You don’t know how desperate you are for adult friends until you try to make them. As a newly out queer adult at 32, I was mostly interested in dating and figuring out how I as an individual woman fit into the larger world of queer women. Being a single mom, I was less interested in making mom friends of any kind, honestly. When you’re a single mom, having mom friends who are married is kind of exhausting. You’re at two different places in your lives — while you have the commonality of motherhood and maybe friendship outside of that, your priorities are different. They have a spouse: someone to pick up the slack, to watch the kids, to bitch about. And it’s hard to make single mom friends because…who has the time to socialize?
It wasn’t until I entered a relationship with my now fianceé that I even began to think about what making queer mom friends would look like. The pandemic was still raging, so it wasn’t easy. And it’s not like there are many meetups advertised that are geared specifically for queer moms — even in Los Angeles. I was finally ready to build my two-mom squad, and then I was stumped. Where are all the queer moms hanging out? Are they hanging out without me? Soon, I found my answer — they’re on social media.
Well shit, I thought to myself.
Let me be abundantly clear: I am EXTREMELY online. Social media is definitely my thing. It’s my job; it’s where I live; it’s where I feel comfortable. So it’s not that making friends on social media feels particularly hard — most of my friendships started online. But the thing I noticed is that to create a community of friends as a “social media queer mom,” you need to create content. Basically, you need to become an influencer. Which I most certainly am not.
I have nothing against queer mom influencers — I think they’re great. I am truly awed and amazed by the amount of time they put into cultivating their pages. And I understand why they do it. For them, creating content is a way to bring visibility to LGBTQ families. We absolutely need it. It just sucks that the most visible way to exist online as a queer parent is to be an influencer. What about those of us who don’t fit that mold?
Let me tell you, I am no influencer. For someone who is extremely online, I take a very passive stance to being visible. I barely remember to update my Instagram. I posted something recently and realized it had been months since I posted my own face on my feed. The idea of having to constantly create content makes me exhausted. Mainly because I’m not clever or consistent enough, but also, I have the most uncooperative family. My partner will yuck it up sometimes, but it’s out of her comfort zone. And my son? For a kid who wants to go viral, he sure is camera shy. When I ask him to take a picture, he’s like “absolutely not.”
I like talking about my family. My son is a really smart and funny eight-year-old. He likes Legos and Minecraft. He’s good at math and loves music, and he’s so freaking cute — I literally can’t stand it. And my partner Beth is amazing. She’s kind and loving and truly the best person to complete our family. We have the cutest puppy, and our cats are so lovely. In theory, we’d make excellent content creators. But the truth is: being a content creator is time consuming! You have to constantly make content to stay ahead of the algorithm. I don’t have the energy to work a full-time job and then corral everyone into making a bunch of videos that involve costume changes, lip-synching, or learning dances. Plus, my video editing skills suck. I’m not paying someone to edit 30-second videos.
Recently, I was talking to my therapist about this. Where do those of us moms who just want to make friends with other two-mom families go? I don’t want to use TikTok dances to try to make friends. I just want to awkwardly go up to another mom and say: “I see you also have a child and a wife. Do you want to come over for dinner?” Surely there have to be other queer moms who love Target, leggings, and Golden Girls reruns? Can they please announce themselves? Bueller? We live in Los Angeles — there have to be plenty of two-mom families in this city! But the only two-mom families I know live in different states, so they’re not people we can see with any sort of regularity. We have become IRL friends with one two-mom family I met on Instagram through work, but their kiddos are a lot younger than mine, so trying to coordinate time for playdates is tricky.
And I know I can just slide into the DMs of one of the queer mom influencers I see and strike up a friendship. I’ve done it before! (It was mainly for work, but still.) But most of them aren’t local, and while I love having pocket friends, I want to have another family I can call on a Friday and say “want to come over for pizza and a movie tonight?” I see some of these influencer moms plan trips to visit each other, and I can’t help but have FOMO. Where is my queer mom squad damnit?
Queer mom influencers are open about a lot of things in their lives: relationship struggles, motherhood stuff, and the pressure of being an out family. (Another reason I know that influencer life isn’t for me — I don’t want to invite negativity into my social media feed.) But none of them talk about how hard it is to find other queer moms IRL. Creating a community online is great, and I’m happy they all have managed to do that, but what about their immediate communities? Since I am indeed very online™, I know what you see on social media isn’t the whole story. So what is the whole story?
I wish more queer mom influencers talked about the struggle of creating community IRL. Maybe I’d feel less FOMO if I knew they were struggling the same way I am. If you’re a queer mom without an online presence, are you even a queer mom? (Yes, obviously.) Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like it. As we start to shift the narrative about raw honesty online about motherhood, I wish that queer moms opened up more about how hard it is to create their inner circle.
I’m hoping that as we begin to do more things outside the house, my partner and I will be able to try to make some more two-mom family friends. Until then, I’ll just scroll through Instagram and whine, because FOMO is real. And I don’t like knowing people are having fun without me.