VIDEO: Queer Mama for Autostraddle Episode Nine — Our Kid Doesn’t Have Two Moms

This is Part 9 of a 12 column series. If you’re just joining in, start at the beginning!


I’m a queer femme who prefers she/her/hers pronouns and is super excited to be called mama/mommy/mom/ma or whatever variation our little muffin comes up with ANY DAY NOW! Okay, so she’s probably not going to start calling me mom any day now, but she is due to arrive really at any moment from here on out. Which omg holy shit. We are so excited to be parents of an outside-the-uterus baby, and we are checking all those last things off our pre-baby to do list. For those eagerly awaiting, Tiny still has no name, and neither does Simone.

moving portraits

Simone, the love of my life and the co-parent to our future child, is a masculine-identifying woman. She lets me call her butch at times because I think it’s sexy, but it wouldn’t be the first term she’d use to characterize herself. There isn’t a particular gender term that she claims, really, though I could also describe her as a boi, perhaps. Simone’s gender is complicated. She firmly identifies as a woman. Though she tucks them away in sports bras on the daily, she has beautiful boobs that she (and ahem, I) enjoys. She shops exclusively in “men’s” sections of clothing stores. When she puts on a dress, it looks and feels like drag.

Simone’s gender is simple. She’s a masculine-identifying woman who prefers she but doesn’t mind if waiters call her sir. She cuts her own hair short and wears the clothes that make her feel sexy, the clothes that make her feel like herself. It took her into her twenties to embrace this gendered self, but she’s been holding it with ease and confidence ever since.

When Simone and I got engaged, I couldn’t imagine anyone calling her a bride. Way too weird. Way too feminine. I was happy to be becoming her wife, but in no way did I envision her becoming mine. Calling her my wife felt like I must instead be referring to Cinnabon, Simone’s drag persona alter ego. Simone was not becoming my wife.

queer mama

She was and would stay my partner. I realized quickly, though, that people never knew what I meant when I talked about my partner. Simone and I run our video production company together, so in some contexts people thought I was just talking about my business partner. In others, they assumed my partner was a man. They definitely didn’t always know I meant the person I was married to. The woman I was married to.

I started calling her my wife, sometimes, when it felt easier, or when I wanted to be sure someone knew what I meant. Now I use it at least half the time, because I’m glad it means people know right away that I’m a lesbian. Though I’m not a lesbian, and neither is Simone. Is this confusing? We’re both queer, really, but I do also identify as a dyke. I’m in a same sex relationship (now, marriage!) with a woman who doesn’t identify as a lesbian. Also, wife has three less characters than partner, and this is important on Twitter.

Simone and I have a little dog named Noodle. Actually, Simone adopted him a few months before we started dating, which we like to say was her signalling the universe that she was ready for some serious commitment in her life. I’m Noodle’s adopted mama. Simone is Noodle’s daddy. She always has been, it’s what she and I have always called her in reference to our boy.

She’s not, though, the daddy or the father to our child. For a long time I thought she might be. It feels the most natural for me to refer to her that way, after all, since I’ve been doing it about our dog for nearly five years. No reason not be a woman “daddy” to our babe. The main problem I could foresee is how confusing it would be to the world.

Simone gets misgendered all the time. This is mostly fine but can be scary, especially when we pull up to gas stations in towns we don’t know, parking lots filled with groups of macho straight men. Or when she comes out of a stall in a ladies room and a woman freaks out. What would happen when she was taking our child into a woman’s bathroom and that child was calling her daddy? Or when people couldn’t wrap their minds around using she pronouns for a “dad”? Not insurmountable challenges, but something we didn’t want to deal with necessarily all the time.

More to the point, in any case, is the fact that Simone doesn’t feel like Tiny’s dad or father or even daddy. But, if you haven’t yet gathered, she also certainly doesn’t feel like Tiny’s mom. Being called a mom makes her skin crawl.

