Queer Mom Chronicles: This Is Not Your Typical Mommy Blog

Welcome to Queer Mom Chronicles, where I get real about all things parenting, but especially all things QUEER parenting. I’m by no means an expert, but I am incredibly open about stumbling my way through this mom life thing.


Hi, my name is Sa’iyda and I’m not a cool mom, I’m a queer mom. I’ve been a mom since 2013 when my son was born. His dad (yes he has a dad, more on that another time) and I split up when he was a baby, and I was a single mom for six and a half years. In February of 2020, I met my partner and quickly realized she was the missing piece to our little family. We live in Los Angeles and have FIVE pets: two cats, one puppy and two guinea pigs.

Before I started writing for Autostraddle, I spent five years writing for Scary Mommy, a popular parenting and lifestyle website. During my time there, I wrote about a lot of typical parenting stuff: potty training, having a kid who doesn’t like to wear pants, and mom burnout. I also talked about things that were unique to me: being a Black mom to a mixed race kiddo, being low income, and of course, being queer. Writing about being a queer mom wasn’t a conscious choice; it’s just a part of my life, and most of my work revolves around my lived experiences.

This is what you need to know about parenting digital media: It’s run almost exclusively by white cis-het people. Most of the editorial teams are women. These factors play into things like the site’s audience, the writing staff, and the kind of content that is produced. During my time writing parenting content, I never had an editor of color or a queer editor (as far as I know!). With those things in mind, I tempered my expectations about what kind of queer parenting content I would pitch to my editors. When you’re a marginalized writer writing for a largely not marginalized audience, you have to approach your work differently. 

a turquoise background. three people in matching black pajamas with white penguins on them. one white woman with short brown hair and glasses smiling, one black woman with short brown hair and glasses smiling, one fair skinned boy with short brown hair sticking his tongue

Why yes, we do love matching holiday pajamas. I’m extra, what can I say?

As a Black, queer mom writing in a space dominated by heterosexual white women, I always felt like I had to educate the audience. I couldn’t write a piece that merely spoke my truth — I had to do it in a way that made sense to them. More often than not, I didn’t write about queer parenting stuff unless I was running out of regular ideas. It didn’t feel worth it most of the time, because I couldn’t guarantee that the people who would understand — or need — it would even see it. Most of the writing I do is intended to create personal connections, and it’s hard to do that when I know the people reading don’t get it. When you’re a queer parent writing for a largely hetero audience, it feels like you’re pleading your case to exist. After a while, it becomes demoralizing. I remember writing a piece about why Pride events were important once we became a two-mom family. A lot of it came down to having to explain visibility and the significance of seeing other queer families. If I wrote an essay like that for Autostraddle, I wouldn’t have to explain the importance of visibility; our readers already know what I’m saying.

I originally came up with the idea for my essay “Are All The Queer Moms Hanging Out Without Me?” back in 2021. But I knew I couldn’t have it published on Scary Mommy or any of the other mainstream sites I usually wrote for. The audience simply wasn’t there. Mainly, I didn’t want hetero moms to take over with their comments about how it’s hard for all moms to find friends without recognizing the unique struggles queer moms go through. I didn’t want them taking up space asking why we as queer moms needed to feel special.

“I feel like there’s nowhere to go for queer parenting advice or even to see examples of queer parenting/queer parents,” queer mom Kelly Shira told me via email. I met Kelly and her wife after that essay ran on Autostraddle.

Mainstream parenting publications don’t have the infrastructure to cater to marginalized parents. When you look at the mastheads for sites like Scary Mommy, Romper, and Parents, they are overwhelmingly white top to bottom. Even with slightly diverse editorial teams, the people at the top making decisions are white. Take for example, Bustle Digital Group, who owns both Scary Mommy and Romper. Their Chief Creative Officer is a cisgender heterosexual white woman, and the teams she’s created reflect that. As a result, so does the type of content those publications put out.

