The Invisible Lesbian Mom

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Being a mother is literally the hardest job I have ever had to do. Add being a lesbian mother who was married to a man and had children with him prior to coming out on top of that, and you have the makings of a decent Lifetime movie.

Up until the last couple of years, my children attended Catholic School because the public school in our area at the time was basically destitute and did not even have books for the kids to study from. Sending them to a Catholic School was also somewhat comforting to me because I liked the idea of smaller classes and more structure. However, I knew being an out lesbian was going to be tough in this environment. Sadly, the Catholic Church isn’t one to welcome the LGBT community with open arms.

I ultimately became the “single mother” who never seemed to have a boyfriend. To other mothers I was, “so pretty, I don’t understand why you are still single?” I would attend Parent-Teacher Conferences alone, even though I was very much in a committed relationship with my partner (who is now my wife), because I was so afraid of the teachers, faculty or parents finding out I was gay and that my kids would somehow be chastised because of it. I would attend every school function by myself, even though I was not alone.

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In the beginning it wasn’t too difficult to act “not gay.” I say it that way because I certainly wasn’t acting straight. The other moms seemed to like me and would invite me to their social gatherings or ladies night out events. It was nice to have “friends” whose kids were friends with my kids. It made me feel good. I simply avoided the conversations of dating, marriage and men! If I was asked directly, I would answer with, “Oh, you know, I am pretty shy about my dating life,” in hopes that would suffice as an answer for the time being. Other mothers would try to set me up on blind dates, “I know the perfect guy for you!” It quickly began to be more work being around these people than I anticipated, not to mention I started to resent the fact that while they were all enjoying their husbands company at their kids events, I stood alone on the sidelines wishing my partner was there to see our son score his first run in baseball.

One day I decided enough was enough. I was tired of being the “poor woman who can’t find love!” I told my partner she was coming with me to their football games that Saturday, I didn’t care what anyone thought. “Just don’t touch me in front of anyone. And don’t look at me. And don’t buy me any snacks or they will know for sure.” I was so paranoid! Lucky for me, my wife was just as concerned about the well-being of the kids as I was and she went along with whatever I thought was best for them. At first everyone was very sweet to my “friend” and I was so happy to have her there with me, even if she had to pretend to just be my friend for a few hours. She began coming to more and more events until there wasn’t one activity she missed. Yet over the course of those months, the invitations from the other mothers started happening less and less. The conversations about the kids homework or who was taking who home after practice started dwindling. Pretty soon the only contact I had with these women was a wave from across the parking lot. They knew—and they didn’t like it.

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There was a part of me that was disappointed in the actions of the other mothers. I wanted so desperately for my family to be accepted and treated as any other family at that school. Yet I also knew that in order for there to ever be a change for my family or future LGBT families to come, I needed to continue to be a positive face wherever I could. I continued to volunteer as homeroom mother, chaperone for field trips and coordinator for school picnics even though I had a fear that one day someone would say to me, “You are not welcome here.” My wife continued to be by my side at sporting events, class plays and band concerts. While we were not shouting from the rooftops, “We are here and queer,” we were no longer acting like we weren’t and people took notice. While I wish I could say the experience left us conquering the minds and hearts of the catholic school moms, but that was not the case. However, slowly, they began to acknowledge “us” instead of just “me.” To me, that was a victory because for the first time, I was no longer the single mom who couldn’t find a man. I was no longer alone.

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