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People always assume we are a family of two moms, being that we are two women. We don’t fault them. Simone even hesitated with wanting to write or vlog about this because she was concerned about making all these sweet people who have tried to be inclusive of our “two mom” family feel bad about their mistake. She deserves, though, as we all do, to be identified how she wishes to be. And the people who love us or even just read about us deserve the chance to get it right, too!

The simplest title is that Simone is Tiny’s parent. How fortunate that we have a gender neutral term built right into our language. If you’re writing a letter, “dear parents” is great. Or if you’re introducing her you can say, “this is Simone, Tiny’s parent.” Hopefully schools and communities can without too much trouble fall into this preferred language.

Tiny won’t call Simone her parent, though. I mean we hope she will in some contexts at some point, as a descriptor, but it’s not exactly a pet name. It’s not a name we imagine playing peek-a-boo with. “Where’d parent go? Peek-a-boo!” And it’s not a name I imagine Tiny shouting up across the apartment, “Parent! I can’t sleep!”  While I’m mommy, what will Simone be?

A lot of our masculine female friends and some transmen we know who are parents have chosen to go by “baba.” Some of them like it because it means father in some languages, grandmother in others. Or simply because it’s something that is not mom or dad. Or because it’s becoming a thing, a gender identity to have community around. Simone has never identified with baba herself, though. She doesn’t love the ring of it and it doesn’t jive with her.

We’ve (okay, I’ve) looked at lists upon lists of options. People use all sorts of words of course for themselves as parents. Maddy or zaza. Ima or mima. Duda or madu or duna. Nothing on any of those lists speaks to Simone as her name. Sometimes, I know, the kid just makes something up, so maybe that will happen with us, and it will feel right, and we’ll feel silly for worrying about it at all.

For now we’re going with “Monie” (pronounced MO-knee). It’s short for Simone, and a pet name her friend’s children and other loved ones have called her in the past, so it’s already imbued with sweetness and intimacy. It rings with, but also sounds distinct from, mommy. Most importantly, it’s her own, and it feels right.

We’d love to hear from folks further down their parenting journey (or folks right here with us! or folks still just beginning to think about this stuff!) about what it’s like for you as a gender non-conforming parent. What names did you pick? Did they stick with the kiddos? How has navigating your complicated/simple gender been in the world? Please share your thoughts! And thanks in advance to all who will now refer to Simone as a parent, not a mom.


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haley has written 12 articles for us.

59 Comments

  1. This is great! I am not a parent, but I hope to be someday. I think Simone’s gender identity is very similar to my own. I am a masculine of center woman and I use she/her pronouns, but wife or mother doesn’t seem like it would fit well for me. Thank you for making this video and series. The whole series has been inspiring and I know I will look back at it in 8-10 years when I might try to have my own kid(s). I look forward to hearing how it goes and hearing from other queer parents in the comments!

  2. Our kids call us Mommy and Mama. One of the funniest things is watching them give epic side eye to people who don’t get the names right. For so many people mommy and mama are interchangeable but for our kids calling us by the wrong mom name is as absurd as calling us by the wrong first name. They are little (6.5 and 4) but are already prone to looking confused, laughing, or just giving side eye to people who can’t keep the names straight. It’s hilarious to watch.

  3. Just chiming in to say I’ll be reading the comments here with interest because I inhabit a non-binary sort of place and must admit that this is one of the things I feel anxious about when I contemplate having kids in the future; I already know that the terms “mother” and “mum” won’t fit me and I worry about how my gender presentation might complicate things. I’m definitely curious to hear how other people have navigated this!

    Thanks again to you both for sharing your experiences with us in this series.

  4. I know it’s not really the same, but I’ve seen similar issue in the trans community with a parent who transition after having a child. Transparent and OITNB are solid examples of this. I know the ads to considered Transparent for an Emmy(yes it’s a thing in L.A.), would say, “Have you called your Moppa.” I am assuming it’s a mix of Momma and Poppa?

