Poly Parenting: A Day in the Life
At the high-traffic parenting site Babble.com, on the occasion of Valentine's Day, Sierra posts a new blog article reflecting on her brimming life as a poly parent:
What It’s Like To Be A Parent In An Open Marriage
It’s movie night at my house. Six kids are piled up on the couch downstairs watching "How To Train Your Dragon' and devouring pizza. My girlfriend and I steal a private moment together while our husbands settle the kids in.
We say a sleepy hello, she gets a work call, and I comfort a sad toddler. End of moment. It’s chaos, but happy chaos. There’s a lot of laughter and smiles amid the juggling act of feeding everyone dinner and making sure no one’s view of the dragons is blocked by an elbow.
When the movie ends, my girlfriend and her husband bundle their kid up and head home. My husband, Martin, and I tuck our girls into bed. He tidies up the living room, getting ready for his sweetie to arrive for their date night. I pack up my laptop and head out to a lover’s house. Not for a hot date. We’re getting together to work for a few hours. I’m behind on a deadline.
This is a snapshot of life in an open marriage: busy, happy, full.
At least the way we do it....
...Monogamy was never on the table for us. I’d been practicing polyamory since high school and was dating two other people when I met my husband. Martin had never tried non-monogamy, but he thought I was pretty special and wanted to give it a go. It’s certainly not what our parents wanted for us — I think my mom hoped it might be a phase I’d outgrow — but they’re supportive.
While there are infinite ways to structure an open marriage, my husband and I have one with a few lovers who are closely entwined with our lives. We celebrate birthdays together, and go on family trips. In the decade we’ve been together, I’ve had a handful of lovers, all of whom were close friends before they shared my bed. My partners are like extended family — we don’t live together, but we see each other often and our families have close relationships. People take all kinds of approaches to this. Some never introduce their lovers to their kids. Some live together in households where three or more adults are parenting together.
And apparently we’re not that unusual. Around 7 percent of straight couples have arranged some kind of consensual non-monogamy, according to a recent Slate article. Numbers are much higher for gay men and a little lower for lesbians. Still, there’s been little enough research done that these numbers remain fuzzy. What is clear in the research is that practicing polyamory doesn’t make or break most relationships....
Read the whole long, thoughtful article (Feb. 14, 2012). Save it to pass to family and friends if they need something reassuring.