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3 Mother’s Day Activities for Homes Without Moms

3 Mother’s Day Activities for Homes Without Moms

There are Mother’s Day activities and things your family can do, even if – or maybe especially if – your kids don’t have a mom in the picture. You might have chosen to have your household be motherless. Or that choice may have been forced upon you. The key to navigating this holiday is to figure out what works best for your family and be sensitive to your needs (and not what people think you should need). So we’re sharing 3 Mother’s Day activities for homes without moms – like ours!

Triton’s mom Patricia on the left, and Jon’s mom Anne on the right. Both gone too soon!

The truth is that Mother’s Day can be a mine field. There are families like ours with two dads, single dad families, and loving, non-traditional households that don’t include a biological mother for a myriad of reasons. Forget what Hallmark, your nosy neighbor, and your local brunch spot thinks you should do this Mother’s Day. Just do you.

Here are three Mother’s Day activities for homes without moms.

You’ve got options!

When the girls were little.

3 Mother’s Day Activities For Homes Without Moms

Option 1: Lay low.

Skip the brunches, breakfasts and flower-laden dinner specials that abound every Mother’s Day. Turn off the TV too, and banish those sticky-sweet commercials and TV specials that are sure to come on. Why not spend today playing old school board games with your kids? (Just call it retro and they may be more inclined to indulge you.)

Maybe spending the afternoon baking those special chocolate chips cookies your own mother baked for you. That would make for a sweet day with your kids. (Pun totally intended.) My mom made these rad oatmeal-raisin-chocolate chip numbers that I really need to find the recipe for!

This could also be a good time for a self-care time out. Maybe this means getting a massage, or just giving yourself permission to sit down to read a book, or (Gasp!) take a nap!

lotus flower in girl's hands

Even the smallest of gestures can mean so much.

This option means you choose to opt out of Mother’s Day this year. And listen to me when I say this: That’s totally OK.

Option 2: Focus on Mother Earth.

You may think this is possibly too kitschy of an idea, but why not? The Earth really is the ultimate mother, right?

Spend time in the garden. (A community garden or a friend’s garden is acceptable if you don’t have one handy at home.) You could even decorate planters and bring some flowers indoors. Personally, I think Mother Earth would love a sweet little herb garden on my back deck as a Mother’s Day present!

girl picking carrots

Gardening is a great way for the family to spend time together.

You can also take the kids out to pick up trash in your community and let them post their #cleanupchallenge selfie, (which is trending and guaranteed to get them likes. #Bonus.) We did this on the beach in our hometown recently, and it was actually pretty fun.

If you have little ones, read books about Mother Earth and then get outside and play in the dirt to help them make the connection. This option gives your family the choice of focusing on a bigger, more theoretical idea of motherhood.

girl pushing wheelbarrow

Doing some gardening gets everyone outside in the fresh air on Mother’s Day.

Option 3: Celebrate all the mothers in your life.

Instead of opting out or honoring Mother Earth, you can embrace the holiday with some Mother’s Day activities for the important women in your children’s lives. Why not help your kids celebrate all the mothers that surround them?

Your kids might not have a mom in their home, but there are probably wonderful women all around who have freely given their mothering gifts. Can the kids make cards or cute, little gifts for them? How about inviting those lovely women over for a brunch they don’t have to cook or clean up afterward? Grandmothers, aunts, neighbors, cousins-once-removed, that lady around the corner that always greets them with a smile. If a woman has helped to mother your children in their own unique way, use Mother’s Day to show your thanks and appreciation.

potted flowers

Potting flowers for beloved women in our lives.

This option is best for families who really want to celebrate this holiday and participate in the Mother’s Day activities that tend to occur.

Homes Without Moms

The bottom line is that Mother’s Day activities for homes without moms don’t have to include a mom. And your family doesn’t have to be excluded from any fun on the second Sunday in May because there’s not a mother in the house. You can celebrate this day in your own special way.

Think about whatever makes you and your family happy and feels right to you. Then, with all the love in your heart, go with it.

2DadsWithBaggage family in Puerto Vallarta

Family is what you make it.