    • “Moppa” is Jill Soloway’s name for her own trans parent, and is indeed a combination of “mama” and “poppa”.

      You’re correct that it isn’t quite the same question as that faced by Haley and Simone, but some of the same issues are at play with trans parents, especially non-binary folks. I’ve joked with my own kid, who is 18, about calling me “O Clear One” (punning off of “transparent”). But years of verbal habit are hard to break. So it’s still “Dad” at home, although they have started introducing me as “my parent” socially.

  5. “monie” is SO CUTE as a parental nickname!

    re: kids coming up with their own names for people — this is probably my favorite thing. slade was supposed to call my mom “granna” (a name she chose for herself) but ended up calling her “gokgok” which made no sense whatsoever. he’s 16 and still calls her gokgok. it’s absurd and amazing and exactly what a little one year-old thought was a perfect name for his grandmother.

    • YES. my grandfather was supposed to be called, “Grump” (in a cute way), but when I was two I pointed at a picture and said, “Buck!” and now that’s been his grandparent name for all the grandkids ever since.

      also, I love “Monie.”

    • When my friend was pregnant, she asked her own mum what she wanted to be called by the baby. My friend’s mum said, “I don’t give a fig”, so subsequently became known as “Figgy”. Cutest grandparent name I’ve come across!

  6. This was a great relief to read! My butch partner is in the same boat as Simone: uses she/her pronouns, doesn’t necessarily define herself as a lesbian, shops solely in the men’s section, doesn’t feel comfortable being called wife/mom. She’s totally comfortable identifying as a woman, but as a masculine woman, words that have been imbued with feminine overtones just don’t seem to fit her. We also want to have kids and are also struggling with what my girl will be called by our child, a counterpart to “Mom” that isn’t “Dad”. You brought up really good points about the potential dangers of being a woman called ‘Dad’ in relation to parenting; as someone who already gets stared at with hostility in restrooms, small towns, gas stations, etc., my girlfriend has also nixed that title.

    We haven’t found our perfect butch-co-parent name yet, but we have a lot more time to think about it. It was really great to read an account of someone going through the same experience.

  7. Wow, the photos of you two are just so lovely – it’s really beautiful to see such openingly loving photos of a queer couple, I’m realising I basicatly only see such things on this site. Thank you for sharing – I am at a completely diffurent point in my life, but this was brave, beautiful and so sincere. ‘Monie is adorable, but I hope if there’s something that feels more comfurtable, that you find that 🙂

  8. Oooph, I definitely relate a lot with Simone! Aside from the parenting stuff, haha.
    Funny thing, “Moni” is a nickname my dad called me ever since I was little. It happened when he asked me if I was “fea”(ugly) or “bonita”(beautiful). I wanted to say bonita but I was too little to pronounce it correctly so I said “moni”!
    Anyways, I am glad that you guys found a term that fits well. 😀 I’m excited for you two.

  9. I’m just kind of androgynous, and I’ve been a Baba for 12 years. It’s one of the early sounds and easy for toddlers to say.

    All my kids’ friends called me Baba before they were able to say my name.

    It’s easy to know it’s my kid yelling on the playground, or at least that I’m the one being paged.

    I’ve explained to my kids that if someone asks where their mom or dad is, they’re asking for me. “Is your mom or dad home?” “Nope.” “Where’s your mom, sweetie?” *blank look* “I don’t know!” No one has ever asked them for their parent, but they probably would have been little weirdos about that, too.

    I used to joke that as Mama grows up to Mom, Baba may grow up to Bob.

  10. That is definitely complicated, far exceeds my emotional capacity. Simple person.
    The end result of Monie is very cute though. I’m happy for Simone, no one should be called parent by their child :p.

  11. Simone is Haley’s Partner. Simone is Tiny’s Parent.

    Partner. Parent. Kinda love that.

