All good things must end

This blog has been lying dormant, and while I have wanted to write a lot of things, this just doesn’t seem like the right place to share all my thoughts and feeling anymore. I think I have changed, I have out grown fabulous mommy. Now I am at the point of trying to decide whether I should end off the chapter of my life that this blog represented with a neat bow and a thank you for coming, or do I rebrand and rename this blog and make it a bit more aligned to who I am now?

As the saying goes; only change is constant.

So much change.

 

On a serious note, domestic violence in the LGBT community

TW: domestic violence

Recently on Twitter there was a conversation happening tagged #whydidntsheleave and #whyididntleave which highlighted the reality of so many people living in abusive households. Many very serious topics were raised which very clearly showed how complicated an issue domestic violence is.

Often people say things like “Why didn’t she just leave?” and ” I’d never let someone treat me like that.” What people often don’t understand is that DV is insidious and doesn’t start of with someone hitting their partner. It often takes the form of long term manipulation and isolation, so that when the dynamic turns physically violent the victim can barely distinguish the behaviour as abusive. Putting the responsibility for not leaving on the victim is not only disempowering to the person but also victim blaming of the worst kind. Often there is an aspect of economic abuse where the victim doesn’t have money to leave, they are so isolated from family and friends that they can’t ask for help, and the chances of an escalation in violence to being life threatening increases dramatically in the days and weeks following the victim trying to leave.

Here is a basic guide to recognizing Domestic Abuse

Domestic violence can happen in any relationship. Women are far more likely to become victims of domestic violence, and while the systems in place are woefully inadequate there are still structures in place to assist and support women and children DV survivors.

After a recent event where a friend was caught up in a dangerous and abusive relationship I realized, there are very few resources for men who are the victims on DV. Yes, men can suffer from Domestic Abuse, yes men do need help to get out of an abusive relationship, and yet there are only 2 shelters in Gauteng that will take male DV survivors. Neither of these shelters are easily accessible.

To complicate matters, if you are a gay male it is almost impossible to lay a report of violence with the police, obtain a protection order, or find a place of safety to go to. The issue of DV in the LGBT community is almost completely ignored. If you are gay and you aren’t married to your abuser, access to the structures for DV victim support and legal system is even more difficult.

After spending the day trying to find some sort of help for my friend and having phone call after phone call met with “I’m sorry there is nothing we can do” I realize that the LGBT community is still marginalized in South Africa and basic community support structures are inaccessible to the LGBT community.

 

 

 

Database of Men’s Organizations (focusing more on males as abusers than as the victim of DV)

Victim Empowerment resource document (comprehensive list of shelters and DV support however some of the shelters for men no longer exist

#MyNameIs (and why it doesn’t matter)

Recently there has been a lot of noise on all social media platforms protesting against Facebook’s real name policy. The fight to be allowed to use an alias is being lead by a colorful group of drag queens, but don’t think that it is just some people on the outskirts of society who would want to or need to use an alias.

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For all or all the very good reasons as to why someone would want to use an alias everyone has missed the point.

Facebook Is not in the business of social media. Facebook is the most ingenious data mining website ever created. Social media is the hook they use to get you to hand over your personal information and by having your real name, email address, phone number, age, sex, country of residence, shopping habits, restaurant habits, holiday habits, and all the other info you willingly give over, they have a unique profile of you that is advertising gold!

Facebook will do anything to maintain the integrity of their sellable data and they really don’t care if they piss off a few minorities groups in doing so.

Fathers day for families without fathers.

With Mothers day and Fathers day having been celebrated recently there have been a lot of conversations happening in our household about what a family is. Living as a lesbian same-sex headed family has a couple interesting challenges when it comes to the topic of fathers. The greatest influence that triggers these conversations often comes from outside of the home, more specifically from the kids’ school.

Our twins go to an open-minded, child centered, Christianity based school. My wife is Christian and feels very strongly about including religion and spirituality in our kids’ lives. So before we sent the kids to school we interviewed a couple of schools with specific focus on how our unique family situation would be handled. The school we chose is very accepting and accommodating.

Part of the kids’ daily routine includes saying a prayer which includes giving thanks for having a mama and a papa. Monkey boy was the first to ask where his papa was. I was a little surprised to be having this conversation with two year olds, but with a bit of repetition the concept of a mama and a mommy has sunk in. We have used lots of discussion with the boys, pointing out various family types; the typical heterosexual couples we know who have a mama and a papa, single parent families, friends who are also same sex couples who have kids. The boys are starting to grasp rather big concepts about what a family is and that not all families are the same or are comprised of a stereotypical mom, dad and kids.

I don’t think that they have quite yet come to the boys and girls are different point yet (and hence mamas and papas are different) but gender is a whole other can of worms for a later stage. We have spent time with them naked and they have realised the mommy and mama have different bodies to them but they haven’t asked any whys or hows yet. I’m sure that time is coming sooner rather than later.

But back to fathers and Fathers day. Our kids’ teacher sent us a message and asked how we would like to deal with Fathers day. We didn’t want the boys to feel left out of the various craft fun and activities that were planned for the class so we asked the teacher to let them make cards for Oupa (DW’s dad) and Zaide (my dad). Both grandfathers loved being included in the boys Fathers day celebrations and the boys enjoyed giving their little gifts to their granddads. It was really quite sweet.

When it comes to Fathers day in a family who doesn’t have a father, it really works well if you use the holiday to celebrate the influential male presences in your kids’ lives. It doesn’t matter if it is an uncle, a grandparent, a close family friend… by refocusing on the love that the kids’ do have it turns an event that could feel exclusionary and makes it something that fosters strong bonds in the family that the kids do have. Hopefully these are the people that the boys will feel comfortable enough with to go to if they have issues that they would otherwise feel embarrassed to talk to us about. As the idiom goes, it takes a village to raise a child.

Mothers’ day – how to navigate having two moms

DW forgot mother’s day. Well not actually, she got the date wrong because of a mix-up on the reminder on her phone, and as luck would have it we were away with my folks for the weekend and there was no way either of us was going to get to sleep in or have breakfast in bed. Being two pragmatic people we decided to postpone our Mothers’ day for this weekend past so that we could have all the traditional celebrations.

On a side note: Seeing my dad give my wife a “dude you fucked up” look in a moment of masculine bonding was priceless and I love them both a bit more for that moment.

Now when you have toddlers there is no chance in hell that both parents are going to get a sleep in. Mother’s day weekend tends to be very busy with all the grannies that need a little celebrating too. As such, we have decided that from now on we will always celebrate Mothers’ day the week after the traditional mother’s day. What we did this year was DW got Saturday and I got Sunday. We each got a sleep in. We each got breakfast in bed. We each got a day to choose how we wanted to spend it with our family. The result was a magical weekend which left our hearts full and our little family brimming with happy vibes and love.

Last year we tried arranging it with me celebrating mother’s day and DW celebrating father’s day, but it left DW feeling a little left out and unrecognised with all the other happy moms. DW is a mom after all, a butch mom yes, but still a mom. Trying to celebrate on the same day doesn’t work because someone is always going to be left on baby duty (for a good couple years to come) and being the organiser.

Breakfast in bed and good morning cuddles are without a doubt the best Mothers’ day gift. My coffee got spilled into my plate of scrambled egg. The boys ate most of DW’s crumpets with strawberries and cream… but that it the best part of family life isn’t it? Those beautiful moments of togetherness which are imperfectly perfect.

 

Also DW redeemed her mixed up dates by gifting me a beautiful Wushoff 16″ cooks knife and a candy thermometer for jam making. Lucky me.