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Moms may be aces, but when it comes to parenting, any deck is a full one

Happy Day After Mother’s Day.

This morning, a couple of friendly acquaintances on a Zoom asked me how my “Mom-Pop” Day went yesterday. _Did we do something fun with our son? Did he make us a card at school? Is this sort of like a Father’s Day, Part 1, for us? _

It was a sweet acknowledgement and affirmation of our queer family. I could see, too, that they were excited to stretch the meaning of Mother’s Day to include us because they also recognize that my husband Brandon and I are the primary parents. A lovely impulse…

Still, I explained, no. Personally, as fathers, Brandon and I don’t relate to Mother’s Day. It’s a day for moms and those that see themselves as moms, and we like and respect that. We chose to spend our Sunday celebrating the moms in our lives, namely Cielo’s beloved grandmothers, and reaching out to our respective friends and family who are wonderful moms in their own right.

You see, we know that we are our son’s consummate parents without being moms. Papa and Daddy are enough. LGBTQ+ caregivers, specifically, need not overcompensate or aim to fill some sort of void that wasn’t even there to begin with. A family with two dads is not a family with no mom and an extra dad. We are a whole family because we are.

And so, we will look forward to Father’s Day in a few weeks, a twofer that invariably leaves us feeling doubly lucky.

Mother’s Day also got me thinking about some of the superpowers that come with motherhood. Yesterday, our three-year-old Cielo sat at his first Mother’s Day brunch at a restaurant, ordering food and feeding himself like a total mini-human. I was astounded at how much he had grown in such a short period of time. It was only a couple of years ago when nourishing our son meant relying on the generosity of a network of breastfeeding moms, each with limited freezer capacity and infinite love for our new family. Check out Breast Friends Forever, the essay I wrote about out how two men managed to raise their son on mother’s milk. Once again, we salute each and every mom who helped us through!

Ariel Foxman is an award-winning editor, writer, and gay dad. This column is a part of his modern-parenting newsletter “ABBAPAPA”, which you can subscribe to on Substack.

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