    As far as Monie goes, I think it’s amazing. I read an article awhile back (http://offbeathome.com/2012/12/other-mommy) that talked about not choosing a name can result in mommy and other mommy, which for that family led to some hurt feelings. I know I navigate that in my son’s life with grammy and other grammy. But they both wanted grammy as their names, and nobody would budge!

    I really loved this whole video because it brought up the complexity in your relationship and choice, but also speaks (at least to me) about how pigeonholed we can be by society’s label. So many days I feel like my energy in relating to my young son is a form of dad energy, and yet I am very clearly his mom (his mom, to my core). When he was born my skin crawled at being called ‘mom’ or ‘mommy,’ I was very firmly “mama.” And then, when he started to speak, and called me mommy for the very first time (after calling me mama for awhile), it just felt right. I am his mommy.

    I think holding space for Tiny in your home to choose how to pronounce Monie or some other version that feels intimate and shows your relationship, while also pushing back on society and saying that you are her Parent. She is your Tiny. You are her Big. And as she grows she might refer to you one way at home and another to strangers, to help clarify your relationship.

    I would love more articles that explore all of the feelings queer parents have about their name titles and what it means. And Haley after you give birth, I can’t wait to hear how being called Mom or Mommy or Mama feels for you!

  12. I like Monie! I grew up calling both of my parents by their first names (they are cis-het far-left feminists who made that choice for lots of beautiful reasons), and my partner and I plan to continue that tradition when we have kids.

    • I also grew up calling my (cishet) parents by their first names. I started using “mom” and “dad” when I was a teenager because everyone thought it was so weird that I called my parents by their names. I also called my dad’s parents by their first names, because as old hippies they were into that. My mom’s more traditional parents were “grandma” and “grandpa.”

      The idea of using a nickname based on the parent’s first name sounds like a clever merging of first names and relationship names to me.

  13. I came from a family where my mother insisted that my grandparents were Grandma & Grandpa Lastname and Grandma & Grandpa OtherLastName. My great-grandparents had more creative names, but both of my parents had shitloads of cousins so I think one of them did the bestowing of the titles. And my parents were never anything other than “Mom” and “Dad”…not mommy or daddy or mama or whatever else.
    So that being said, I tend toward the same. I ABSOLUTELY want to called Mama. I think that makes my role in my child’s life more secure when out and about, at school, etc, even though I hope to be the biological/gestational mother, and just the thought of an itty bitty calling me Mama is just the best. And to be honest, the idea of sharing that title is kind of frustrating and scary. I envy gay men who get two very well-received, common titles, “Dad” and “Papa.”
    I tend to push this out of my mind because my getting knocked up won’t happen for another seven years or so. But I love reading about how other couples have handled it…it gives me hope that this is something I can deal with when the time finally comes.

  14. <3<3<3<3<3<3 I love these and never know what to say except "i love these!!" i'm also really into the idea of using short/pet names as a traditional mom/dad alternative!! I can't wait for this baby wow!

  15. I have known Oh… Shit, something like 8 butch/moc women who are parents. The variations I have seen:

    Dad
    Mom
    Key
    Papa

    My wife is a lot like the author’s partner – except she identifies as butch. She probably wouldn’t care about wife, but I really like it because identification as a lesbian and with women is really important to me, so she rolls with it

  16. Congrats in advance to both Moni and Haley – I am so excited for you both…Such an adventure for all three of you. So many changes, I wish you all the best!
    Until I was ‘mommy -ing parent’ I would have never guessed how much love I could have for my two daughters. Me – No longer spitting and swearing but snuggling and feeling like my heart would burst from loving thse babies and watching them grow into themselves…one of the richest experiences I have ever had –
    My two daughters are teenagers now. Me – def masculine of center, very odd that I was the Mommy-Daddy, my ex, my girls’ other parent, pretty much a ‘Daddy – Mommy’. I was home with the girls’ (both of them adopted from China)when they were in preschool…Endless anecdotes, of snot, and poop, and cute stories that no one else but other mommies of small children would appreciate (did she really get her head stuck in between the rungs in the stairway?… What did you do?)
    Now both my girls are ‘young adults’ and it’s hard for me to believe that they started out so small and innocent, such beautiful people they are turning out to be…
    Whatever Tiny names you – be it filled with love and the magical family you are all becoming to each other. Blessings

