Our experiences

Lesbian mothers’ stories

These stories come from nine women living in various parts of London, with children aged 16 months to four years.

  • “One of our children had made some little thing at nursery and had written ‘for Mummy’ on it. And the staff had written below it ‘for Mummy and Daddy’! They have sometimes referred to [the partner who less often collects the child] as her nanny.”
  • “Our son used to go to a parent-run nursery where they knew us really well. But one day they made Diwali cards and they wrote on them ‘to Mummy and Daddy’. I was really upset because they knew my child had two mums. I spoke to the staff member and her response was ‘Do you want a sticker to cover it over?'”
  • “I remember as a kid having to write ‘Mummy and Daddy’ [on cards]. Because I lived in care saying, ‘Why am I doing this? I don’t want to do it.’ So it’s been going on for years.”
  • “For ages the nursery seemed to be reading one book called ‘My Dad’. I didn’t really feel in a good position to complain as there isn’t anything really good I can offer them as an alternative.”
  • “Just before Father’s Day a member of staff from my workplace nursery took my partner aside and rather awkwardly showed her a card made from our daughter’s hand print with the words ‘to someone special’ inside it. She wanted to check whether my partner  was OK with this as she was worried we might be offended. We thought the wording in the card was such a lovely solution and enabled our daughter to be included in the activity with the rest of her peers. Meanwhile, our son, at school, was given the choice of who to make a card for and made a lovely one for his grandfather.”
  • “Sometimes when they ask me questions I can tell they’ve been talking about it for weeks and one of them has been nominated to ask me. Once the question was, what does our son call my partner? which I was pleased they asked, but they looked so frightened. I was glad they talked to me about it, but sorry it was clearly so hard for them.”
  • “Our nursery’s policy document used to have lesbian and gay parents mentioned specifically, but the head teacher took it out because he thought we were ‘past all that’!”
  • “I work in primary schools and have found that teachers deal with homophobic language really badly. The response to the use of ‘gay’ as an insult tends to be either to tell children not to use the word or to tell them that ‘gay means happy.’ When I’ve talked about raising it with the children, some teachers have said they’re afraid of upsetting religious parents.”
  • “School staff need training. We ourselves have to practise how to deal with tricky questions in the street, so how are straight teachers supposed to do it? I’d like to see training for teachers involving role play, giving them the opportunity to practise responding to, and dealing with the issues.”
  • “When our  son went into year 1 at school the first topic was ‘ourselves’. The homework project was to do a visual representation of your family. We were a bit apprehensive about how any discussion about his family would go down with the other children and how his photomontage would go down with other parents displayed outside the classroom! However, also outside the classroom was a book called ‘The Family Book’ by Todd Parr – showing a wonderful diversity of different families, including those with two mums or two dads. It was a great support to us to see this book as it reassured us that the teacher and school were willing to show parents and carers that all kinds of families were respected in the school.”

And on a lighter note, from our days as aunties to our siblings’ children:

  • “One day my sister’s partner went upstairs to check on his daughter, who was six, and her friend. She said, ‘We’re playing lesbians.’ Slightly alarmed, he asked what they were doing. They’d made a den out of a blanket: ‘We’ve got our own house and we’re wearing big earrings and no make-up.'”