In a new study, it has been discovered that children of lesbians have higher self-esteem and lower conduct problems than those of heterosexual couples, according to the study.
“By controlling for variables that might otherwise impact child outcomes, this study provides further evidence that raising children in families headed by same-sex couples is not a significant predictor of adolescent-parent relationships or of a child’s psychological adjustment,” Henny Bos, principal investigator of the study and former UCLA School of Law professor said.
The study looked at 51 Dutch children (25 girls and 26 boys) matched in age, gender, education and birth country, born to lesbian parents through artificial insemination.
Each child filled out questionnaires to figure out their relationships with their mothers, psychological adjustment and substance use.
According to the study, the kids of lesbian parents had higher self-esteems and lower conduct problems than those with heterosexual parents. This means, according to the study co-author Dr. Nanette Gartrell that “child and adolescent outcomes have more to do with the quality of parenting than the sexual orientation of parents.”
The conservative Christian group, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) believes that gay relationships are bad for children.
“Marriage encourages mothers and fathers to remain together and care for the children born of their union,” the filing said. Splitting up, “would powerfully convey that marriage exists to advance adult desires rather than serving children’s needs.”
However, last year the Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families found that children of gay couples are “thriving in terms of health and familial wellness,” after conducting the world’s largest study comparing same-sex parents to heterosexual parents.
This story was brought to you by The Seattle Lesbian
Photo credit: purple sherbet photography
By Shannon Ralph
“I don’t have any friends.”
The air leaves my lungs all at once in a violent burst, as though I have been punched in the abdomen. I grip the steering wheel tightly and keep my eyes on the broken white line running down the middle of the road. The dirty slush lining the streets of our modest neighborhood is an indicator that spring will soon arrive in Minneapolis.
“What do you mean, Nicholas? Of course you have friends.”
“No, he doesn’t.” Nicholas’ twin sister pipes in from the booster seat adjacent to Nicholas. “He doesn’t play with anybody at school.”
“How would you know that, Sophie? You’re not even in his class.”
“All the first graders have recess together.”
“Do you not play with your brother at recess?”
“Sometimes I do. Most of the time he doesn’t want to play.”
Here we go again. Talking about Nicholas as though he is not sitting right here in the minivan with us. As though he is not present. He has gone missing again.
“Why don’t you play with your sister, Nicholas?”
I glance in the rearview mirror. Nicholas is staring out the window. His petite features and wispy blonde hair are reflected in the window against a background of white and gray. Everything is white and gray in March. Nicholas appears deep in thought. I wonder briefly where he goes when we all forget he’s there.
“Nicholas?” I say again.
Sophie kicks his foot across the space separating their bucket seats. “Momma’s talking to you, Icky.”
Since she first learned to speak, Sophie has referred to her brother as Icky. It’s not a commentary on his cootie status, but rather a simple mispronunciation of Nicky. I find it simultaneously endearing and aspersing. Nicholas has ever seemed to mind.
“What?” he asks, his forehead pressed against the window. He doesn’t look at me.
“Why don’t you play with your sister at recess?”
“I don’t know. I don’t want to.”
Of course he doesn’t want to. He’s a six year old boy. Why would he want to play with his sister and her friends? But what about the boys? Why doesn’t he play with the boys?
Nicholas has never been like other little boys. He’s not your typical rough and tumble boy’s boy. He is the baby of our family—three years younger than his older brother and one minute younger than his sister. Nicholas is the runt of our litter. He is the child I have always worried about the most. Though I love my children equally, he tends to require more of my time. More energy. More focus. More patience.
Even before he was born, I worried about Nicholas. I had vivid and disturbing dreams when I was pregnant with him. In all the dreams, his sister was perfectly normal and he was born with one debilitating disease after another. Or he was missing limbs. Missing organs. Or he was simply missing.
“Who do you play with, Nicky?” I ask.
“No one,” he says. “I like to sit and watch.”
And that sums up my youngest son. A watcher. An observer. A bystander.
