still young, they don’t know what they like yet.”

“It’s all over the media right now, it’s practically a fad.”

“It’s cool to be queer/gay/trans/etc. now. They’ll change their mind later.”

“It’s just a phase.”

What the actual… Are we still doing this?

If we do not question or dismiss a child in things pertaining to the straight/cis narrative, why do we question and dismiss them when it’s outside that narrative? We laugh and fawn over elementary kids saying they have a girlfriend/boyfriend, or when they walk around the playground holding hands. But as soon as those same kids hold the hand of their new crush who is the same gender, or they say they feel like their gender and sex do not match, we clutch our pearls and say it’s just a phase. They don’t understand. They couldn’t possibly know their own identities in terms of gender or sexuality.

Churches do the same thing. Kids are called to accept Christ during Sunday School and youth groups and Vacation Bible Camps. But if they share any part of themselves that is outside that straight/cis narrative, they are too young and don’t know what they are saying.

So let’s just clear that up, shall we?

It’s not a phase. It’s not the cool thing to do. They know better than anyone else who they are.

Saying otherwise is damaging. Damaging to your relationship with that child, damaging to their self esteem and image. And damaging to their mental health. Don’t be that person.

Be better. Be there for your kids. Support them. Research has shown that kids who have support are less likely to struggle with mental health issues, and less likely to commit suicide. Supporting your child, believing them when they say they are gay/ace/trans/etc. can be literally life saving. If you need help in finding ways to support your child, check out The Trevor Project. They have so many resources available! The CDC website also has a list of links to several other helpful sources, like GLSEN.

So consider this your Pride Month PSA. Believe your kids when they tell you who they are. Because they absolutely know their own identities, be it gender, sexual, or faith based. They know. So, love them, support them, and believe them.

Categories
Family LGBTQ+ Polyamory

What A Children’s Book Got Right About Representation

Representation matters. We all know it.

I’ve mentioned it in other posts. It’s a part of my why. It’s important for others to see and be seen. In all areas. It’s why we have a push to feature more girls/women in STEM careers. Why having LGBTQ+ and BIPOC members elected to our government is so powerful. It’s why I shared my excitement over 2 small cities miles away from me that are now recognizing domestic partnerships between more than 2 individuals.

There are so many blogs, websites, and social media accounts devoted to polyamory and other ENM relationships. But in fictional media that representation is lacking. A lot.

Representation in TV & Film

Movies and tv shows try. But they usually fall into harmful or downright wrong stereotypes. Books tend to mostly skip us over, unless you’re into science fiction or high fantasy. And it’s not because the demand isn’t there. Search through any polyam group, or even ask google, and you will see so many requests for recommendations on good polyam storylines. A read through those lists or comments nets you the same ones over and over. A good polyam movie? Profession Marston and the Wonder Women. A good polyam book? Stranger in a Strange Land. A good polyam show? Crickets. Some episodes might be shared from a few popular shows. Or you’ll hear about series featuring polygamous families, like Big Love or Sister Wives. But it’s mostly crickets.

The problem with some of these suggestions is that they are not the healthiest examples. In the cases of Big Love and Sister Wives (and others like those two), they feature polygamy. Or more specifically, polygyny. This is not the same as Polyamory. It does and can fall under the non-monogamy umbrella. But it is more associated with those who hold more fundamental religious beliefs. Other suggestions feature their polyamory in less flattering ways that include cheating or affairs, as well as other red flag practices that those in the community hate. (I’m looking at you, The Good Doctor.)

Representation for Kids

And when it comes to children’s media? Forget it! We are starting to see more stories featuring or about same sex parents. Which is great! Kids need to see their families represented in the media they consume. It’s just as, if not more, important for them than it is for us grown ups. But what about those kids who have multi parent families?

Enter A Color Named Love, by M. Ellery & illustrated by Clara Reschke.

my copy of A Color Named Love, fresh out of the package.

You guys, this book is so cute! I first heard about it months ago when I came across the kickstarter campaign for it. And have been anxiously awaiting the day it would be ready for purchase. That day came this month, and I quickly snatched up my own copy.

