Beginnings, Celebrations, Father's Day, Mother's Day, Parenting

Gay parenting isn’t so straight forward …

My family

This year our young man started a new school and with it, I’ve found that issues that previously didn’t matter to me .. now do. They do because they will ultimately have an impact on or affect our young man, who just happens to have two dads in a “world” where the norm is to have one mom and one dad.

I recently blogged about how his class’s ‘class mom’ addressed the class’s first letter to the parents and the other about Mother’s Day. The communication to the parents has definitely changed, as it’s now addressed to the Dads AND Moms, I’m totally grateful for that. I’d like to think that even after our son has left the class and the school, that it remains the norm. I’m sure we’re not the only gay family that will pass through the school’s gates or any school for that matter. Johannesburg and South Africa is evolving insofar as the number of same-sex family households.

Although I found that the class teacher’s inclusion of hubby and I in this year’s Mother’s Day celebration was progressive and most appreciated by us, somehow it felt like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole as a result of the activity that was chosen for the ‘moms’ on the day. If our son’s grandmothers lived close by, I have no doubt that we would have made a fuss over them. As it is, the only fuss was the one hubby experienced on the Friday leading up to the Sunday of Mother’s Day. Surely, the companies that popularise all these money-making days for us to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day etc. have realised that the number of same-sex households has grown. Why don’t we have an international Parent’s Day too?

South African Occasions and Public Holidays 2016 Thanks to Netflorist
South African Occasions and Public Holidays 2016 Thanks to Netflorist

The United Nations proclaimed 1 June as the Global Day of Parents, which also happens to be International Children’s Day so that doesn’t fit. Former US president Bill Clinton signed into law in 1994, Parent’s Day, celebrated on the fourth Sunday of July annually. South Korea is another country that celebrates Parent’s Day annually on the 8th of May. Seeing as we already follow so many trends that the US establish, why not embrace the fourth Sunday in July too, as Parent’s day here in South Africa? As there would  then be a Parent’s Day, there would essentially then be no need for separate days to celebrate a specific parent. No child would be made to feel “odd”, no parent would need to keep their child home because the school was making a fuss over a parent of a specific sex. On Parent’s Day, as long as you are a parent or playing that role in a child’s life, you are celebrated! No awkward situation for teacher, school, class parent or the child. To be honest, a constant reminder to our son and us that we’re not conforming to what society deems normal.

Doesn’t that make sense?

It’s 2016, look around decision makers in government and large retailers that target families for these occasions. There are more and more households with same-sex parents, single dads (not necessarily gay) playing the role of the primary caregiver to children. The traditional roles of female or male caregivers have evolved. It’s time society evolved too and included same-sex parents and/or single parents by embracing the idea of Parent’s Day.

Dad’s fend for their children in the same way mother’s do. We kiss and hug them when they come running to us with tears, we clean their grazed knees or elbows, put on the plaster(band-aid) and fuss over them so they don’t focus on the pain. Some dads, like hubby and I experience the “joys” of the first tooth cutting, deciding when best to move to introduce solids. We shop for new clothes, cook for them as they move onto solids, make sure they are always clean, comfort them when there’s a need, go through sleepless nights when they have fevers and all else that was before considered a mother’s chore only.

There’s also a need for public facilities at malls, petrol stops along the highways, border posts or any place really that now only has a toilet facility for mother’s to change their child, plus a women’s, men’s and handicap toilet to be more inclusive and replace the mother and child sign to one that includes both sets of parent and a child. The new malls here in Johannesburg, South Africa already do this. It’s time that the other facilities outside the main city hubs also adapt. When our young man was under a year old, still in nappies, we stopped at the Wimpy near Heidelberg as we travelled to Durban. This is a popular pit stop for families travelling on this route. We had to basically walk all the way back to our car and change him on the back seat of the car because the nappy changing toilet was linked to the ladies toilet.

A shout out to all the major South African and international retailers that make such a huge fuss over Mother’s and Father’s Day here in South Africa. Woolworths, Dischem, SPAR, Pick nPay, Checkers, CNA to mention a few, instead of separating parent’s into categories, why not be progressive and discard the other two dates for one Parent’s Day say on the last Sunday of July or as it’s all about the bottom line now, with our Rand depreciating so rapidly, start embracing and recognizing parents in general by educating society at large that we’re all parents regardless?

Our society is evolving, let it be more inclusive…


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5 thoughts on “Gay parenting isn’t so straight forward …”

  1. I fully agree with you on this “Parent’s Day” celebration. A parent is a parent, whether you are a mom/dad or a man/woman.

    1. Exactly, I really don’t see the need to make it awkward for not only opposite sex parent but more importantly for the child that must be made to stay at home because they don’t have a parent that fits the mould for the specific day being celebrated. If you read the story of how for example Mother’s Day came about, today’s celebrations are nowhere near what the woman who started it had envisioned. 🙃

  2. Let’s hope somebody reads this, listens and effects change for those coming after us…would be a cool legacy don’t you think ?

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