  17. Can I just say how much I love your guys’ youtube channel? It’s always just so heartwarming and happy and… ugh, it gives me all the feelings, even though I’ve always said I never wanted to have kids.

    Monie sounds like a wonderful name! It’s easy for a kid to pronounce, and it has personal meaning for you.

  18. I finally watched the video, now that I’m at home and I feel really frustrated with you. You don’t have to get it to call someone the way they want to be called. It’s that simple. I mean people call children by their fake super hero names and address their imaginary friends, don’t tell me you can’t use parent.

    As I child I remember disliking the boxes for ethnicity/race whatever, cause I could never choose the accurate one, I’m Cuban. I’m Black with hispanic origin. It wasn’t offered at the time, such a small thing, but don’t ask if you’re not going to offer me the right thing. I also prefer Black to African American cause to me is seems inauthentic. Like I’m pretending to be something I’m not.

    I hope you don’t have to get used to it…unless it’s more like mom grows on you, cause no one should have to put up with that BS. People told me I had to call my mother mom, I called her Gail. I let them have my best smart ass I could offer at 7. I really haven’t changed much. Maturity is over rated.

  19. I love your proposed name — but I also know parents who, despite careful planning, end up using a name based on something their kid comes up with. Fair warning! Also, if it’s of interest, I’ve been compiling a spreadsheet for several years now, asking queer parents to indicate what their kids call them and/or donors, birth parents, and surrogates. Over 230 responses so far — lots of ideas.

  20. HOW DID YOU GUYS KNOW THAT THIS QUESTION HAS PLAGUED MY MIND FOR THE PAST 5 YEARS?

    It’s such a real concern and I feel so validated right now. I mean like straight couples are easy you know. MOM DAD/ MAMA PAPA whatever. Then I was like what about Christine and I? I mean I don’t think ‘mommy’ quite fits me…but ‘mama’ sort of does? IDK. I know I’m certainly not the DAD of our future child but I feel like it’s okay for the cat to call me ‘daddy.’ It’s a complicated thing you know.

    I think that letting kids call you a certain nickname is really cute. It’s a unique way of having your child identify you as that and not taking away the fact that you’re the parent.

    Thanks so much for always sharing!!

    PS MONIE IS SO CUTE. AND DID YOU EVER PICK A NAME FOR YOUR BABY.

  21. Monie is great, because it’s so personal.
    Before reading that part of the article, I was thinking Perry, short for parent. You could even combine them all and do Pony, hehe
    What an interesting (and likely maddening) dilemma.

  22. i hope you two find support in your community for using your preferred language, because it really is something that we shouldn’t have to feel is too difficult to ask for just because most people aren’t used to it. and i think monie is a really sweet idea for a parent name 🙂

    i identify as genderqueer and use they/them pronouns, and i only recently decided i’ll probably want kids some day, but it occurred to me that a good number of things about me are already somewhat dad-like — the way i dress, my appreciation for goofy puns and jokes, that kind of thing. so i kind of realized through that that i think i would want to be called ‘dad’ by my future kid/s, even though it isn’t necessarily gender-neutral.

