How to support your partner when they have a baby

More than Nuclear is a blog about polyamory and parenting, written by a poly woman named Freja who gave birth to a daughter about a year ago. The entire blog is fantastic, but the recent post "5 tips for supporting your partner when they have a baby (and it isn't yours)" is especially awesome.

The tips are pretty straightforward -- like offering to change diapers, cook food, and help with household chores -- but all of it comes together to ensure that everyone contributes and bonds as a family. Freja writes,

It's not easy to predict how the recovery will affect the intimacy between you and your partner, even if your partner isn't the one recovering from the birth. The first few weeks are overwhelming, but it will get easier. There is a reason everyone tells you that they grow up so fast. It's a cliché, but they really do. It may seem almost impossible for you to find space to be with your partner now, but things will change incredibly quickly. The two of you can find a way to reconnect, but you'll need to be patient and gentle with the parents, and don't push it.

Read the rest on More than Nuclear.

Multiple parent bill proposed in California

A new California bill proposed by Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco would allow a child to have more than two legal parents. Designed to benefit modern households such as gay couples, surrogacy arrangements, step-parents, adoptive parents, and folks using reproductive techniques that involve multiple people, the bill's goal is to make the lives of children easier.

Senator Leno first witnessed a shortcoming in the laws when, in 2011, he saw a young girl end up in foster care when her two mothers (her legally married parents) could not care for her. Although the girl had a relationship with her biological father, the court did not have the authority to appoint him as a legal parent.

A bill like this could potentially benefit poly folks. Anne at Life on the Swingset says:

For poly families, this would be a move towards greater legal recognition and protection . . .

Even if the bill passes (and that’s probably a big if), legal parenthood for multiple parents is still at the discretion of the court.  That means that poly families trying to ensure that all parents are legally recognized as such may still face discrimination and skepticism while trying to convince a judge that all three (or four or whatever) of them should be considered parents to the children in the household.  The designation of multiple parents can only be done if it is determined to be in the child's best interests.  It's far from a simple and straightforward process.  But for it to be possible at all would be an exciting step forward.

Opponents say this bill will only encourage "radical" and "experimental" family structures -- which, of course, according to them, do not benefit children.

The bill has passed the Senate and is now awaiting an Assembly vote.


Just a normal family… with more resources

Sierra Black is a woman in an open, poly marriage who blogs about parenting at her blog ChildWild. She has written several pieces online recently about her nontraditional relationships and how they intersect with her parenting. The first, entitled "Our successful open marriage," was published on Salon. In this piece, she discusses her home life and why she is drawn to partners outside her marriage.

Since we've always been poly, I often wonder how monogamous couples do it. I get so much support from my lovers. No one else, not my friends, not my parents, no one, is as willing to deal with the messes and mishaps of parenting as my sweeties. There’s something about romantic intimacy that builds a family-type closeness.

. . . To my kids, this is all normal. I've never had a big sit-down talk about how Mommy and Daddy's marriage is different. They were born into this. We're a big messy family. The kids know I go on grown-up sleepovers sometimes, and take it for granted.

Another piece from Black was published on parenting site Babble. This article is called "What It's Like To Be A Parent In An Open Marriage," and it's a pretty in-depth look at common questions that people have about poly relationships. Black stresses that her life is nothing to be gawked at.

I'm writing this essay because I think it's important to provide images of open marriage that counter the stereotypes. We're just a normal family... who happen to have more resources.

. . . poly families resemble monogamous families in a lot of ways. I just spent an hour talking to my girlfriend about a charter school we're both considering sending our kids to. Last night, my husband's girlfriend came over and sat with my second-grader doing homework while he did bath time with the little one. Our partners are folded into the fabric of our family life.

Black's articles are wonderful; be sure to read them both.

Interviewees wanted for book about parenting within non-traditional relationships

Sadie Smythe (blogger at Sadie's Open Marriage) is writing a book on parenting within non-traditional relationships, and she wants to hear from you!

As a parent living in an Open Marriage, the most-asked question I receive is, "What about your daughter?" So, I have decided to write a book that answers this question and all the others that go along with it. Questions such as "What do you tell her about your relationship?" and "How do you think it will affect her worldview?" and ohsomany more.

. . . So I am looking for others like me (and unlike me,) who have designed their relationship in a way that suits them, but which might be considered to fall outside of that traditional relationship paradigm -- married and living and parenting separately, unmarried and living next door to each other, polyamorous parenting, swinging parents, queer parents, transgendered parents, kinky moms and dads, etc. -- who would be interested in being interviewed and quoted in the book.

Interviews can be either anonymous or credited. Email Smythe at sadiessmythe [at] gmail [dot] com.