A Short Review

It is the story of a little girl named Anna, who wants to know about Love. Through her eyes, we meet the grown ups that form her family. There are 4 of them, and each one shows her a different side of Love. You see the world in a myriad of colors through Anna’s joy and wonder.

The representation in this book is amazing. It is not obvious or obtrusive. But it is woven into every page. There are families of every size, shape, and color. There are little doodles nodding to polyamory or proclaiming Love is Love. And the entire book is illustrated in this beautiful soft rainbow motif.

Seriously you guys, I cannot say enough wonderful things about this little children’s book. The author and illustrator have created a beautiful story. And given representation to so many kids growing up in a polyamorous family. I encourage you to go buy a copy for yourself, and to talk to your local library about obtaining their own copies. You can shop for A Color Named Love here.

If you’re craving a little more adult polyam representation, you can check out my resources page.

You’re Turn!

Let me know what you think below. Is there a kind of polyam representation you would like to see more of? If you’ve read A Color Named Love, what did you think of it? Do you have other books/movies/podcasts you’d like added to our list?

Categories
Family

How I Keep My Polyam Family On Time

After a year of lockdowns, and an abundance of time on our hands, 2021 has come in deciding to shake it all up. These past 4 months have given us more things to do and take care of than the time to do them in. So how do we manage it? Google. Prayers. Dry erase calendars. And bullet journals. But mostly Google.

New things

Late last year I started a new job. A quiet, fairly cozy office job that gave me two things: income and time away. I love my family, that should go without saying. However, I am a hard introvert. I require alone time to recharge from peopling. This new job gives me that. It gives me a break from the all day peopling of being a mom and girlfriend and metamour 24/7. It allows me to be me for several hours a day. Granted, there is still a lot of peopling involved in my job. And there are days I come home utterly exhausted, wanting nothing more than to sit in my bedroom in the dark and quiet for a good hour. But overall, this job and the time away it gives, is a huge blessing. I am a happier and a more present mom, girlfriend, and metamour.

The girls started new school schedules this year as well. Two days each week in person with their peers. Plus, Sass added after school clubs to her day. And both have decided they had had enough of social distancing and not seeing friends during the worst of the Pandemic. They have both been social butterflies (within a small group of equally covid-conscious friends.) Now all of this requires coordinating drop offs and pick ups for the both of them at various times. Thank God for Lovey taking all of this on. And thank God for Bats, who has been available and willing to sit with Munchkin when these pick ups happen during nap times. 

Unexpected changes

Bats, as ya’ll know, moved in with us this year as well. With that comes learning and adjusting to a new person’s schedule. Finding ways to adjust your own schedule to make sure everyone has time with each other in the various configurations, and by themselves. The move also came with a fairly large project that required it’s own scheduling. It was not something any of us were expecting, but that all of us are excited for when it is finally finished.

Boyfriend left his previous jobs at the end of 2020 and dove headlong into a new one. He has also been spending more time in his Dad role with his own kids, something he hadn’t had as much time for with his previous jobs. And getting to see how much happier he is this year has been so nice. It’s enough to make a girl fall in love all over again. But of course, with everything between the two households, finding time for just me and him has been tricky.

So how do we manage all these different schedules now? Google. And the All-Mighty Dry Erase Calendar.

For the love of planners

In my former life, I was an avid planner user. I loved shopping for the perfect new planner every year, and finding the perfect new pens to go with it. Going to the office supply store, or my local Target, and flipping through all the options to find the one that had the right mix of monthly and weekly pages, the right aesthetic, the right size… It was so much fun, and something I looked forward to every time. (I know, I’m a bit of a nerd.) 

In January 2020, I decided I was going to try my hand at Bullet Journaling. I was feeling extra creative after watching way too many Youtube videos of people designing their spreads. Not to mention the mountain of ideas I had from scrolling Pinterest boards dedicated to art of it all. 

Things were going great. I was drawing and coloring and tweaking and, most important, actually using this beautiful planner. And then… Coronavirus. My last spread was for April. I even got cheeky and themed the month with little Coronaviruses all over each page. Poor thing never had a chance. 

This year, I think I’ll pick it up again. We’ve gotten busy. I’m starting to feel that creative itch again. So we’ll see. Maybe May will see the revival of my beloved bullet Journal. To be used in conjunction with my current method: the All-Mighty Google Calendar.

