Being a mother is the toughest job in the world; arguably even more difficult if you're a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer mom. Aside from packing lunches and imparting morals, LGBQ moms have to field questions that straight mothers don't encounter -- "Why do I have two mommies?" -- and sometimes plan very strategically to make their parenting dreams come true. But as any child of an LGBQ mom can attest, that means they are often loved that much more.
In honor of Mother's Day, we wanted to give LGBQ moms a chance to talk, since they often have to do so much listening. Specifically, we wanted to know what they love best about being parents. (Stay tuned for a special article spotlighting trans moms.) Here are their stories:
"Gavin is three and a half now. The best ... doesn't exist at this age. Some days are awful, but many are loving and fun. Did we mention he's 3? He has new things to share every single day, and it really doesn't get old -- but his defiance and inability to listen does rather quickly. His personality has really emerged in the last year, and it's awesome. He's clever, and that is just hilarious sometimes. Recently he's taken to using new words like 'interesting,' 'distracting,' and the best: 'magnificent.' He likes to ask, 'If I turn the music all the way up, will it be distracting to your reading?' or 'I see something interesting!' The latest in regard to the museum in our town: 'My museum is just so magnificent.' He gets it; it's amazing and it's wonderful.
"And it's terrifying. We get scared about whether we are doing the best for him, and we wonder if he has enough freedom to just be himself, all while we're trying to protect him from all things ugly in the world. Sometimes we find ourselves crying over how beautiful his mind and heart are in this giant world. Then we remember he's the best source of perspective. He's always on hand with some piece of preschool wisdom that we, as adults, have forgotten how to access. He shows us every day the beauty in the world. So the best part is simply Gavin." -- Catherine Bertrand
"As a queer mom, I love raising strong daughters who kick butt and change the world. Our community knows that mamas who are holding it down for their kids and families come in all shapes and sizes. I invite readers to go to MamasDay.org to download a beautiful e-card to honor the mama in your life. Mamas need more than flowers once a year. They need access to health care, a good job, and accessible child care 365 days of the year!" -- Eveline Shen, executive director of Forward Together
"I love being a mom. My daughter, Ruby, is showing me every day what love truly is: unconditional, comprising and infinite. My daughter entered my world six months after the passing of my mom. My mom and I weren't able to resolve many issues before she died; having Ruby here and now, those unrequited questions are now answered through my unconditional love for Ruby." -- Kimberly Stanford
"As Family Equality Council's southern regional manager, I have the chance to advocate for and work with countless LGBTQ-headed families. Our families may all be different, but they are created with love. Building my own family with my wife, Jen West, was a journey which I cherish. Daily, my heart is overwhelmed with love, joy, and gratitude for our son, Lukas Hugo." -- Tatiana Quiroga
"My wife and I decided we wanted two kids. She wanted to have one and we wanted to adopt one, as I am adopted. We wanted a boy and a girl, and the boy to come first -- so naturally, she had a baby girl first. Jada Marie Foskey (pictured above) was born April 3 at 6 pounds, 14 ounces, and 21 inches long. We decided to choose a mulatto donor because we are a biracial family, and wanted her to be able to resemble both of us. What I love most about being a mom is the pure innocence. I love that I can teach her about the world as it is, and not how it's perceived to be. I also love that she does not yet know prejudice, racism, or hate. She is just pure." -- Martika Foskey
"I am an LGBT mom to two wonderful girls, ages 9 and 11. My wife, Amanda, and I got legally married last summer in Washington, D.C., on our 24th anniversary on June 30, although we live in Alabama and are still working towards equality here. The girls call her 'OP,' which stands for 'other parent.' We decided after being together for 13 years that we wanted to start a family and chose an unknown sperm donor.
"My girls are my heart personified. I've been keeping journals of their lives since I found out I was pregnant with each of them, and will present their journals to them on their 16th birthdays. The best thing about being a mom is watching these two wonderful individuals grow up and blossom into generous, caring, and entertaining people with their own personalities, likes, and dislikes. We love camping and riding bikes together as a family. We also enjoy reading books together and separately, and then talking about them and 'living' them over and over again. Being a mom is my greatest accomplishment, and knowing they love me and I love them unconditionally is the best feeling in the world." -- Tricia Lowery
"My daughter is 12 now, and one of the things I've always loved is feeling like she teaches me just as much as I teach her. The other day I was teasing her about losing a competition if she didn't practice more and she said, 'Mom, failing is just the beginning of learning.' Left me a little speechless. Sometimes I think I'm the kid and she's the wise old soul. I'm so incredibly lucky to have such an amazing person as my child." -- Jennifer Seiber
"The best thing about being a mama is being able to watch my boys grow in love and life, and experiencing the joys of motherhood with my amazing wife. Watching them play together and exhibit pure brotherly love is such a blessing. The way that they look at each other with such adoration shows how much they truly love each other. They are always filled with silly little phrases and can make me laugh, even when I'm trying to be serious with them. And even on the hardest of days, they can melt my mama heart with the love they display, like gentle kisses on the forehead, an impromptu hug, or a sweet little 'I love you.' My boys are most definitely one of my greatest blessings in this sweet life!" -- Amanda Brown
"Our favorite thing about motherhood is watching our daughter discover the world. Everything is new to her -- from shadows, to her reflection, to her fingers and toes. She finds such excitement in exploring her surroundings. There is nothing sweeter in the world than your child laughing. It melts our hearts every time. We will do the same thing a hundred times in a row if it elicits that amazing sound. Watching as our love supports her growth. Seeing little bits of ourselves in her personality and actions." -- Taryn Winkle
"Motherhood is infinitely rewarding. The bond I have with my son is pure and honest, and I've never trusted my instincts more than I do now. Since I became a mother to Liam, I became a warrior, and he is my ultimate purpose because motherhood is me -- it's who I am." -- Joan V. Rodriguez
"Working for social justice is at its core, a hopeful enterprise. Yet cynicism has been nipping at my toes for longer than I can remember. Becoming a mother--needing to be my best, most positive self for my little person--is the best antidote to pessimism that I have found, pushing me to think bigger about the change I want to make in the world.
Part of that change begins at home. My partner and I aren't just mamas to our beautiful son. We are also daughters, taking care of an elderly parent as we raise our child in a multi-generational household. We are a family who, like four out of five families in this country, don't fit into a traditional mold. Being a mama means celebrating the ways our family is unique. Being a mama means celebrating all the mamas everywhere who make a difference in our families and our communities. That's why I love Mamas Day so much--it's a chance this Mother's Day to recognize each and every Mama and show our love to them. -- Nancy Haque
"Motherhood to us is truly knowing what it means to "love someone so much it hurts!" She's our greatest gift." -- Brittani Fischetti