  23. I remembered a couple of things I wanted to add.

    My kids were not born today. Back in the day, the non-gestational parent was frequently not recognized as a parent by others. In a “That is not my grandchild.” And “Please come to Christmas dinner, but don’t bring your friend and her baby.” Kind of way. A child using a recognized name, like mama/mom was a powerful signal to people outside the relationship (I’m Baba, but I carried them and my relationship was never questioned)

    I’m neither masculine nor feminine. My kids don’t see that, though because relative to their mamas, I’m masculine. Once, when I asked my son about any feelings about not having a dad (we’d just watched Percy Jackson, and that boy had lots of absent dad feels) he said, “I have a dad. You.” I was stunned and it opened my eyes to how they don’t always see what we think they see.

  24. Thank you for sharing this with us. It’s really a shame that our parent names in English are so gender-specific, but it sounds like you found a good work around. Monie is really cute, and would probably get less suspicious looks in the woman’s restroom than “dad”.

    I do have a question about one thing you said, though,

    “Though I’m not a lesbian, and neither is Simone. Is this confusing? We’re both queer, really, but I do also identify as a dyke.”

    I don’t understand how you can call yourself a dyke and not a lesbian. Dyke is a slur directed at lesbians and women people want to insult by calling them lesbians. It’s uncomfortable to hear non-lesbian women call themselves dykes (as it’s also meant to insult and dehumanize lesbian women for their exclusion of men). Why do you claim that for yourself?

    • I’m not either of those people you directed the question at, but the question you ask does also kinda apply to me/how I identify.

      I’ve always seen “dyke” as a term for a non-straight woman. It applies equally to lesbians and bi/pan/etc women, in my experience. Furthermore, “dyke” (in my experience) is also about presentation more than sexuality too for a lot of people, targeting butch and masculine of center women (and other AFAB people)

      “Dyke” is the name I’ve been called since childhood; since before I had any inkling of being queer. “Dyke” is still a name I hear because of how I present myself as generally appearing as masculine of center womanish person. “Lesbian” doesn’t fit my queer self as an asexual person, as a trans person who identifies as nonbinary over woman, and as a person who isn’t strictly romantically attracted to ladies. “Dyke” though? I’ve had to learn to own it, to come to terms with it because it’s the term I’ll be called no matter what, and owning it is far better than the alternative.

  25. So soon, so exciting!!! Also this is something I’ve thought about a lot, I really like the ideas you’ve given! As someone who is nonbinary, but is treated very female because of my body, I’ve wondered what to use. I LOVE baba though! I think it fits really well.

  26. This was great! I am closer to being a child than I am to having any, but Monie sounds like the sweetest parent name! (And as someone who goes by Maddy, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to know my name is easily convertible in the future.) Sending lots of love, thank you for sharing! 🙂

  27. I knew a little whose masculine parent went by “Pop Pop”. As she got older, she started calling that parent “Poppy” of her own accord. I agree with commenters that it’s so sweet what kids come up with, but it’s also helpful to have something in your mind already — you’ll probably start referring to each other with your parent-names long before Tiny starts talking! (“Do you want Monie to change your diaper, Tiny?”)

  28. So I just now stumbled upon these videos, which was frustrating – I wish I could have kept up with the pregnancy as it evolved – but at the same time awesome, because I got to ‘binge watch’ the videos and absorb the story entirely. Plus it’s definitely good to see this sort of queer narrative: hope for all of us LGB(whoop-whoop!)TQ’s out there!!

    I don’t have any children (yet), but I come from a big family, in which blood ties have very little importance (my siblings are from my parents’ previous marriages), and it’s how much we adore each other that makes us the crazy Portuguese family that we are. Because my siblings called their stepmom/dad by their first names/nicknames, it was a little confusing to me as a child. I opted for “Isa mama” and “Zé papa”, as a combination of their nicknames and my relationship to them. Your choice of Monie works so well exactly for the same reason: who says your first name can’t be your parent pet-name? 🙂 It’s lovely!

    I can’t wait to learn what you’ll name Tiny, I’m so excited to keep up with your amaziiing story!
    Lots of love and good luck!

