Next weekend we will be taking the girls to their first Pride March. We are looking forward to seeing them waving rainbow flags and joining in with the noise and colour of Pride Day, surrounded by love and acceptance. We’ve heard good things about the activities on offer for young children, and are looking forward to a day of celebrating our family. The last LGBT event we attended was the Vigil for Orlando in June 2016. F was just a few weeks old at the time and slept through the vigil. It was an event that sheltered a sombre and distressed crowd who clung to each other in the wretchedness of the situation our LGBT family across the water faced. It will be nice to take our children to a celebratory event instead this summer.
We have not been to Pride since we lived Up North, and since having children have rarely been to any LGBT events apart from small local ones for LGBT families. It has been a long time since we’ve been out (out out) and these days I feel so far removed from the gay scene. Whilst wondering what I might dress the girls in for Pride (we won’t be going for the full rainbow effect), I realised that I will need to wear something too. Ten years ago this would have been easy; I was fully immersed in gay culture and knew the LGBT fashion du jour inside out. I had a small wardrobe of clothes that I liked and felt good in. Now, I have the same small wardrobe of clothes but they are ten years old and a bit on the small side. I could pluck my trusty Superdry shirt out, but I expect that lesbian fashion may have moved on a bit in the last five years. I feel like an old lady.
Of course it’s not all about fashion at Pride, it’s about being part of a day that celebrates diversity and encourages acceptance and equality. But it has been strange to realise that I increasingly no longer feel part of that community now that I am firmly in the motherhood camp (and we are tied to the house with our sometimes-sleeping children from 6pm onwards). LGBT life will always be part of our family even if only purely because we are a two-mum family, but our time of being regulars at the local gay bar is long gone.
This period of parenting young children is intense and, at times, relentless. We have started to wonder when life might feel calmer. Perhaps as the children get older and less likely to terrorise a babysitter we will venture back out to a gay bar, find a quiet corner, and try not to fall asleep before 10pm*. Maybe then I will feel like I am no longer just a mother, but a woman as well.
Do other parents feel like this? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or @workinglife2016