“I’m worried about Nicholas,” I say later that evening as I climb into bed next to my wife.
“So what else is new?” Ruanita replies.
“No, I’m serious. I don’t think he has any friends.”
“He’s young. Lucas didn’t really have friends until he was in the 3rd grade.”
“I know, but I think Nicholas is different.”
Ruanita lays the book she is reading on her chest and looks at me over the top of her glasses. “Shannon, you worry entirely too much about him. He’s perfectly fine. He’s a happy boy.”
“I know, but I can’t help it.” I climb into bed, kiss Ruanita lightly on the lips and rest my head on my pillow. I watch the shadows on the wall cast by the ceiling fan dancing in the pale light coming from Ruanita’s bedside lamp. After a few moment of silence, I turn to Ruanita.
“Do you think Nicholas is gay?”
She does not look up from her book. “I don’t know. Does it matter?”
“No, of course it doesn’t matter.”
“Then why worry about it?”
“I don’t know. It’s harder for gay men.”
“How do you figure?”
“People can be cruel. Girls can be cruel, but boys—”
“Things are changing, Shannon. It’s not like when we were young. I mean, we’re actually getting married next summer. Did you ever think that would happen in Minnesota?”
“I know things are changing. But are they changing fast enough? Fast enough for Nicholas?”I grab the book from Ruanita’s hand and lay it on the bed between us. “I’m serious. The world is full of monsters. Wild things, like in that book Nicholas loves so much.”
“Yeah, but the world is also full of good people. Nicholas is a sweet boy. He’ll be fine.”
“But how can you be so sure?” I feel tears welling in the corner of my eyes. I don’t want to cry. Ever since my son spoke the words “I don’t have any friends” that afternoon, I had been in a state of acute turmoil. Was it my fault he had no friends? Was it something I did? Or didn’t do? Am I too dismissive of him? Not encouraging enough?
“Listen, Shannon.” Ruanita looks me square in the eye. “You sound like one of those idiots who blame themselves for their kids being gay.” I flinch at her accusation, but Ruanita continues undeterred. “Nicholas is going to be who Nicholas is going to be. You can’t change him. You can’t make him into something he’s not. He’s a good kid. A smart kid. He is going to be perfectly okay.”
“Are you sure?”
“No, I’m not sure.” Ruanita reaches for my hand and squeezes it tightly in her own. “I am not sure about anything. But I’m hopeful.”
I lie in bed and consider her response. I know she is right. I must have hope.
It’s really the only thing we have to hang onto as parents. We hope that we are doing right by our children. We hope that we are not screwing them up beyond all recognition. We hope that our insecurities do not become their insecurities. That our missteps do not become their missteps. We hope that they grow to be better people than we think we are.
And, above all, we hope that the wild things of this world are gentle with the little people we so ferociously adore.
You can find more from Shannon on Chronicles of a Clueless Mom
Chopped Cauliflower, Olive Oil, light sprinkle of chili spices, salt and bake at 500 for 15 minutes. Shake at the halfway point. Your kids will love this. Adjust the spice accordingly.
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1½ cups ice cold water
- 1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix (preferably Jell-O brand)
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 (12-ounce) box Nabisco Nilla Wafers (no substitutions!) (PS: I think this recipe needs more wafers than the 12 oz box. Next time I make this, I will use half of a box more than what the recipe calls)
- 4 cups sliced ripe bananas
- In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain. To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl (preferably glass) with a 4-5-quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours – or up to 8 hours – before serving.
Pancake Bacon Dipper
1 box Bisquick pancake batter; 12 slices center cut bacon; lite syrup Cook bacon+set aside. Mix batter according to pkg . Pour into squeeze bottle with big enough hole for batter to pour from. (ketchup bottle). Cut tip bigger. Heat griddle to 300 ºF. Squirt batter in long oval shape little longer+wider bacon+place slice cooked bacon in center. Lightly press bacon into batter. Squeeze more batter over bacon. Serve syrup in 4 oz mason jars.
