Preferred Provider or Dogmeat Mom?
Photo: Viorika Prikhodko
The good thing about having a two-mom family is that you have someone to share the load, the love and the litany of requests that your offspring pelt you with everyday.
The bad thing is that chances are, one of you will end up the Dog Meat Mom (also known as the Chopped Liver Mom), and one of you the Mom of Choice (also known as the Preferred Provider). Especially if one of you breastfeeds or stays home with the kids, and the other works full-time.
The bummer for the Dog Meat Mom is how often biology seems to blame for the role. Often, early on, she is the Non-Bio Mom or Stud-Mother, especially if there is breastfeeding involved. I mean, who wouldn’t prefer breast to bottle, even if you have to cry your lungs out to get your way, your Bio-Mom doesn’t get a life until you’re weaned and the Dog Meat Mom feels inadequate for not being able to provide nature’s elixir on demand?
Both roles have their ups and downs, and tend to switch over time. The Dog Meat Mom of infancy can become the Mom of Choice during adolescence because she’s down with all the new technology while the former MOC has become obsolete due to her ignorance of MP3s or Facebook. And the Preferred Provider can become pretty grumpy after a day of modern motherhood (and all the driving that implies), making the Dog Meat Mom the Fun One when she gets home from work excited to see her young.
The Preferred Provider absolutely gets her share of hugs, kisses and affection; she also tends to get the lion’s share of sleepless nights, butt wiping and vomit duty—as our pediatrician told our then one-year-old on learning that she’d thrown up in my face the night before, “Your mommy really, really loves you”.
The Dog Meat Mom can be totally ripped off in the early years (seriously unfair since my wife is a Baby Whisperer extraordinaire, able to lull to sleep the surliest infant, except her own), and she works harder because she has to, earning undying love and affection through hours of Candy Land, memorizing Pokemon and baking chocolate chip cookies, instead of by just showing up.
Attempts at equalizing the jobs, making neither a Dog Meat Mom or Mom of Choice necessary, seems to be nearly impossible. Kids like to dichotomize their parents (missing this is one of the highlights of single parenting, along with not having to reach consensus on every little parental detail, but the work load is killer and hats off to you), and without the whole male/female, mom/dad thing, good/bad works pretty well.
My wife is enjoying a Mom of Choice period with our youngest offspring, and the older two have given up assigning roles and just take us as we are, one stronger in certain areas, the other definitely not, but she does have perfect recall of being the Dog Meat Mom, and of her mantra during those early possessive years when they wouldn’t even let me go to the bathroom alone: “I had her first, and I’ll have her last.”
Blogger Bio: Beren deMotier is a Carol Brady in Levis/tattooed lesbian mama in a mini-van, obsessed with safety, doing the right thing and the amount of dog hair on her wood floors. She is a regular contributor to both Curve and Black Lamb, and has written for Hip Mama, And Baby, Pride Parenting, ehow.com, and for her blog, “That Lesbian Mom Next Door.” Her multi-award-winning book, The Brides of March: Memoir of a Same-Sex Marriage, recounts her giddy leap through a legal window, straight onto the barbeque pit of public debate when she and her partner married in Oregon in 2004, their three children along for the raucous ride. (berendemotier.com)