Question: Mom and Dad?

Tree asks…

I want to have kids one day, but I fight a constant internal battle about whether I’m going to be their mom or their dad. How would I effectively convey that I am a bit of both?

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on July 16th, 2011 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 8 comments »

8 Responses to “Question: Mom and Dad?”

  1. Atticus

    I think parenting is only gendered incidentally, like because by default most of us have cisgendered, heterosexual parents, but in application, I don’t see that it actually matters. Gender stereotypes aside, what matters is being there for your kids and raising them to be good people. My parents are your default hetero, cis people, but my mom is a football fan and my dad taught me about my emotions…it’s all about being you and loving the kids. Names, roles, they’ll present themselves in time.


  2. Steve

    Just be yourself, your kids will be able to sort it out for themselves. When they have questions, answer them openly and honestly. That’s all there is too it. Love them and be honest with them and they’ll be fine. Teach them to love by being loving. Teach them openness by being open. Teach them kindness and generosity by being kind.

    You are perfect, they will be too. :)


  3. LQ

    I assume what you’re really asking about is what you might be called by your child. I would say that just having them call you by your name is a good solution, but I also came up with a solution for a fictional genderqueer person I’m writing about… hir children call hir “mapa” as a name that’s halfway between mama and papa.


    ROBin replied:

    I LOVE this! I will be using that one day :D


  4. Courage

    As long as you’re good to them and not “Mad,” I don’t think it’s that big a deal. Just truly be yourself and raise them to be aware of gender diversity. The best way to teach values is to live by those values. If you embrace it they’ll know how, too.


  5. Tree

    I once read about a Transgender woman who began her transition when her sons were between 4-7 years old. She said she was fin being called “Daddy” because she didn’t associate gender with the role- and it was what her sons had- up until that point- called her

    It was her 7 year old that pointed out “You’re a woman now, you’r not a daddy” (small children from hetero cis-sex families often use the terms “Mom and Dad” as interchangeable with “Woman and Man”)

    Anyway, the boy decided that his new mother couldn’t be called “Mommy” either because they already had one- so he said”You’re a Maddy, now.”

    So she was called Maddy.

    I like the idea of using first-names- like Atticus FInch in To Kill A Mockingbird- It actually feels more respectful, but also more intimate. I’d rather be called by my Name with love than by a Family-term with spite.

    Other ppl have used words from other langauges that mean “Parent” so it’s gender-neutral, or a combo of both words (like Morfar – norwegian for “MotherFather).

    I know of a woman who goes by Daddy, evn though she identifies as a woman. I know of a “Baba” which sounds feminine but actually means “Daddy” in some languages.

    I read about a step-dad who raised his step-daughter, but didn’t want to take the place of her “dad” so he had her call him a cutsified version of his name- his name was Tom, so she called him Tommy (She had a Mommy and Tommy :) When asked why she called her dad Tommy, she would say “Lots of people have Daddies, but only *I* have a Tommy”

    The best one I’ve heard so far was “Folky”- a cis-dad whose kids started calling him Folky when they were little (it’s a really long story…). It’s gender-neutral and works- because we often call our parents “Folks”.


  6. Jessica

    Labels, labels, more labels… I have never seen such a group of people so obsessed with labels as transfolk. Parents come in all types, sizes and conditions. Having two loving and supportive people as your parents is what is important. What their genders are, what their roles are called, etc these are all unimportant.


  7. Brae

    @Jessica: Well…yeah. If the labels that people have been raised with don’t reflect who people are, then…yeah. It’s kind of common to think about/talk about/deconstruct/reconstruct labels under those circumstances. I mean, that’s kind of a privilege 101 conversation. Also, it’s easy to say “labels are unimportant” or “don’t matter,” but people push back in spite of that and that’s why people ask these questions. Kids still get beat up, even though labels don’t matter. Parents still get judged, even though labels are unimportant. I mean, just read the responses to the parents who are raising their baby, Storm, without such labels. That kind of pushback IS a big deal.

    @Tree: Remember that instead of always feeling like you have to give the perfect answer to your child(ren), you can also ask questions back to them and have them come up with their own answers. Kids as a whole love using “Why?” You should feel free to do the same and encourage them to think through their ideas instead of just feeling like you need to tell them what to think. Kids have amazing ways of looking at things and it’s also a great way to keep your own thought process open, flexible, and creative. :)


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