Remove crusts from bread. With a rolling pin or large soup can, completely flatten bread. Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter/sunbutter and 1 tablespoon of Jam on each slice of bread. Roll each slice into a tight spiral. Cut each spiral into 4 pieces.
Chunky Apple Muffins
½ c raw sugar
3 T canola oil
1 large egg plus 2 large egg whites
½ c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c organic all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp each: baking soda, ground cinnamon
1 medium Granny Smith apple or 1 Fuji apple, cored, cut into 1/3” dice
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Beat sugar and oil in bowl of electric mixer until smooth. Add egg, egg whites, buttermilk, and vanilla; beat until smooth.
Add 1 c of flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; mix well. Toss together apples and remaining ½ c flour in medium bowl. Stir apples into batter by hand.
Spoon batter into paper lined or greased muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.
Bake until golden brown and make sure wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 22 minutes.
Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan; serve warm or at room temperature.
Sweet Greek Yogurt Dip
Use my basic recipe and then stir-in any of the add-ins that sound yummy to you.
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use 2% and it must be Greek)
3 tsp honey or maple syrup (to taste)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Add ins: 3 tbsp creamy peanut or almond butter, nutella, 1 tbsp cocoa powder or hot chocolate mix, chocolate chips, mashed raspberries, mashed strawberries, a tbsp of jam, graham crumbs, cinnamon.
In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt, sweetener, vanilla and salt. Stir until combined and smooth. Stir in any add-ins you like – to taste. Mix well. Serve with cut up fruit, graham crackers, pretzels, or cookies.
Let your children top their snack with raspberries, nuts, blueberries, whipped cream and more.
1 c finely chopped onions
2 c chopped broccoli (about ½ inch pieces)
2 tsp chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp dried, optional
1 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
Sea salt and white pepper to taste
8 egg whites
¼ c grated pecorino or mozzarella cheese
1. In a large, ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions for 5 minutes, until tender. Add the broccoli, garlic, and basil and sauté for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is crisp-tender but still vivid green.
2. Combine the salt, pepper, and egg whites and whisk until frothy. Pour the froth over the broccoli, tilting the skillet so the egg whites flow evenly throughout the broccoli.
3. Cook on low for 3-4 minutes, until egg whites are opaque and close to firm.
4. Sprinkle grated cheese over egg mixture and place skillet under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, until cheese has melted and begins to brown. Halve the frittata and serve.
By Melissa Mensavage
Photo Credit: Arvell Dorsey
We are nearing the end of the winter season, from a calendar perspective. In 17 days it will officially be Spring. However, on tap for this week is another three inches of snow in the Chicagoland area, in addition the lovely frigid temps of less than 15 degrees.
I love living in Chicago, its my home and well, because we typically see all four seasons. Some years, one may last longer than normal, or start earlier or later than expected. So when I hear about snow storms or extreme heat, I am not phased. I mean I live in Chicago. Anything goes here.
However, this current winter season has just lingered a bit too long. And its seems even longer with two young boys. My house feels like it’s the size of a box of matches. We are crawling all over each other. We are all tired of being cooped up.
When cabin fever hits, along with it comes short tempers, irritability, laziness, too much screen time. It dosent make for any fun in my house. So this past weekend, I purchased a group pass to our community’s recreational center’s indoor jungle gym. The best $20 I’ve spent in a long time. Of course, as I was sitting there yesterday morning watching the boys run all around crazy and screaming and having a good time for themselves, I thought, ‘WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THIS SOONER??’ … hindsight. It kills me.
Its hard to write this months post because I most certainly have the winter blues. Not a serious case where I would need to seek help, but surely the ‘I am SO breaking up with you Old Man Winter!’. Not much goes on here during these boring months and I find cheap entertainment for the boys. (see above)
As I surf Pinterest and other websites that are advertising Spring, I am so ready to start doing these activities. Man, I’ll even settle for temps above 40. We can at least get outside and ride our bikes or play with our trucks, let the fresh air inhabit our lungs and minds. Now that is a great feeling!
