Being a parent is one of the most rewarding experiences ever. Before someone has their first child, they often hear all kinds of stories from friends, family members and even co-workers about sleepless nights and how much life changes. Soon-t0-be parents and new parents might find the tales nerve-racking since having a baby is both exciting and kind of scary. They might shrug some comments off and think, "That's totally not going to happen to me. I'll still go out all the time and live my life the same way." Of course, life does change a lot, and parents will always say that it's definitely for the better. Nothing can really be compared to the feeling of holding one's child for the first time and seeing them grow up and become who they're meant to be. Talk about beautiful and amazing! Even aunts, uncles, and cousins who have younger kids in their lives can agree with that since they have experienced some awe-inspiring moments.
Every parent goes through similar things, and that's true of same-gender parents as well.
But there are some unique experiences that same-gender parents go through. The following 20 struggles are things that have uniquely affected these parents.
20 Worrying About Kids Being Bullied
When one becomes a parent, we definitely wonder whether our child is going to get bullied once they start elementary school. It's a sad and unfortunate fact that kids can be really mean.
Same-gender parents worry that their kid will get bullied because they have two moms or two dads. As one person shared on Reddit.com, "[I worried] that my children would somehow end up 'paying'" for this. They continued, "the youngest says he lost a friend or two over it but doesn't care because he 'doesn't want to be friends with someone that blindly believes the hate they are taught anyway.'" (What an amazing kid.)
19 Moms Are The "Default" Parent
It's easy not to realize that when we look around, we see all kinds of images and information about moms. When one is in a same-gender relationship and one decides to start a family, the messaging around and focus on mothers becomes super obvious.
As one guy shared on Reddit.com "My partner and I (both men) have two kids together: a girl (6) and a boy (4). Honestly, the biggest hurdle we've had to overcome would be the default assumption that the 'main' parent any child has is their mother. I can't overstate how ever-present this is." He shared that even moms are prioritized on forms and teachers mention moms more than dads. This can be really hard on both the kids and the parents.
18 Having A Kid Is Really Expensive
If people know one thing about having kids, whether or not they have started a family yet, it would be this: babies and children are expensive. From diapers to products to clothing, from food to saving for college, there are a lot of things that cost money.
In the case of same-gender parents, the process of conceiving the child seems to be the most expensive thing, or at least it's up there on the list. Someone shared their story on Reddit.com and said, "Biggest hurdle was conception. It can be extremely expensive, and the longer it takes, the higher the costs."
17 Finding Other Relatives To Explain Certain Things
It makes sense that if two dads are raising a daughter, their kid would start wondering about female things like periods after a while. Of course, the home is full of love, but it's a struggle figuring out how to talk to your child about something that you don't have firsthand experience with.
One person shared on Reddit.com that they have female relatives who have agreed to talk to their daughter about these topics, which is awesome: "...we casually and openly discuss health concerns in a matter-of-fact way... then provide her with an assortment of products and instructions on how to use them. We will make it clear that she is welcome to discuss it with us or with any of her female relatives (with whom we have cleared this in advance) at her leisure."
16 Having To Jump Through Hoops
Same-gender parents struggle with having to jump through legal hoops that other couples don't have to deal with.
In a Reddit.com thread, one person said that they couldn't have their twin babies in their hometown of Virginia so they drove to Washington because they wanted to be able to adopt them. They said, "I'm still waiting for VA to recognize our marriage for things like health insurance as each of us can cover the boys and ourselves but not our spouse – which means we lose 1000s of dollars per year. That's the hardest thing. Working so hard to deal with what are simple things for most straight couples."
15 Sometimes Not Being Open About It
From a kid's perspective, sometimes there isn't a lot of openness about growing up with same-gender parents, and that can definitely be a struggle. It can be tough on them because they just want everyone to know and they love their parents.
Someone who grew up with same-gender parents shared on Reddit.com that people called one of their moms their aunt. They said, "The only thing different was that they weren't very open about it... I grew up in DFW in Texas. I told a lot of my friends at the beginning but then their parents wouldn't allow them to play with me, so I went along with the 'this is my aunt' thing. It always sucked though. My parents are and were great parents. It wasn't fair for me or for them to have to conceal that."
14 Some Legal Confusion About Being Seen As The Parent
An article in The Toronto Star from May 2016 talks about how tough it is for same-gender parents to each be legally considered the mom or the dad. When a baby is born in a Canadian hospital and the birth registry has to be filled out, the system only wants one parent to write their name down.
As one woman who was interviewed for the story said, “We have equal marriage rights. We also need equal parent rights.”
It's a real struggle since it would take a while for the laws to change (if they even are going to be) and even a couple that uses a donor has to actually adopt the child in order for it to be legal.
13 Mother's Day Is Awkward For Kids Of Two Dads
Growing up with two dads is absolutely the same as growing up with one dad and one mom... except when it comes to a holiday like Mother's Day. Both the parents and the kid find that to be a struggle.
One dad posted on Reddit.com and shared that when it comes to what is tough about being a same-gender parent, "Our daughter is 2000% done with our dad jokes for the most part. And Mother's Day is coming and she feels awkward with all the advertisements. Feeling bombarded with advertisements and sales workers to buy 'That Perfect Gift for Mom.'" That definitely sounds like a difficult thing to go through and it also seems unfair.
12 Dealing With People Thinking That Females Are More "Motherly"
Thankfully, dads are stepping up to the plate when it comes to parenting their children, and it seems more common these days for dads to cook and clean and be active parents than it was a few decades ago.
But even so, it seems that society assumes that women have maternal instincts, with no male counterpart. Someone brought this up on Reddit.com: "For whatever reason, the assumption is that women are better caretakers, and therefore men could not fulfill that motherly role, which is obviously not true." This assumption must be particularly tough on families with two dads.
