I've always shied away from this particular subtopic on my blog. Not because I'm uncomfortable with the way my family was created, but because I've yet to find the right words to describe our beginnings.
I enjoy being a single mother by choice but how do I explain what that means to a preschooler...his teachers...his friends? There are medical terms that are too clinical, slang that seems crude and biological vocabulary that is cumbersome. I feel strongly that the story of my sons' conceptions is truly their story.* They should choose when and how they want it told but they must have basic information in order to do so and they must get that information from me.
I struggle to find the terms that feel right, words that are accurate but kind. Words that are honest and loving. Because above all, these children are loved.
In the SMC community, many moms coach their children to say, "I don't have a dad" when asked about their family composition. I seem to be in the minority of this parenting minority because that's not the approach I want to take with my young children. The thing is, it's a simple biological and irrefutable fact: everyone has a male parent. Not a parent in the sense of one who parents and not in the sense of someone who teaches you to play baseball but a male human being who helped create you. What do you call that kind of male parent? Especially when speaking to a preschooler?
I feel strongly that my children see themselves as typical children. They are typical children. They have hundreds of things in common with their same age peers. How many times have we read Todd Parr together? (Don't his books just tell us what we already know anyway?) All families are different; all families are the same.
We don't have a daddy in our family. We eat macaroni and cheese. Mommy was never married. We watch Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer.
I've yet to hear of any other SMC who used a donor (known, id release or anonymous) tell her child that he or she has a daddy. There's some discussion as to which should be avoided more vehemently when speaking to your child, the term "father" or the term "dad". For my family, I'll make it clear that although my boys will never meet their male parent, there is a man who gave us a wonderful start. Their daddy is a donor.
*I write about this deeply personal subject here because I am inspired by the many SMCs who have courageously shared their experiences before me. I learn from this community of generous and honest women every day.