By Shannon Ralph
This week, I am coming to the stunning realization that my eldest child is no longer the adorable little boy I first fell in love with. No, my son is a middle schooler, and suddenly the entire world is “boss.”
Lucas is definitely boss. His brother is usually boss. His sister is occasionally boss. Fried chicken is boss. Coke is boss (though he is rarely allowed to drink it). Video games are boss. Video games where lots of random stuff blows up are especially boss. Most people on television are boss. Even the dog is boss on occasion.
I am not boss. I am the epitome of anti-boss-ness, apparently.
And don’t be a total dweeb and say that someone is a boss. Boss is not a noun. Boss is an adjective, idiot.
The closet correlation for the word “boss” that I can come up with from my own vernacular is the word “rad.” I remember thinking lots of things were pretty damn rad back in the day. Kirk Cameron was rad. I mean, obviously. Recording songs from Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 onto my portable tape recorder was pretty rad. Ralph Macchio in The Outsiders was rad. And if we got married and he took my last name instead of me taking his—because we were going to be, you know, like, a progressive 1980s couple—then he would be Ralph Ralph and that would be SO RAD. Molly Ringwald was one rad redhead in Sixteen Candles. She was even more rad in The Breakfast Club. By the time Pretty in Pink came out, I was dying my hair red and trying the Molly pout on for size (strangely, it looked better on her). Huarache sandals and Sun-In were pretty rad. Lee Press-on Nails were also rad. Standing in the television department of our local K-Mart watching the video to Thriller for the first time (we did not have cable…hence, no MTV) was a life-altering rad moment. Footloose was the best movie ever made. It was so rad, it was practically tubular. Oh…wait…maybe that was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Regardless, I experienced many rad things in my adolescence. But being rad is now a relic of the past. These days, I now know, the term is boss.
Here are the things—at forty-one years old—that I find extremely boss.
Sleeping past 6:30am is boss. Peeing without an audience is boss. Children bathing themselves is pretty boss—even if I have to threaten to smell them afterwards to “make sure.” Strawberry margaritas are boss. As is strawberry cheesecake. The BBC is boss. Ignoring the strange noises coming from my basement playroom because I am lounging on the couch in a kid-free living room is pretty boss. Re-watching episodes of Sherlock on Netflix while the kids dismantle the basement board by board is somewhat boss…if I don’t allow myself to think about the whole basement dismantling thing. Telling the kids in no uncertain terms that I will NOT be downloading Minecraft onto my new iPhone is boss. Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks are boss. Being finished with my Christmas shopping a month early is boss. Restaurants that do not have chicken fingers anywhere on the menu are boss. Movies that have no ties to Pixar or Disney are pretty boss. Nights without 5th grade homework are Über boss.
And whether my son agrees or not, I like to think I am pretty damn boss!
When I am not busy being so bodaciously rad, that is.
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A family Valentine’s Day celebration. Enjoy unique Valentine-themed craft booths, live music,
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As of January 1, the state of Illinois passed a ‘hands free’ law while driving. As we all know that means no talking on the phone while driving, surely no texting, email or surfing the net.
When Max was a toddler and I had just gotten my first smart phone, a pink Blackberry Pearl, I was in love. I loved the idea of the internet at my fingertips, the texting instant thoughts to my sister and snapping a photo to capture those fleeting moments. However, I didn’t have any rules of when I was allowed to use these awesome features.
One day driving home from work, I was dabbling on my phone and not paying attention and was SO close to hitting someone. Max was in the back seat, babbling about something, while I was white knuckled on the steering wheel hearing my tires screech on the pavement and screaming, ‘oh shit!’. After the realization settled in that I did not hit the car in front of me, I had to sit there for a moment and collect myself. A few beeps from the person behind me and we were on the go again.
I didn’t pick up the phone in the car again for a good month.