“I am very mindful of the publications I submit to. While I want to have a hand in normalizing my queer family, as a freelance writer, I also want to get paid for my work,” Nikkya Hargrove, a Black queer mom of three and freelance writer explained. We worked together at Scary Mommy for several years.

She also made a great point about what it’s like to be a queer parent writing for parenting publications: “I’ve had editors seek me out because I’ve worked with them before and it’s Pride Month, which isn’t cool either. There are 335 other days in the year, and I am gay all 365 of them.”

Traditional parenting publications always like to parade marginalized parents out when it’s convenient. But they often “forget” we exist all the time, and our stories deserve telling every day of the year. It makes it difficult to want to write content when you know that it only exists to serve as a lesson to less marginalized parents.

Some editors and publications will make an effort, but because the parenting world is largely white, cisgender, and heterosexual, finding marginalized writers who wanted to regularly write in that space was difficult. When I first joined the writing staff at Scary Mommy, I was the only Black writer. While I was never the only queer writer, I was the only queer editor, and the only editor of color. One of my goals was to make a designated space on the site specifically for queer parents, but I was never able to make that come to fruition.

a red tour bus with a poster advertising Hamburger Mary's in pastel pinks and purples in the background. one black woman with short brown hair and glasses smiling. she is wearing a rainbow striped sports bra and overalls. a white woman with short brown hair and glasses smiling. she is wearing a lesbian flag bandana and a grey shirt. one fair skinned boy with short brown curls smiling in a black shirt

Our first Pride as a family: West Hollywood, CA 2022

Amplifying marginalized voices was always my first priority, but knowing the audience, it was hard to get people to want to open themselves up. The comments sections on our pieces were often a lot more vitrolic than an essay written by a white parent about “typical” parenting content. And while Scary Mommy made an effort to curb those comments, other sites (notably Parents) would not do any sort of mitigating of the comment section to protect the heart of the writer. No amount of money can make an experience like that bearable.

Parenting digital media, much like the rest of digital media, is going through major layoffs and editorial teams changing. In the fall of 2021, BDG acquired Scary Mommy and two other parenting brands: The Dad and Fatherly, making them the owners of the most parenting brands. Parents has two offshoots under their umbrella: Parents Latina and Kindred, which is for Black parents. Both of these brands have had major shake ups in the last year and a half. Most of Scary Mommy’s original editorial team (me included) chose to leave because we didn’t agree with the editorial changes made to the site. One of the biggest ones was letting go of the diverse group of writers that were there despite commitments to diversity. Both Parents and Romper have had major layoffs as well. These changes lead to further homogenizing the digital parenting landscape.

“Change happens when people not only feel the responsibility to be inclusive, but when they also take responsibility to protect the work and people who they are including. Too much lip service happens in digital media, particularly in parenting spaces when it comes to representing queer parents and queer kids,” said Ambery Leventry, a writer and editor who is also a queer parent. (Fun fact: Amber was my earliest queerleader as I went through my coming out journey!)

Mainstream parenting media isn’t the same place it was when I started writing back in 2017. Engaging personal stories are becoming scarce in favor of service pieces that ask and answer questions. The heart of what drew so many parents to that space is withering away in front of our eyes. As more queer parents, especially moms, search the internet for connection, those pieces are ceasing to exist. Part of that is because the people in charge can’t see the benefit; they’re all obsessed with metrics: how many clicks a piece gets, which could translate into advertising dollars in their pockets.

I often wonder if it’s worth trying to fight for space in mainstream parenting media. It’s clear that queer parents aren’t a priority for any editorial teams — maybe we should just fully divest from them altogether. But it’s a difficult decision to make — regardless of who is writing, they will try to put out service content that caters to queer parents. So do we suck it up and at least make ourselves available to accurately report those pieces? Is there an alternative?

These are questions I don’t quite have the answers to just yet. But they’re also what made me want to write this column. There aren’t spaces for queer parents to come together in community. We don’t have sites we can go to and learn about things that are unique to our families. I’m happy to be here in community with all of you. I want to create space for other queer moms to commiserate and feel seen and heard. To feel a little less alone.

