The Unimportance of Mothers by Jon Holden Galluccio, author of “An American Family”

Posted by Jon Holden Galluccio on Friday, December 9, 2011

The Unimportance of Mothers by Jon Holden Galluccio, author of “An American Family”

My daughter Madison just turned 15.  My baby is now 15, a young lady and a quite accomplished young lady at that! The truth is that most of the time over the past 15 years Madison has basically walked on water.  She has always been one of the most caring loving souls on this planet.  Ask anyone, it is not just parental bias here.  I say that with the utmost humility because I know in many ways I am responsible for it. Michael too of course, but for this piece I’m taking credit because this is about the unimportance of “Mothers”.

Offensive, maybe but read along and hopefully you will be less offended and more enlightened for isn’t that the point of everything I write?

Michael and I, along with raising three children, have always advocated for families like ours, gays and lesbians having and raising children.  Recently, someone coined the phrase “growing up in a homocentric household” not sure if it makes sense or not but I like it so who cares, it makes sense to me and I’m the author here!

So in advocating for families like ours we have always been barraged with questions about “growing up in a ‘homocentric’ household”. “What’s it like?” “How is it different from growing up in a ‘heterocentric’ household?” For us, as gay men, there have been two questions asked over and over and over again.

The first question Michael and I resolved very early on and that is “Won’t gay men raise their children to be gay?”  Of course, our parents raised us to be heterosexual and that didn’t happen so we knew that was just ridiculous. However, in the beginning we were quoting statistics that proved that to be unlikely etc. Then during one radio interview while we still lived in Maywood (so this was early), after discussing this with Michael, I responded “So what if they turn out to be gay because of us, there is nothing wrong with being gay!” From that interview forward there was no longer a debate on that issue.  We have repeated that answer over and over and have yet to have anyone come back on that. Issue closed!

The second question has taken quite a bit longer to resolve and that is something like “Won’t your children suffer without having a mother?” Michael and I have both spoken volumes on this to our friends and foes alike.  We have given examples of all the female role models they have. We have probably even over compensated with making sure Madison had all these connections.  Last month, at Montclair State University, I watched Madison struggle with the same question as the world in general still seems very concerned about how there is no mother in our family equation.  Madison immediately spoke up about how Rosa, her 29 year old sister is “like a mother to her” and the audience accepted it, felt better about it and moved on.

I, however, did not accept it and am only moving on now as I write this.  So here’s the truth.  The un-sugar coated reality is kids don’t need mother’s, they need nurturers.  I swear to you, it is the God’s honest truth but I have never said it before for fear of offending mothers, motherhood, women, etc. While I am at it I will even go on to say that men (meaning at least me) can nurture children as well as any woman can.  A vagina is not required to nurture a child.  I am just trying to say that our ingrained bias on the whole male/female thing skews people’s view of families like ours. It’s a gender bias that in this day and age has to be addressed.  For my lesbian counterparts raising kids in a “homocentric” household I’m sure the same argument can be made for the unimportance of fathers! Again, I do not believe that one must have a penis in order to demonstrate discipline and stability for their children.  This probably applies to all the “heterocentic” families with stay at home dads and working moms too!

So I’m not against mothers because honestly my role, my culturally ingrained role, is that of a mother.  Not the noun mother but the verb.  Ok, maybe it isn’t an actual verb but by now I hope you got my point if not I will share this one more story.

When Madison was 11 (she’ll probably hate me for sharing this one!) she got her period.  This is probably the single most important experience for a female in their young lives.  When the heralding of her impending womanhood showed up, my mother was visiting and I said to Madison “Oh wait do you want me to get Nana?” and she said “No I need you Daddy”.  So for the most intimate female event in her young life she did not need a woman, she needed her Daddy. 

Her Daddy who has been mothering her since she was a baby is all she needed.


Comments on May 3, 2012 at 5:20:42 am said:
i was brought up in care along with my sister and brother ,out birth parents were not very good .but after folling your letters and videos .i would have given my right arm to have lived in your family .it does not mater if it is two men or two ladies who adopt it is about love and i admire uou both .there are to many children in care today so why are these people being denied.
Bonnie Kantor on December 9, 2011 at 12:50:14 pm said:
Yeah, mothering is what's important--maybe we need to find a different way to say that. I grew up with a non-nurturing mother and a totally mothering father. Your kids are so lucky to be growing up in your household.
Kate Kendell on December 9, 2011 at 12:29:55 pm said:
Very nicely done Jon. Such an important point and so true. Madison, your entire family, and our community is so lucky to have you!

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