I did eventually pick it up while in the car, however I’ve gotten into this habit of only at stop lights. Instead of just waiting patiently I am on my phone, surfing Facebook, Instagram, eBay, etc.
Here’s the thing … I find I am on the phone in the house or the library or the restaurant. I am CONSTANTLY on my phone. It could be considered an addiction. Why is this so important? Why cant I just put it down and talk to my boys?
I recently purchased the book, Hands Free Mama by Rachel May Stafford. (nevermind the fact that I am trying to read a page a night and that is quite the challenge as I typically fall asleep. she also has a blog of the same title, however I am refraining from looking at that as I will get overwhelmed by the amount of data and information on the site and then do nothing.) Simply, the book and the blog are about living hands free – no phones, no computers, no to-do lists, etc – for the sole purpose of enjoying life and your family.
I’ve been doing about one of two or three days of intentionally putting the phone down. I need to make it a practice. I want to be free of this addiction. I don’t want to measure my life based on Facebook posts or trying to incorporate countless activities that all these ‘perfect’ moms are doing with their kids.
Being hands free, I will not be missing out on brotherly love between Max and Theo, watching my boys grow and learn and share special moments with them nor will I be giving them memories of their childhood of Mom always being on her phone. Instead I will be engaging with my boys, engaging with my life, engaging with nature and family. How exciting does that sound?
So many possibilities are out there being hands free. I cant wait!
(though I will make proper time for meal planning, blog writing and bill paying … though most likely after the boys go to bed.)
By Brandy Black
I love looking through pictures on instagram, mini postcards of perfect beautiful lives. The food, the sunsets, the snowman, the skiers, all of the adventurous things people are doing. I like vacations because I too can participate in sharing my picture perfect life, but this year, my instagram went silent. I got slammed with the reality that three kids will bring. It all started with a toothache that led my wife and me to pacing in the waiting room after our daughter had been sedated for a root canal, one day before a vacation to Mammoth. After surviving that and having a lovely vacation we closed out our final day by momentarily losing our son in Mammoth Village and proceeded to a long drive home filled with contentious quips that built into a big fight on Christmas Eve. I reminded myself that I am strong and we can weather the storm until a day before our vacation in Laguna Beach with the family three days later, our daughter got a very painful ear infection that culminated in screaming at 12AM and a rush to the doctor in the early morning. Medication in hand we made it to the hotel and gathered with the family only for me to break out in a fever and an extremely painful Strep throat that kept me in bed the rest of the trip. On New Year’s Eve, shortly after we arrived home, I woke up at 8AM puking from the pain and drove myself to the doctor, dizzy and exhausted, with no appointment and no voice to ask for one. I walked to the window of my Century City doctor and begged in a whisper for someone to see me, after being turned down 3 times because apparently doctors don’t work on New Year’s Eve, a lovely woman, we’ll call her my angel took me to another office in the building and told them they must see me. I missed the half marathon that I had recently done a 10 mile training run for, that I had been training for over the last couple months because I was on antibiotics and dehydrated. This is how I began my 2014. Defeated, tired, still recovering from multiple family catastrophes, a stolen purse incident that happened in the midst of all of this as well as an au pair that no longer feels up to the task of taking care of our children.
Dare I write new year’s resolutions? What’s the point? I have no control, I am ready, fists up, prepared for the fight, peaking around the corners, waiting to be knocked down. I have come to terms with the reality that life is not perfect and I can only assume that what I’m being given I can handle and on some days I’m pretty horrible at handling it. And on others I think I was made for this shit!
Do you do anything else besides stay at home with the kids? That question was posed to me recently, and my quick reply “Oh, if you only knew” didn’t do justice to the facts. I am Dad to three boys and proud of it. I just wonder if the world (especially the people of the world who are not stay-at-home-parents) has any idea what goes on in my life on a daily basis. I play so many different roles in a single day that it would be difficult for me to devise a job description. I think that’s why it was so much easier in the pre-children days, when I arrived at work at 8 am, worked my eight hours as a physical therapist, and left at 4 pm. Then from 4 pm all the way until 8am the next morning, for a grand total of 16 hours, I did not even have to think about my job. That sounds almost ludicrous now that I’m 6 ½ years into my present 24/7 stint as stay-at-home Dad. And to focus on one job for the entire 8 hour workday sounds so cush compared to the many hats I have to wear in a typical day. Here are some that come to mind.