What are some things you want to hear me talk about? Tell me in the comments!


Queer Mom Chronicles is a monthly column where I examine all of the many facets of queer parenthood through my tired mom eyes. 

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Sa'iyda Shabazz

Sa'iyda is a writer and mom who lives in LA with her partner, son and 3 adorable, albeit very extra animals. She has yet to meet a chocolate chip cookie she doesn't like, spends her free time (lol) reading as many queer romances as she can, and has spent the better part of her life obsessed with late 90s pop culture.

Sa'iyda has written 114 articles for us.

61 Comments

  1. I’m not a parent and never will be, but I would love to hear a parent’s perspective on choosing a place to live (or lack of choice)
    And whether moving with a kid going to school is an option to you, and how you decide that
    Also in general, how much say does the kid have in family decisions? Did he have any say when your partner moved in?

  2. Sa’iyda! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I am so stoked for this column, so grateful for your context and explanations about the larger parenting media landscape, and damn — autostraddle (and thus us readers) are so lucky you’ve found a home here.

    A few topics:
    – feeling lonely in queer spaces as a parent, and lonely in parenting spaces as a queer person
    – mutual aid as a parenting support model
    – how tf do I talk to my kid about screen time when I have my own phone addiction?
    – what do I do with the cishet nursery rhymes my kid is learning in preschool (aka which battles do I pick?!)
    – queer social media personalities often still perpetuate the myth of “parents who have it all together.” Not always great for my own mental health
    – birth recovery and healing
    – which tiny desk concerts I should show my three year old next

    Thank you to infinity and beyond for doing this!

    • My kids definitely call me out about screen time! It’s helpful for me for limiting my screen time and remembering that I’m role modeling.

      Still there are things that grownups are allowed to do like smoke and drink that kids are not allowed to do. I talk with my elementary school aged kids about the research on screen time and why I put limits in place. They’re allowed 180 minutes of computer time per week (no YouTube as it seems to just suck them in) and they have to keep track and budget it. I don’t let my kids have tablets or cell phones until they’re 15.

      I think it’s helpful to think through your goals around screens for kids. Is it for education? Relaxation? Time together? To survive long car trips? Time so you can go to the bathroom in peace?

    • hi! i’m so glad you’re here! there are definitely some things in there i may tackle, especially being a queer parent in largely hetero spaces and queer social media influencers in general! i will share my thoughts on screen time in a comment on this post!

    • Thanks for writing this column! One thing my queer family has been grappling with is how Herero-normative our roles in the house have become. I’m the birth/breastfeeding mom of twin 1 year olds and a four year old, so I do a lot of the cooking, cleaning, and night parenting. My wife makes the money and deals with budgeting and outside the house stuff. We aren’t crazy about these roles, but are feeling kind of pummeled by parenting young kids so we aren’t sure about how to make a change. I’d be interested to see more queer examples of divvying up the workload. Thanks for your work! I’m stoked to read more!

  3. I’m excited for this series! I’m a queer, single, parent who’s white and cisgender. As a kid I loved reading my friend’s mom’s La Leche league magazines. But as an adult I never got into parenting magazines. Thinking on it, I never felt quite included as I worked for years with kids as a daycare provider where I did a lot of “parenting” without being a parent before becoming a foster parent, and now a foster/ adopt parent. I started out parenting when I was married, and now am happily divorced. Parenting is easier and more enjoyable for me now that I’m single. I love having a house full of kids and getting to do so much parenting! I love being curious and problem solving!

  4. Wow I’m excited for this! Feeling not quite at home is the reason I don’t read other parenting media, and I loved and miss Kaelyn’s series from a couple years back. Thank you so much for this!

    As for what I’d love to see, mostly I just want for you to have a space to write the pieces you want to write, the pieces that you couldn’t write other places. That’s what I want to read. Thanks to Autostraddle for being a home for this series!

