Everything you've always wanted to know about same-sex parents but were afraid to ask.

Get ready for some 'not so straight' talk.

We all know that same-sex couples have been around since the beginning of time. But do we know how they navigate through their unique parenting challenges?

Thankfully that's where Brandy Black, the founder of The Next Family, and her wife, Susan, come in.


Susan (left), Brandy, and their three kids. All photos and GIFs from The Next Family, used with permission.

They decided to educate the masses on what it's truly like to raise kids in a same-sex household by delivering some straight talk.

Noted — "not so straight" talk.

A recent study confirmed that children raised by same-sex parents do not experience any disadvantages compared with being raised by other parents. That in itself is wonderful to hear, but Brandy knows there are a lot of misconceptions still out there.

"We've met people who've never spent time with a gay or lesbian couple, and they're shocked by how normal we are," Brandy told Upworthy. "I don't know what they expected, but at the end of the day, we're just moms living our lives with our kids."

With that in mind, the couple created a video series discussing the issues they encounter in their daily lives. Here are three examples.

1. Um ... you're two moms. What do your kids call you?

There are many things that straight couples take for granted, and one of them is how their kids will address them. It's usually some version of mom and dad.

"It was daunting for us at first," Brandy said. "We didn't know how to handle it."

But after a while, they figured out a plan. Brandy is "mama" and Susan is "mom." It's working for them so far, and the kids dig it.

To Brandy, she feels it's a good idea to help guide your kids in a certain direction, but it's definitely not something that should be forced.

2. So, how did you pick a donor?

To Brandy and Susan, it was one of the most awkward and impersonal experiences that they could remember.

"The baby-making process is far from a romantic one," Brandy said. "I envy straight couples in that regard."

But it didn't stop them from doing what they had to do. Before long they sifted through the donor options.

"Sure it's exciting to build a family, but it's also hard," Brandy recalled. "After the donor was picked, we rarely thought about that part again."

No same-sex couple is, well ... the same. Brandy recognizes that and advises both partners to be on the same page. "Choosing a donor is the biggest decision you'll make," she said.

3. How has parenting changed your relationship?

Yeah, it's no secret that raising tiny humans changes the dynamics of any romantic relationship. Brandy and Susan are no different.

"We stopped having sex for a period of time, we're sleep-deprived, and we have disagreements on how to raise our kids at times," Brandy said. "Straight couples go through the same stuff."

But Brandy knew there was a difference between the two moms.

Since Brandy gave birth to all three of her kids, Susan felt that she identified more with a dad's experience. In doing so, she reached out to fathers to get some insight on how they handle the parenting gig. It helped both of them immensely.

"There's no competition between us to be the best or favorite mom," Brandy said. "We handle things differently just like other couples, and our kids are benefiting from it."

When it comes to Mother's Day, Brandy and Susan are able to reflect on how truly lucky they are to live their truth as a couple and as moms.

Brandy and Susan never forget how blessed they are to have such an awesome family.

Coming out and being true to who you are can be extremely scary. Brandy wanted to create these videos with Susan to help people who are struggling with acknowledging their personal truth.

"We want to show that there is life after coming out, and it's awesome," Brandy said. "Mother's Day holds a higher meaning to me knowing that I had to overcome so many fears to have the family I built."

Because at the end of the day, happiness is found by being real.

Check out Brandy and Susan's videos here!

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Mothers Everywhere

Whenever someone's words or behavior are called out as racist, a few predictable responses always follow. One is to see the word "racist" as a vicious personal attack. Two is to vehemently deny that whatever was said or done was racist. And three is to pull out the dictionary definition of racism to prove that the words or behavior weren't racist.

Honestly, as soon as refers to the dictionary when discussing racism, it's clear that person has never delved deeply into trying to understand racism. It's a big old red flag, every time.

I'm not an expert on race relations, but I've spent many years learning from people who are. And I've learned that the reality of racism is nuanced and complex, and resorting to a short dictionary definition completely ignores that fact. The dictionary can't include all of the ways racism manifests in individuals and society, and the limitations of dictionary definitions make it a poor tool for discussing the topic.