Chauffer – Commuting to school, and transporting the boys to their many activities & play dates, all while fielding questions, breaking up fights, feeding snacks, and avoiding oncoming traffic, all without the pleasure of screaming and cursing at the awful Los Angeles drivers.
Cook – It’s important to keep an ongoing dialogue going in your head about what the next meal is going to consist of, unless you want your kids to eat pizza or pasta again. Preparing the food takes some thought too, like how each child likes his nuggets or how chocolaty he likes his milk.
Dishwasher – I have the benefit of the actual appliance, but it’s pure drudgery to wake up each morning to a full dishwasher that needs to be emptied, with a keen eye on the dishes and utensils that don’t make the cut and need to be washed by hand because the oatmeal had hardened and became one with the bowl.
Launderer – Thankfully we live in modern times and passing laundry from the hamper to the washing machine and then the dryer is not the worst thing. But I’m begging the innovators of tomorrow to come up with a third machine to fold the laundry.
Housekeeper – Who knew that floors get dirty so quickly? Do my boys purposely fill their pockets and hems with sand in order to dump them onto my sofa and their beds? Walls need wiping down where hands lean for support, and with young boys with bad aims, the toilet and everything within a 12 inch radius of it needs a good cleaning. Plus the seat. Plus the lid. Plus the trash can next to the toilet.
Shopper – I keep a running list on my iPhone of food needs, but without fail I’m always low on milk. Forget getting a dog, kids, we’re getting a cow as our next pet. There’s also household supplies, school supplies, clothes, plus presents for each and every birthday party.
Event Planner – Going places, whether for a day trip or a longer vacation, requires forethought and planning, and that’s on me too. I need to secure plane tickets, accommodations, do the packing, and then the dreaded unpacking upon returning. Local activities involve scanning the newspapers, checking the internet (Red Tricycle), or relying on the network of friendly parents for suggestions.
Teacher – Whether it’s quizzing the kids, helping them with their homework, or reading to them in the library or bedtime, everything becomes a teachable moment.
Disciplinarian – Boys will be boys, but they do get out of hand and need to be disciplined. Currently, the threat of taking away something that they fancy seems to be doing the trick. Previously, yelling seemed to be the discipline du jour, but that just did not feel right to Daddy, so he put that in his back pocket for extreme situations. Believe me, that pocket gets open a lot.
Doctor – I hurt here. I itch there. I can’t poop. My bones hurt. My teeth hurt. I swallowed a tooth. I’m not hungry. I’m so hungry. I’m so tired. I can’t sleep. I’m sad. I’m nervous.
Fashion Designer – You want your child looking presentable. I try to make sure things match, midriffs are not exposed, and that there are no holes in their clothes. Beyond that I don’t particularly worry about impressing anyone with my child’s attire. They’ll be plenty of time for that in high school.
Accountant – Paying the bills, the gardener, and the taxman is a full time job in itself, but I’m left to try to fit it all in my free time.
Husband – Oh yeah, I am someone’s partner. Someone who requires attention, sex, and most of the other things on this list. Thankfully mine helps me with some of the other things on this list too, so it kind of evens out.
Coach – Being an athlete myself, I’m inclined to get involved in their physical fitness and athletic endeavors such as karate, swimming, running, gymnastics and basketball. They need instruction (above and beyond what their team coach gives) but most of all they need encouragement.
And there’s more. Entertainer, mediator, handyman, IT guy, fact finder, and magician … the list goes on and on. I’m proud to be wearing all these hats, but I’m most proud just being called Dad.