When an eight-year-old asks, "Who's the real mom?"

No one asked them. Toronto, circa 1972.

No one asked them. Toronto, circa 1972.

I've got a million strategies — some more effective than others — for dealing with invasive questions about my family. But what happens when the questions come from kids? That's the topic I take on in my most recent Today's Parent post

I can easily see how the subject could become contentious: Forcing a kid (or a grown-up) into an inane conversation peppered with unanswerable questions seems like a surefire recipe for frustration, or worse. I, for one, do my best to be matter-of-fact and move on. Because, frankly, either you get queer families, or you don’t. If you do, we generally don’t need to explain the more philosophical questions about exactly what constitutes a “real mom.” And if you don’t, well, then you’re generally not looking for answers to your questions. Too often, you’re trying to get me defensive about my family. And I have better things to do than defend my family’s reality against people who can’t really deal with the fact that it exists, right there in front of them. Reality bites sometimes, dude.
But I will talk to kids, because kids do what kids do, which is test, and ask questions, and gauge from your words and your openness and your body language just how comfortable you are with a given subject. When kids ask questions—questions they already know the answers to—they’re trying to figure out the bigger picture, to solidify their own place in the world relative to everyone else’s, and see how we all fit together.

Two nice counterpoint to this whole discussion are my blog-girlfriend Casey Casey-Brown's recent post on SheKnows: Stop Asking Me Where I Got My Daughter, and Vikki Reich's (to whom I am blog concubine) article "How many moms does she have?" on VillageQ.