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

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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