11 Your Kids Getting Asked Strange Questions
You would hope that a kid would never come up to your kid and ask a question like, "Who's your main mom?" But that's exactly what happened to someone who shared their story of having same-gender parents on Reddit.com.
They continued, "The hardest part is, now that I'm 23, when I talk to people who are significantly older than me, they just don't get it." She saw a friend from school and their mom asked, "So, who was your main mom?" It would definitely be hurtful and upsetting to hear someone ask you that question since, of course, both parents are your parents and there's nothing else to say on the subject.
10 You Wonder What Your Children Should Call You
Many parents posted on Reddit.com and said that while straight couples don't have this struggle because one parent is called "mom" and the other is called "dad", that changes with same-gender parents.
Does your kid call you both mom? Do they call you both dad? Should they call one of you "mama" and one "mom" or how should it work? These are common questions that parents ask themselves and it seems like something that everyone can relate to. There is no one "right" or one-size-fits-all answer and it seems like an individual decision that each family has to make for themselves.
9 Judgment From Family Members
You hope that as you grow up and make big decisions in life, your own family will be supportive and caring about your decisions. When you're deciding what career to pursue, or who you want to start a family with, family support makes us feel like we're making the right decision. Well, that's the hope. That, unfortunately, doesn't always happen.
Someone shared on Reddit.com that when their kid asks about their dad or wants to know why they don't have a father, their family says things like "I told you so."
That's definitely not very supportive (or even supportive at all) and would be a tough thing to have to deal with. No one deserves to be asked questions like that.
8 Heartbreaking Comments/Questions From Your Kids
When you're a parent, you never want your children to suffer or face any kind of adversity, even though, of course, you can't control that at all and everyone has ups and downs in life.
A common struggle that many same-gender parents (and their kids) face? That you'll hear heartbreaking comments and questions from your kids and there won't be any simple answers.
One parent shared on Reddit.com about their child, "The other night, he told me between tears that he misses dad and feels like there are things he needs that he can't get from two moms, though he couldn't articulate what."
7 Teaching Your Baby That They Have Two Moms Or Two Dads
Your baby's first words are typically "mom" or "dad" (or, probably more accurately, "mama" or "dada" since babies don't tend to be able to speak super well at first). Maybe you get kind of annoyed when your baby says your partner's name before yours, but that's generally all that you think about it.
When you're a same-gender parent, you have to teach your baby to say these words but you also have to make it clear that you're both the parents.
This isn't an upsetting struggle like some of the others on this list, of course, but it's still something that many parents go through and many have shared stories of on Reddit.com.
6 You Hear Mean Jokes/Comments From Friends Or Other People
You would hope that people are open-minded enough to barely bat an eyelash that you're a same-gender parent and that no one thinks that it's a big deal at all. You would hope that... and yet that's not always the story.
From Reddit.com, it's clear that many parents hear really mean comments from people that they know or even people who they consider friends. This must be a jarring experience. People make jokes that definitely aren't funny and they don't seem to realize how upsetting and hurtful their words are, which is confusing and strange but seems to be fairly common.
5 It Can Be Tough To Find Other Same-Gender Parents Nearby
According to many posts on Reddit.com, it's difficult to find a community of same-gender parents for some people. Some couples even wonder about moving somewhere else because this is something that, of course, matters to them, and it's much easier to have a caring and compassionate group of parents who you can relate to and feel a part of things with.
One person who lives in L.A. said, "My wife and I are seriously considering a move to an area with a higher percentage of same-gender couples who are raising children together. We know they exist in our city, but they aren't very active in a community way."
4 Adoption Can Be A Stressful, Overwhelming Process
From forums on Reddit and the Toronto Star article mentioned above, it seems that one struggle that most same-gender parents experience is that they have to adopt their kids in order to be legally considered the parent. Or if they want to adopt and that's the way that they want to have children, they would have to go through an adoption process. According to one website, "More than 16,000 same-sex couples are raising an estimated 22,000 adopted children in the United States."
That's not an easy process by any means since it can involve lots of time and money and a complicated legal system. It can be stressful and overwhelming.
3 You Can Feel Isolated If You Don't Know Any Families Nearby
There are all kinds of resources for mothers in their town or city, from mom groups at local community centers to music classes for kids where the mothers bond. These types of groups and gatherings aren't generally marketed for same-gender parents, and if a same-gender parent lives in a rural area that is really small, they might not know anyone who they can relate to.
This was one struggle that was brought up on Reddit.com and it seems like some parents can't find a community who they can bond with and talk to and just generally go through the ups and downs of parenting with. That's definitely a shame and would make you feel really isolated.
2 You Wonder How School Will Go
Let's face it, school is tough on any kid, but it seems to be a particular struggle for children who have same-gender parents. This is even truer if they live in a smaller town.
Someone shared their experience on Reddit.com and said, "It was very difficult for me during school, because we lived in a rural area where people were more conservative. It was always [a struggle figuring out] who to tell and what to tell. That was kind of annoying. I even had friends who were no longer allowed to be friends with me when their parents found out that our household included a lesbian couple."
1 You Worry If Your Children Want To Go To Something Religious
Parents posted on Reddit.com and said that this was something they had to deal with when their son wanted to go to a party that was religious. They worried about people making comments.
This is an unfortunate reality for kids in same-gender homes and it really shouldn't be a thing that anyone should even have to think or worry about. Hopefully, people will become more open-minded and this won't be such a common experience. All you can do as a parent, of course, is control what happens at home and be there for your kids if they do face some upsetting comments or have a tough experience.