Since "racism" is such a loaded term for many people, let's look at such limitations through a different complex word. Let's take "anxiety." According to Merriam-Webster, "anxiety" is defined as "apprehensive uneasiness or nervousness, usually over an impending or anticipated ill."

Now imagine thinking that you understand everything that encompasses anxiety from reading that dictionary definition. Imagine thinking you could recognize the signs of anxiety in someone based on that definition alone. Ridiculous, right? The dictionary doesn't explain that some people's anxiety manifests as anger, even though it does. It doesn't say that anxiety sometimes manifests as withdrawal or aloofness. It doesn't say that you often won't see obvious signs of fear or nervousness in someone experiencing anxiety.

The dictionary doesn't offer anything close to the reality of what anxiety is or looks like. It would be silly to say that someone isn't experiencing anxiety because they're not clearly showing signs of nervousness like the dictionary definition implies. Just as the dictionary definition of anxiety is not comprehensive, neither is the dictionary definition of racism. Yet people keep using it to "prove" that something or someone isn't racist.

Fox News analyst Brit Hume just pulled that trick on Twitter to try to back up his claim that Donald Trump's "go back to" statements to four Congresswomen of color weren't technically racist.


The first Merriam-Webster entry for "racism" reads "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race."

Merriam-Webster

First of all, I'm not sure how this definition actually makes Trump's statements not racist. A belief is not always conscious, so even assuming that his racism is unconscious, a white man telling four women of color to "go back to" their countries of origin—despite three of them being born in the U.S. and the fourth being a naturalized citizen of the U.S.—is pretty objectively racist. No one knows exactly what is going on in the President's head, but such statements only being made to women of color would certainly be consistent with the behavior of someone with a belief in white people's inherent superiority.

But that simple definition isn't truly definitive, either. Shortly after Hume's tweet, Merriam-Webster pointed out a usage note for the word "racism," which clarifies that dictionaries do not provide the be-all-end-all definition of words.

Anti-racism advocates have tried time and time again to explain that racism is not as straightforward as someone saying, "I think I'm superior to people who don't share my skin color." Racism is almost never that blatant, and yet oodles of Americans refuse to call anything less than that kind of bold statement "racism." We have a long history showing exactly how white supremacy—the origin of racism in the U.S.—exerts itself in both strong and subtle ways, and thousands of hours and pages of education from experts describing how racism works on an individual and societal level. But people still insist on the simplistic narrative of "Racism=hating people of a different race."

I've seen many people, including Brit Hume, argue that the word racism has lost all meaning. Frankly, that's a copout. Racism—as both a conscious or unconscious belief of racial superiority and as a system of racial prejudice blended with power dynamics—has a broader meaning than one person hating another person for the color of their skin. But that doesn't make it meaningless.

I've also seen people complain that "everything is racist these days," but no, it's really not. We simply understand more about racism now, thanks to the field of race studies and to people of color offering their time and energy to explain it, so it's easier to identify in its various forms. In my experience, when someone's understanding of racism reaches a certain stage, they start recognizing it in places where ignorance or unconscious bias may have caused them to miss it in the past. That's not imagining racism where it doesn't exist or "calling everything racist these days"; that's simply seeing reality more clearly.

When you really dive deep into the historical, psychological, and sociological reality of racism in America, it becomes painfully obvious that racism is far more prevalent and enmeshed in our society than most people think. Until defensive, mostly-white folks stop automatically denying racism every time the word is used and stop throwing around dictionaries to avoid having to do that deep dive work, we're not going to make real headway on this issue.

Let's stop pretending that the definition and supposed overuse of the word "racism" is the problem, when the problem is racism, period.

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The "New CEO Report" for 2018, which looks at new CEOS for the 250 largest S&P 500 companies, found that 23 people were appointed to the position of CEO. Only one of those 23 people was a woman. Michelle Gass, the new CEO of Kohl's, was the lone female on the list.

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