  5. “ There aren’t spaces for queer parents to come together in community. We don’t have sites we can go to and learn about things that are unique to our families.”

    This is such an exciting new column!!! My wife and I are thinking seriously about starting the parenthood journey over the next few years so I’m so grateful for this space. Thank you!!

  6. I’m excited for this column! I don’t want to have kids, but this is still such a good and important thing to have – and it’s always a treat to get more of your writing!

  7. As someone actively trying to conceive in a queer relationship, I would love to hear more about how people have approached the conception process, especially with a known donor! Also I have been LOVING the book Queer Conception, which was released in May 2022 and is by a trans author, and don’t think it got any mention on AS which was surprising–maybe a review or an author interview would be cool?

  8. THIS IS SO EXCITING! I’ve been rereading Kaelyn and Haley’s columns as I get ready to be a parent this summer and I’m so stoked to read your thoughts and check out the community in the comments! Thanks so much for doing this work, Sa’iyda.

  9. Sa’iyda this is awesome!!!! I’m so excited to see this column and what it will become under your leadership and creative direction.💜 Thank you for sharing all this context here too about the landscape of (cis/het/white) parenting media. I’m always interested (and grateful!) to hear what draws writers to AS, and I’m glad there’s a home here for your column.

    • thank you thank you! i’m really grateful the editorial team are giving me an opportunity to create this space, not only for me, but for other queer parents who need it

  10. someone asked if i could possibly do a column or talk about screentime, and honestly, it’s not a discourse i really want to create or engage in (there are a few others, including breastfeeding) because it’s a really case by case thing. but here’s what i can say around how i approach screentime.

    as a single working parent, screentime was a necessity. i didn’t have the time or energy (or desire sometimes) to get down on the floor and play with my son. i could only take him to the park or play groups when i had time. so youtube was a cheap and easy way to keep him occupied.

    he watches all kind of things on there. by the time he started preschool, he knew all the planets, and his teacher was amazed that he knew all of his shapes. he could also recognize a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. (once, he pointed out a persimmon in the grocery store and i was amazed.) of course he watches lot of videos of kids playing with toys or weird roblox or minecraft stuff and i do sometimes have to block things i find inappropriate.

    he uses youtube like a lot of people use tv, it’s a background to him playing. i’ll go in his room and he’s playing with toys while watching kids play with toys. it can influence his play and expand his imagination and creativity. he went through a phase of watching lego building videos and trying to recreate what he was seeing. he built several mazes and even a candy dispenser that almost worked!

    he’s learning to play the cello at school and is watching all kinds of cello videos to teach himself how to play by ear. he’s taught himself the theme to pirates of the caribbean most recently.

    during the pandemic especially, we put time parameters on screen time. he had to do at least an hour of screen free time, and he got to choose when. now, he gets about an hour of screentime on school nights, but he has more freedom on the weekends. he can only use it between 8am and 7pm, and he’s really good about taking breaks.

    you really have to figure out what works best for you and your kiddos, but most importantly, don’t feel guilty about it. timers exist, and you can use them. both for your kiddos and yourself!

  11. Can’t wait for this! I’m interested in whatever you choose to write about, but maybe particularly in how childhood and parenting seem, from your perspective, to have changed since you were growing up yourself.

  12. Yes! This is why autostraddle wins! Off the top of my head I’d love to see how different generations of parents have done it. I’d love to see how families challenge the division of labour (as someone else said already) and I’d love a discussion of how having kids changed parents’ politics and activism – that thing where kids’ thinking can be very black and white and it’s a challenge as a parent to your own complacency/laziness/resignation.

      • I’ve slept on it and have a few more ideas: What about how straight people, and lots of people really, are obsessed with genetics and how we negotiate and push against that that.Also I’d like to read more about those organisations that seem cool at first but are actually deeply problematic (or at least their history is) – NCT, le leche league, Steiner’s – I’m sure there’s more but they are the ones I’ve come across.

