The fact that Gabriella and I are queer parents does not play much of a role in our social lives, mostly because we tend not to participate in lesbian sex during social situations. Gabriella is a bit shy, and I get cold easily, so… The only time that being queer parents impacts our social lives is when mom-friends coordinate a Moms Night Out. They always invite both of us moms to join them, which is a cordial and egalitarian thing to do. We appreciate the double invitation, but it always leads to a conversation in my head about whether or not I want to spend Mom’s Night Out as a couple. It’s actually more of a monologue than a conversation, though I do a pretty good job of engaging with myself… with words of course. In that monologue, I tell myself that it is acceptable to un-invite Gabriella.
The ladies like to let loose over a glass of wine or two, let their hair down and talk girl stuff. I don’t mean girl stuff like bikini waxing versus laser hair removal or keratin treatments versus flat irons or tampons versus menstrual cups, though we have covered them all.
Instead, I speak of uncensored and often times unflattering discussions about our own families. We want to be able to talk about our kids openly and without retribution should we speak in selfish, unsupportive tones. We want to be able to speak about our partners in a fashion some might deem not-so-loving. It’s liberating to spend time with non-judgy friends, because we need to let go occasionally amongst people who know how much we love our families but who allow us to participate in the occasional vent session.
So, more often than not, I un-invite Gabriella. Most of the time, she doesn’t mind because she knows how much I need to get out of the house. My world is here in this suburb, surrounded by children and mini-vans and house management (though I’m not very skilled at the house management part). Gabriella sees home as an oasis, while I see it as my day job. Going out without children is a treat for me, and Gabriella would rather stay at home than spend money on a babysitter. Every now and then, however, Gabriella is disappointed that she’s missing out on a night with women who are friends to us both.
After 18 years together, the lines between my friends and her friends are blurred. The friends we brought to the table in the early days have become our friends. That’s not to say that we don’t have our own people, but parenthood and suburban living have expanded the intersection of our set of friends over time. There are friends I met first or know better due to our stay-at-home-ness, but they like Gabriella and consider her one of the girls.
The fact is, I don’t dish about Gabriella very often – not because she is perfect (which of course she is, she added after Gabriella vetted this post), but because I don’t say anything she hasn’t heard me say. I may say something disparaging about my children at which point she will either give me an admonishing look or kick me in the ankle. Italian mother. But for the most part, my sister is my personal Kvetch-About-My-Partner-Hotline, and after I’ve worked myself up into a lather and used a string of choice expletives, and she’s validates me with a sincere, “Uch!” I’m good. Still, I like knowing that I am in safe company should I have some dirty laundry to air. When Gabriella says, “You go ahead and I’ll stay home,” I say, “See ya!”
When I show up at the designated restaurant or drinking establishment, I’m greeted with, “Hey! Where’s Gabriella?” And I answer, “Tapeworm.” They nod and smile and completely get why anyone would choose to spend a night out without a spouse, even if she’s one of the girls.