News Flash: Gay Dads Can Be Toxic Too
I always laughed at the word ‘toxic,’ but this Facebook group was a real wake-up call
Three months into quarantine — and deep into what felt like our 500th Zoom or Blink or Google Video lesson — my husband and I finally began to give up. The endless online classes were not only taking a toll on our family’s sanity, they no longer seemed to be working. Our toddler sons couldn’t hold still, office matters constantly distracted us adults, and the increasingly warm weather beckoned our brood out of the house and into the great outdoors. Or at least what passes for the outdoors in Manhattan.
And so, we reckoned, what about home-schooling? Or maybe just a few educational tricks and tasks we could adapt from a formal home-schooling syllabus. With so many families shut inside during the pandemic, we figured there must be some decent curricula available online or in print. But how would we find one with proven results? Who could tell us which text would actually engage our restless little guys?
The obvious place to turn was Facebook; more precisely, the pair of private parenting groups I use for any kid-focused conundrum: one for gay dads, and one for moms in our neighborhood of Manhattan. Spoiler alert: I may live in New York City, but I am not a mom. But no matter. Since our twins were born in November 2016, I’ve found this mom group to be incredibly warm and unfailingly helpful. Yes, I am a gay dad, but NYC Moms is a lot larger, and the mind-hive there never fails to deliver what I need, usually in a matter of hours.
Whereas the moms had been generous and helpful, the dads were mostly dismissive, aggressive, competitive, and rude. None of them seemed to have actually considered my request and nearly all made it clear that they, strangers all, knew what was best for my sons.
So I placed a post on both pages, the exact same language, the exact same request. “Friends,” I wrote, “we are looking for a decent…