  29. I have oodles of thoughts about parent names. I’ve been a Baba for seven years now. I’m very happy with it. There is at least one other Baba in my neighborhood, many Mama/Mommys and a Dad. I have been immediately welcomed, sometimes teachers/admins stumble and they fall back on “parent”, but I can see they’re trying/improving. I have a few cishet parent friends who use first names and I find it’s hard to stick with that, though that is there own chosen parent name.

    It has been confusing at times. Like the first week of preschool when my daughter kept crying for me and they thought she wanted a bottle. I wrote more about being a Baba over at Village Q, here: http://www.villageq.com/baba-hood/, but the link might be down tonight.

    What has been harder for me recently is what do my niece/nephew call me? We finally settled on Uncle firstname. And what do the kids at school (where every adult is Ms firstname or Mr firstname) call me? My daughter fought for me to be “JUST firstname” quite a bit. But I think this year I’m going to approach her first grade teacher and her classmates and see if we can get Mx to catch on. I might reach out to her classmates’ parents as well to let them know.

    Also, fwiw, my sister’s husband’s family is Jewish, and they have adopted us in all the extended family gatherings. All together there is a Saba, Aba, Baba and Daddy along with a Safta, Ima, Mama and Mom. No overlap of chosen parental names there!

  30. I had hetero parents and we always called my dad by his first name or his nicknames Ed or Eddie as he had a lot of friends around and that’s what they called him, it made sense to us. Since I was in my teens I’ve also called my mother by her first name. If I was going to have kids I’d probably encourage them to use my name or a nickname.

  31. Just chiming in to say that I love all your articles, they are so sweet and thoughtful! I just had a baby six months ago so it’s nice to get a different perspective on all this stuff. My experience with finding a parent name was that o decided I wanted to be “mama” while I was pregnant, because my partner’s first language is Spanish and so it works well for both. However, once I had my sweet baby I could only ever refer to myself as Mommy! So maybe you will have a sudden inspiration when she’s born, same goes for her name!
    Also, don’t give up on partner if you don’t want to! It’s quite common in other English-speaking countries and I wish it was more common in the U.S. It’s useful not just because it’s gender-neutral, but it’s also legal status-neutral.

  32. I’m 65, married, straight and the mother of 4. I think the two of you have a wonderful, yet realistic view of the world and I also think your child will be parented beautifully and thoughtfully. Watching your video I found myself smiling at your happiness. Personally I see love reflected in your smiles…”Lovey” might be a good parent name for Simone as she surely is. Your families are blessed.

  33. Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I am just barely on the precipice of maybe considering the idea of someday in the far future possibly becoming a parental figure to a young human being. So getting to watch your journey has been great and makes the idea of being a parent more relatable to me. I identify similarly to the way Simone does. I would say that I’m an androgynous woman, but I don’t prefer labels. If anything, I identify as a Tigger, (the most wonderful thing about Tiggers is that I’m the only one!). I hadn’t thought about what I would be called as a parent. My partner and I are both mommies for our cat, but I don’t think I would be a mom or mommy or mama to a human child. “Monie” seems perfect because it is personal, yet since it is sorta close to “mommy,” it would pass in any social setting.

    I also like the idea of waiting to see what Tiny names Simone. I mean, if you get to name the kid, the kid should get to name you! :]

  34. I don’t really know what gender I identify as yet, and I think that’s okay because I’m only 19 but I have a 7 month old and we’re still not sure what she’s going to call me. My boyfriend suggested “Maddy” as a mix of Mommy and Daddy, but I don’t like it much. I want to have a concrete name so I can ask people to stop referring to me as “Mommy” because that makes me so uncomfortable, but I don’t know what to use. I like Baba and Zaza quite a bit, so maybe we’ll try those out. I do like Daddy but I don’t know that the other people in my life would go for that

  35. Thank you for your article. My son when he was around 4 started calling me mamu. When I asked him why he said because you are special not like a regular mommy. He still calls me that or mom now and he is 10. My daughter always called me ma. I think children sometimes choose but having an idea is a great start as other commenters have said.