  13. I love that this is happening. I feel like I missed out on this aspect and on queer parent friends (my youngest is 18 and NOW all my queer friends have babies and toddlers), but I do think it’s super important. Thanks for signing up for a topic that can bring so much criticism (everyone has an opinion on parenting, I’m sure even in the queer community). Looking forward to reading all about it.

  14. so excited for this! i would love to hear about how you interact with education systems/curriculum that are just have no space for anyone outside any norm. i work in early childhood ed and the number of times i’ve had to explain or advocate for anything from ‘please stop writing ‘dear moms and dads’ in class emails’ to ‘why are all of the baby dolls white?’ to ‘let’s expand the diversity of the classroom libraries’

  15. Very excited about this column!!! 💜💜💜 and I am interested in Caitlin’s question above. My kid is 18 months and is going to be interacting with a lot of more that stuff and I am also wondering how to deal!

  16. This is exciting! I don’t plan on having kids, but I am still totally here for this!! I am thrilled that you have a space to write more freely, with this audience to support you every step of the way!

  17. I loved this piece and I’m really excited for this column! I’d love to hear more about:

    + navigating childcare help! i feel like a lot of my friends who have kids either complain a lot about how hard it is to be away from family who can help with childcare or else move closer to family to get help with childcare. And then also that lots of queer people don’t have family to lean on, but maybe get help from chosen family? So I’m just curious hearing your story and any stories you gather about how queer parents have managed getting help with childcare, especially when their kid was a baby — whether from family or friends, or paid help, daycare, etc.

    + how to navigate raising a kid in a really expensive city without a lot of money! what the benefits/drawbacks are to raising a kid in a city like LA, or other queer hubs.

    • thank you Riese!

      childcare is definitely something i will delve into. it’s a nationwide problem for sure, but also, it’s informed so many of my decisions over the last 9 years.

      and i can definitely talk about being poor in a big city, lol. freelancing and being a single parent and now having two freelancers in one house and living in two of the most expensive cities in the country? i’m your gal!

  18. Long time listener first time caller on Autostraddle to say: THANK YOU! As a queer full time working single parent I have found almost no experiences online to read and draw from! For a few months I was part of a queer parents convening where I was one of the only cis women and that was absolutely magic – we all were shocked by how special it was and hungry for more space like this! I feel like there are only a handful of books like Revolutionary Mothering or Moira Bailey’s writing about navigating health systems, or Who’s Your Daddy? that really reflect the kinds of care I get and give, how institutions and media don’t know what to do with us all the time and how we don’t even know how to ask for what we don’t know exists to be advocates for ourselves! The irregular kinds of family configurations and cash flow that supports my family (no parents moving in, no wild inheritance to pay for a nanny or full time daycare for an infant!!) that defines so many queer families around me that are disconnected from their bloodlines… feels like we are all out here reinventing the wheel when there are so many of us doing this! It is so exciting to have a space that looks like the kind of deep wild love our queer community gives that shows what we all look like and sound like when we are giving it! Not as point and counterpoint to hetero family but as our own wonderful way of thriving. Thank you!! I really appreciate you!!

  19. I’m excited for this column in particular, and more parenting content on Autostraddle in general! i was a regular reader like 5 years ago but since having my first kid 4 years ago the media content has felt less relevant. I don’t have time to binge watch shows, but would love queer parent takes (yours or other writers) on kid TV shows:
    Blippi (do people widely find him annoying due to subconscious bias against masculine silliness and giggles, or is the complaint that he’s annoying truly “objective”?), queer subtext in other preschooler cartoons, why are Firebuds and all the car shows so masculine? Also elementary kid stuff so i know what to look for/avoid 👀
    Also that strange process of anxiety and ultimately acceptance as a queer parent when your kid falls comfortably & neatly into the gender binary—how to accept them and also make sure they’re allies for those who don’t.
    And alll the “finding community” topics!