Trusty calendars

Now, if you’re not familiar with Google Calendar, where have you been? (Just kidding!) It is easy, convenient (doesn’t everybody have a gmail address now?), sharable, and it let’s you color code every little thing. I love color coding! Each person in the house has their own color. Even sets of people have their own color. For example: the kids. This little group of 3 humans has 4 colors! Between Lovey, Bats, and myself, we have 5 colors! Its fabulous! Makes it so easy to read at a glance to see who has what going on when. 

Of course, this all carries over to my Dry Erase Calendar too. The poor thing was being used most of last year. It made it further into 2020 than my poor BuJo. But eventually it got tired and just fell off the wall. And none of us had the mental energy to put the big empty calendar back up to remind us that we still couldn’t do things. But this month! This month it made it’s return!

April 2021 looks a lot different than April 2020. Our lockdowns and restrictions are lifting. We have vaccines! School is mostly back in session. We are making plans again to do things with our close friends and family. Our household has grown, and our polycule too. Life is slowly returning to a new version of what it was before. So it’s time to dust off those calendars, remember those passwords, and make those plans!

Sound off!

How do you guys keep your family plans straight? Are you a digital calendar user? Prefer traditional notebook planners? Or some combination of everything? Share your tricks below!

If you haven’t subscribed to our newletter, you can do so below. I’ll send you some printable stickers to add to your planner for all the Queer Holidays coming up.

Categories
Family Polyamory

Big Family, Little House. It’s Time for an Upgrade!

Have you ever seen that meme floating around? I’m talking about the one that points out the absurdity of buying a house (or renting one) with less than three incomes. It makes a good case for polyamory in just a few short words without meaning to. I imagine, for people without kids and those three incomes, it is probably easier to find a house. Certainly more affordable. And, depending on your dynamics, a small house of 2-3 bedrooms is easy enough to come across.

The trouble appears when you are a polycule of 3 adults, 3 kids, and multiple pets. All of whom like their space.

Our current home dynamics

Currently, there are 6 humans living under our roof. Bats, Lovey, and I, plus the kids. All cramped into a small 3 bedroom house. Granted, the plan was not for Bats to move in at all until we bought a home large enough for all of us. But sometimes things happen and our timelines get adjusted. And having Bats with us these last several months has been so amazing. Not to mention a nice little test run to see how we all get along 24/7. (Hint: fabulously! Read my metamour gush for a look at our special relationship.)

So now we are trying to bump up our house buying timeline. We have all realized that we need more space.

The reasons we need a new house

Reason One

We have 2 teenagers. And they are currently sharing a room. Their personalities are just opposite enough that this causes more discord than harmony. Especially on weekends and school breaks. Our Covid Quarantine has not helped.

Reason Two

Munchkin is sharing his room with Bats’ office. They work from home 5 days a week. And most of that time is speaking on the phone. Toddlers are not great at keeping quiet during work hours. Or any hours really. They are small beings whose only desire is to make as much noise as possible at all times.

Reason Three

This may be a little TMI, but it’s my current reality. And a huge consideration for us. Queen sized beds were not meant for 3 grown adults to share. And bedroom sets, with their two dressers and two nightstands, aren’t designed that way either. Sure, there is the occasional night when someone has insomnia and stays on the couch to let the others sleep. Or when someone has the opportunity to spend the night at another partner’s house. But those are exceptions, and do not happen on any regular schedule.

Reason Four

The pets! We now have four cats. Sure they seem small and easy. Cats sleep all day right? But anyone who lives with these little fluff balls knows the truth. They take up a lot more space than you’d think. Plus, Bats’ poor doggo, Barkley, isn’t with us. He was sent to live with Bats’ brother for the time being. No fenced in yard at our current home and the already cramped space made it a better choice for him. And don’t worry! He is quite happy and loved where he is. But we miss him. And wish he could with us too.

The steps to getting that house

Step one: Get our credit in gear. They should really teach these things in school. Credit scores can make or break your house buying. So of course, they are easy to tank and hard to build back up.

Step two: Get pre-approved for that mortgage. And make that wish list. Need a kitchen island? Hate open floor plans? Write it all down! Nothing is too much or too silly. It’s a Wish List. But make sure as you’re writing these things down that you know what is absolutely not negotiable. For us, that is the number of bedrooms.

