Laugh Track: Stamie Karakasidis
The lesbian funny lady and reality TV star gives us the lowdown on parenting 101.
Lesbian funny lady Stamie Karakasidis was thrust into the limelight in season one of The Real L Word when she and her partner Tracy Ryerson shared the story of blending their family. So when it comes to juggling career and family, this mother of three knows what she’s talking about—and she does so in the matter-of-fact tone and a quick-witted way we’ve come to know and love her for.
So you have three kids. How old are they?
The twins Dautry and Nikos are almost 6, and Jagger is almost 8. I have to add the “almost,” because I hear about their upcoming birthdays daily. They are extremely excited about being a year older. I, on the other hand, have a nervous breakdown every time they mention it, because my birthday is right behind.
Is there anything your parents did while you were growing up that you vowed to do or not do as a parent?
I try to make sure I don’t raise my voice Greek style and be more patient. My kids have been taught to express themselves, and my daughter Dautry
has said to me, “You are yelling at me and I don’t like it.” So I try to explain to her that I am not yelling, I am Greek and we talk loudly. She doesn’t buy it.
Why kids not cats?
So many reasons. Where do I begin? Cats don’t respond well to time-out, and most importantly, cats do not laugh out loud to my butt jokes.
Do your parents support your decision to raise a family?
They are very supportive and loving. I had such a large portion of my adult life hidden from them because I wasn’t out. So I make my decisions by instincts. Told them after the fact, no need to stress them out with the process, just share the joy. So I sprung it on them. What’s more fun than surprising your parents with twins? They were their biological grandkids but my ex carried them. Perfect formula!
What are some of the funniest things your kids have done?
When they start speaking like you, and you think to yourself, Oh shit, they hear everything. Jagger walking around calling people “train wrecks” is not a good idea. Not sure how his autistic classmates would respond to that. Oh yes, and they started this game when they walk into the room dressed up like one of our family members, and you have to guess who they are. Seeing their sense of humor really makes me happy.
Are you more of a “follow your own path,” free-spirited mom, or more of a set daily schedule, Ethel Tenenbaum type?
I would say a tiny bit of all of them. I like to think that I am a free-spirited mom and anything goes, but with kids if you don’t set some structure they own you, and it’s painful. Motherhood is ever-changing and you have to grow and learn constantly. It’s like a survival reality show—you have to constantly reevaluate your actions and change your game plan. If not, you will be killed.
But I am a big kid so I always leave room for spontaneous acts to keep it interesting. I came home late the other night past the kids’ bedtime and I yelled out, “Frozen yogurt time kiddies, let’s go.” They were in pajamas and looking at me like I was nuts, but they loved it, and I know they will remember that experience for a very long time. Have to get extra Mama points whenever I can. Tracy just smiles, sometimes you can’t control the crazy.
On average, how many cups of coffee a day do you have to consume to make it through?
At first, I thought my younger girlfriend Tracy Ryerson would keep me awake, but once I realized she passes out at 9 p.m., I knew I had to change my approach. Since I share my kids equally with my ex-partner Julie, I make my two to three espressos a day to keep me going, and then when they go to their Mommy’s house, I pass out for a 24-hour period and then start all over again.
Do a lot of your stand-up jokes come from family experiences?
All my jokes come from family experiences. God has made sure I don’t have to leave my world to find humor. He has given it to me in every aspect of my life. This is why I would be an amazing sitcom writer; so much to draw from.
Your family is Greek. Does this play a part in your family dynamic?
Yes, absolutely. I turn into my parents more and more each day. I realize what the hell they meant when they made these odd statements growing up. Parenthood is challenging, and my parents were immigrants and did a wonderful job opening a business and raising a family without knowing the language. I realize that I want some of the traditions I had taken for granted to be part of the kids’ lives. I am really doing my best to teach them Greek, and they are receptive, because they know how important it is to their Mama.
Do you know how to make spanakopita and baklava?
Now I feel like I have dropped the ball. In my mind, I’m still in my 20s and still expect my mom to cook her famous homemade spanakopita with her homemade dough. When I grow up I will ask for the recipe.
What advice would you give to lesbians considering having children?
I would say good luck. Keep it private, map out a plan and make sure all parties involved are legally protected. I was just added to the twins’ birth certificate after almost six years, and they are my biological children. Some laws make no sense, and as gay women we have to cover our butts. Always put the baby first, no ego, it does get easier than the first year, keep the romance alive in your relationship, don’t be too uptight, and most of all, have fun. Keep living your life and lead with love. Lead with love, and life will continue to give you amazing experiences. (ourfifteenminutes.com)