  36. This was such a great and important article! I’m so sorry that I referred to you as a two-mom household in a comment on an earlier video! Haley is right in that Simone shouldn’t have to just get used to what society assumes and projects onto her. You deserve to have your gender identity expressed and validated, including in relation to Tiny! I’m really happy that you took the time to talk about this. And for the record, I LOVE Monie. That is adorable. <3

  37. In teaching, I send home notes constantly. However, a lot of the kids I work with don’t actually have a ‘parent’ at home (birth, step or adult with a significant relationship to the child). So we usually end up addressing the letter as “Dear Parents/Guardians”. However, because I know my kids so well and who is at home, I make point of saying ‘could you give this to XXX for me?’

    “Parent” is really tricky though – you’re intentionally addressing the person who has a very close relationship to a child, but isn’t their guardian, but could be called that if they preferred the term. However, guardian assumes the absence of a ‘parent’. This is the problem with labels!

    I guess this conversation highlights the importance of both the child, and you, knowing how you’re going to broach the topic with strangers or caregivers – maybe a default response that you all use? And on any registration forms, in a practical sense, you could just cross out “parent” and write “Contact A” and “Contact B”?

  38. This is a sweet article, but I especially like the part about you two having a video production company together. My girlfriend and I also work in video/film together and have the same confusion when we refer to each other as partner 🙂
    It is wonderful to do the thong we love best with the person we love best. I consider us to be very lucky to have found each other. You two are as well. And Tiny is too. Welcome Tiny to a wonderful happy life.

  39. I am a woman married to a man, and we have three children: aged 15, 13 and almost 11. But we are not their mommy and daddy. We are their Ima and Abba, because we chose to elevate our identity as Jews into our parental titles. We live in Indiana, and very, very few Hoosiers indeed are prepared to hear a parental title they aren’t familiar with. We’ve all gotten accustomed to people referring to us by the American titles, and nonetheless NOT adopting them for personal use. The Doctor calls me “Mom,” the teacher calls me “Mom,” the teacher-assisted Mother’s Day cards have often been addressed to “Mom.” The kids know that I am Ima, though, and still call me that when speaking to me. And when they refer to me in the third person, they are all perfectly at ease with adjusting to their audience. At synagogue I’m their Ima, at public school or a sleepover I’m their Mom.

    I think you are quite right that your child might choose to change you from “Monie” to something else, and it’s very gentle and loving that you are so relaxed about that potential behavior. It sounds like you two are already very good parents! But when other people — through ignorance, discomfort, forgetfulness or whatever, try to change you to something else, you don’t have to accept that. And neither does your child. 🙂

  40. Speaking as a genderqueer human, if I ever have a child I think I would like to be Momo. This is not exclusively an Avatar: The Last Airbender reference.

    Of course, a lot of things would have to change before it’s more than a hypothetical question for me.

  41. I’m a masculine-of-centre bisexual woman who is married to a man and I’ve been a parent now for nearly 14 years. This was a fascinating article for me because I have this issue every time I’m called ‘Mrs’ or ‘Mum/ Mummy’ by anyone NOT my kids. I’m fine with my kids calling me Mum and I AM their mum, but when other people use these terms in relation to me it feels wrong. The ‘Mrs’ also feels totally wrong, but I don’t think I have the stamina now to correct the issue when I didn’t bother when we got married, and ‘Ms’ doesn’t appeal either really. I think of my husband as my Partner- because he really is- but if I refer to him as that I feel I’m leading folk to believe I’m married to a woman (which of course I’d be totally up for in theory)as people who don’t know me tend to assume I’m a lesbian, rather than only about 7/10s gay, as is the reality, and then it’s hard to disillusion them 😉 Anyone have experience in quashing the ‘Mrs’? I didn’t realise there were even options pre-internet tbh..

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