True
Mothers Everywhere

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!

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

When schools closed early in the spring, the entire country was thrown for a loop. Parents had to figure out what to do with their kids. Teachers had to figure out how to teach students at home. Kids had to figure out how to navigate a totally new routine that was being created and altered in real time.

For many families, it was a big honking mess—one that many really don't want to repeat in the fall.

But at the same time, the U.S. hasn't gotten a handle on the coronavirus pandemic. As states have begun reopening—several of them too early, according to public health officials—COVID-19 cases have risen to the point where we now have more cases per day than we did during the height of the outbreak in the spring. And yet President Trump is making a huge push to get schools to reopen fully in the fall, even threatening to possibly remove funding if they don't.

It's worth pointing out that Denmark and Norway had 10 and 11 new cases yesterday. Sweden and Germany had around 300 each. The U.S. had 55,000. (And no, that's not because we're testing thousands of times more people than those countries are.)

The president of the country's largest teacher's union had something to say about Trump's push to reopen schools. Lily Eskelsen Garcia says that schools do need to reopen, but they need to be able to reopen safely—with measures that will help keep both students and teachers from spreading the virus and making the pandemic worse. (Trump has also criticized the CDCs "very tough & expensive guidelines" for reopening schools.)

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