The Kids Are Not All Right

Dear Dr. Darcy:

I’m in 9th grade and I’m writing to you because I have a situation at home that I don’t know how to handle.  Since last summer, my mom has been acting very strange. I guess I should back up...  I have two moms and they used donor sperm to conceive my sister and me. Last summer we moved from the west coast to NYC and our moms have been meeting lots of new people and one of my moms has gotten really close to this new woman and it’s making me very uncomfortable.  My other mom doesn’t seem to have a problem with it – at least from what I can tell – but let me tell you why I’m uncomfortable:

Both of my moms have successful careers – but the mom who I’m concerned about is the one who carried us and ever since she gave birth she’s been overweight (even though she’s tried every diet under the sun)...  Suddenly this summer she started losing weight. When we got to New York, she started meeting all kinds of “friends” and this woman is always texting her.  Now suddenly she’s wearing makeup and buying new clothes! And why the hell is she texting like a teen?! Please help.  I don’t know what to do!

ANSWER

There’s no denying that your mom’s behavior has changed in the last 8 months. And it’s clear that you love your moms and that you want your family to remain safe.  With that said, your family has recently gone through a huge transition in moving across the country.  I’m sure it’s been challenging for everyone, not the least of whom is you. I heard nothing about your experience regarding being uprooted during the summer between 8th and 9th grade or what it was like for you to start a brand new school in a huge city just as you entered high school. And while I commend you for your courage to seek the truth (regardless of how scary the truth may be), I think you may be attaching meaning to your mom’s changes that may not be accurate.

Let me spin this for you differently.  I’m not saying that I’m right – but I’m trying to illustrate that there’s more than one meaning to attach to your mom’s sudden changes:

It’s reasonable to presume that the stress of the move kicked her metabolism into high gear and that once she started losing weight, she made dietary changes to make sure it kept coming off.  It also makes sense that once she was in NYC, she would seek out new friends.  The new clothing was probably necessary because I’m guessing her old clothes didn’t fit her after she lost the weight.  I know that when my weight goes up or down 5 lbs, I’m literally in a different size.  The makeup could simply be a result of her enjoying her new look.  My point is, we just don’t know what’s at the root of her changes, though there is a way to find out…

Ask your moms to schedule time to sit down with you, privately, so that you can express your concerns.  Let them know that your feelings are coming from a place of love and desire to protect your family.  Let them know what you just shared with me and see how they respond. I’m a big fan of open communication, particularly within families.  And give some thought to how this move has affected you. Sometimes we see things in other people because we’re avoiding looking at ourselves.

Writer’s Stats: Female, heterosexual.