    • i’m glad you’re back Jess! i found that as my kiddo got older, i had more space to enjoy things for myself again, and i hope you are too.

      honestly? i hate MOST shows for preschoolers. i find them to be annoying in a variety of ways. Blippi was definitely one i was glad when my kid aged out of.

      i can definitely consider a tv episode, but much like topics like breastfeeding and screentime, tv really is a personal decision, but i’d be happy to talk more with you about it privately!

  20. I’m late to the party as usual but am also excited for this column!

    I think something I would’ve found helpful, especially as a new queer parent, is being able to connect with/hear from other non-bio parents. My wife gave birth to both of our kids, and I was/am completely happy with that decision, but at the same time I often felt “left out” in the groups of hetero parents we typically found ourselves in. I didn’t completely relate to the other moms (all of whom had given birth so had that automatically in common) but also didn’t really fit in with the dads either. (I know the answer is to make other queer parent friends, but as you’ve noted that is easier said than done!)

    I can also comment on Riese’s question about raising kids in an expensive city/queer hub when you don’t have a lot of money! One of the biggest advantages of being in a queer hub, imo, is that people in general are open-minded. I don’t really have to worry that my kids will be bullied at school for having two moms, and in the few instances we’ve dealt with over the years the school has handled the situation right away. And big cities in general offer so many opportunities. My kids have opportunities here that I never had growing up in a rural small town. Personally, I think if you can make it work financially raising kids in a big city has a lot of advantages.

    • hi Ava! thanks for being here, however belated! non bio parent isn’t something i can tackle personally, but i am trying to convince my partner to weigh in in a future column.

  21. I would love to see some content about non binary parenting and polyamorous parenting! I’m an AFAB non binary person who is planning to be the birthing parent in our little polycule and it’s hard to find representive stories about queer poly parenting.

  22. “Mainly, I didn’t want hetero moms to take over with their comments about how it’s hard for all moms to find friends without recognizing the unique struggles queer moms go through.”

    When I first became a mom 5 years ago, this was always the struggle. I frequented a lot of mom sites in those first years but after awhile, got tired of the comments and lack of inclusion. It’s probably what has discouraged me from doing my own pieces as a bi mom of two.

    No ideas at the moment but I am so excited for this column!

  23. Belatedly, I am so excited about this column! I’m currently getting certified as a volunteer with an organization that provides respite care for kids whose parents need it (similar to foster care but hopefully somewhat less structurally racist). I’d love to hear about the many ways there are to parent, or sort-of-parent, recognizing that there’s gray area between “full-time biological parent” and “no real parent-ish responsibilities for any children.”

  24. I’m so excited for this! I’m not a official parent myself, but my nesting partner has a young adult whom I helped raise and my girlfriend has two kids whom I’m really close to, so I’m certainly very kid adjacent. All of us are disabled and/or neurodivergent in some way, and it definitely takes a lot of communication to make everything flow. I’d definitely love to hear more about disability and parenting from the parental side of things, rather than the typical narrative where it’s assumed only the kids are disabled in families. (Former disabled child, now 41 year old disabled adult here)

    I’d also love to know about other people’s experiences raising trans kids in the current environment and just in general how to help kids deal with the grief of the current status of the world while also helping them be aware in an age appropriate way that people all over the world are working to make sure a better world comes to light.

  25. I’m so glad that you’re doing this column! Since recently becoming pregnant with my first, I’ve felt a fair amount of dysphoria because soooo many of the resources for pregnant people and parenting are for cis white straight women. I’m queer and bisexual and married to a man, and I feel like there are zero resources and zero community spaces for me. I would be curious to hear from other bi pregnant people/parents, how to find queer parent community, dressing as a pregnant person when you’re not superduper femme, etc! Looking forward to what you discuss :)

  26. Thank you for developing such a fresh space! Your Queer Mom Chronicles stand out from the crowd, supplying various views and actual testimonies that resonate deeply. It’s empowering to see representation in parenting that displays the lovely variety of our community. Keep shining your light.

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