Step three: Start looking. Now Bats and I already are, and have been for quite a bit. That’s what Zillow is for, right? To look at homes and dream. Or laugh. So far though, we haven’t found a whole lot of options. Part of it is budget. We know what we can afford and refuse to go over. Part of it is that wish list. We know what our musts are and what we can compromise on. And part of it is our local market. It’s a seller’s paradise here right now. Homes are being sold in days for over the asking price, time and time again. With most being listed over our budget or right at the high end of it, we are priced out from the start.

But we have hope. We have steps one and two to get through first. And we are not looking for a perfect house. Just a home that gives us all a little more space to stretch. It’s out there, waiting for us. I believe we’ll find it sooner, rather than later.

Categories
Family Polyamory

How A Surprise Pregnancy Brought Us All Closer

In June of 2017 I met Boyfriend. In August I found out I was pregnant. The next nine months would prove the most important in our polyamorous journey.

Boyfriend and I connected online, through a dating app of all places. And it was a click that happened almost instantaneously for both of us. We spent the next month texting back and forth, marveling at the ease with which it was to talk and joke and laugh and tease. And then we had our first date. And the physical sparks flew, adding to that instant connection. We marveled at it all. At how crazy it was that we hadn’t known each other for longer, because it certainly felt like it. At the fact that we were so connected, on so many levels, so quickly. And at how those lovey-dovey feelings were starting to develop even then, so very very soon after meeting.

And then a huge curveball. A regular doctor’s appointment at my local Planned Parenthood to re-up my birth control. And instead of the super fun exam I got a piece of paper that said very plainly: PREGNANT.

Son of a Bucket! That was certainly unexpected.

So, how was this going to work? How much do I tell my new person? A person I had not called my boyfriend yet. Our relationship was 3 months in, barely. And yes, the connection was there and amazing and there were feelings starting to stir, but… a baby? That can change a lot, everything.

Not to mention the effect it would have on my relationship with Lovey. A new baby was not something we were planning on anytime soon. We had just started this polyamory journey after some very Dark Years. We were still honeymooning, it felt like. And boom. A new little life was starting, threatening to upend everything we were working toward rebuilding.

But let me tell you… Munchkin has been the biggest blessing on this journey with Lovey & Boyfriend.

Familiar & unfamiliar territory

Lovey and I had been down this road before. So we quickly fell into the roles we knew: pregnant mom & expectant dad, happily anticipating the new arrival and counting down the weeks and milestones. This time we even had Sass and Crumbs to get excited with us. And boy did they!

Boyfriend and I… Well, as I said, we hadn’t even labeled anything yet. But I needed to be honest and let him know. Those crazy pregnancy hormones would show up eventually. So I pulled up my big girl panties, and broke the news that I was pregnant. And he took it in stride. He was on board to fill whatever roll I needed or wanted him to fill. And those changed often throughout the next 8 months. I’m pretty sure I fell completely in love with him at that point.

In a matter of months, we went from a family of 4 to a family of 6. Because by the time Munchkin made his debut, Boyfriend was a part of my family. He was fully in. There was no backing out. And Lovey was on board with it all too.

There were certainly some hiccups. Being Boyfriend’s schedule made it hard enough for us to see each other on the regular. So finding extra time to spend with all of us was tricky. But it didn’t stop anything. We had the uncomfortable discussions over text when we couldn’t all be together in person. And we shared pictures and updates everyday. It was exhausting, but it was so worth it. He got to be a part of it all. And I got to share that amazing 9 month journey with 2 men I truly loved.

One lucky little duck

Munchkin is lucky. He came into this world with so many adults loving him. So many adults waiting for him. He wasn’t the last piece in our puzzle, but he was an important one.

Then several short months later, Bats found us. And there was this whole new person who fell in love with Munchkin. They quickly became another staple in his life.

He will grow up, surrounded by a large family full of love. Two big sisters ready to move heaven and earth for him, and take on anyone who dares be mean. Four adults who fill the roles of parents and caretakers, that will watch over him for the rest of our days. And all of the extended family from this core group. That is one lucky little duck.