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Can Two Dads Raise Girly Girls?

Can Two Dads Raise Girly Girls?

With two dads in the house, we sometimes wonder how our girls got to be so, well, girly. Okay, maybe we aren’t the butchest guys in the world, but we aren’t working the MAC makeup counter at Bloomingdales either. (Not that that’s a bad thing.) But it does make you wonder how can two dads raise girls that are girly girls, even without a mom’s influence in the house.

Even when they were little, they loved to curl their hair and wear make-up.

Two Dads Raise Girls

So where did the girls pick up all their girly influences? A lot has been written about how social norms are communicated to little girls and boys about how they are supposed to behave. It starts with pink blankets for girls and blue for boys. Toys for babies and toddlers reflect this as well. Boys are supposed to play with cars, and girls are supposed to play with dolls. In our house, our daughters had both cars and dolls. They still chose the dolls.

I wonder who picked the colors in this play set. I mean, look at that blue!

Drag Queen Make-Up

When they were younger, a family friend started it all by bringing Sophia and Ava little make-up sets she bought at Sephora. You know, little girl powder and glittery eye shadow, plus the ever-popular lip glosses in a variety of colors and flavors. It might as well have been candy the way Ava and Sophia glommed onto this stuff. Before we could even get the packaging open all the way, Sophia had glitter all over half her face. Ava had smeared lipstick like a clown several inches around her little mouth. Of course, they smiled the bright cheesy grins of girls that just know they look absolutely gorgeous. And they did!


So of course, Triton and I asked ourselves if this was the start of something. We wondered if we needed to worry that when two dads raise girls would our daughters somehow be influenced towards over-femininity. What should really be seen as a fun dress-up game, versus a slippery slope into prepubescent sexpots? We did not intend to encourage a couple of JonBenet wannabes, running around with big hair and caterpillar eyelashes as they got ready for school.

I keep finding these all over the house, and can’t stop myself from swatting them. Just in case.

Girls Will Be Girls

We decided to put the make-up away for only special dress-up play. I tucked it under a pile of stuffed animals on top of the armoire in Sophia’s room.

A few days later, I got home from a long day at the office and wanted nothing more than a big hug from my two sweet girls. Triton was in the kitchen making dinner and the house was oddly quiet. Of course this  made me wonder what they were up to.

Sure enough, when I went upstairs I found the culprits.

Ava had carried the little play table from her bedroom into Sophia’s room, and placed a chair on top of the table. Then Sophia put a suitcase from her closet on top of the chair, and was helping Ava to balance on her tippy toes at the top of all this.  All this because they wanted to reach the makeup stash we thought we had “hidden.”

Glitter is hard to get out of little girls’ hair, FYI.

When I walked in, Ava’s head swiveled on her body like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Sophia’s eyes were as big as Moon Pies. The expressions on their faces were awash with that guilty look that only kids can have when caught in the act. Because why? Ava had that hot pink lipstick painted all around her mouth like a lunatic clown, with the lipstick still in her hot little hand. Only to be outdone by Sophia, who was covered in a glitter bomb from head toe.

Then And Now

Clearly this was the start of something big. As they have grown into beautiful young ladies, the obsession has not left them. I regularly get texts to make an EMERGENCY MASCARA STOP! on the way home from work. Or we arrive home to find their bathroom covered in Q-tips with one end black from eyeliner clean-ups. We find bottles of nail polish in the oddest places.

Who taught Sophia to stand like this?!?!

And as long as we assure the girls that it’s what is inside them that is truly beautiful, then I say GO FOR THE GLAM! We’ve worked hard to teach them their worth is far greater than beauty. That they can be intelligent, kind, driven, accomplished, self-confident, humble, stable, kick-ass women. In whatever form they choose that to take. Even if they do all that with caterpillar eyelashes and glitter bombs.

Nothing wrong with a little girly around the house. (Ahem. Hold your wisecracks, please).

quinceañera sisters in gown and crown

See how beautiful they have become? Inside and out.

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Letter from Sophia to President Obama About 2 Dads Especially Relevant at Election Time

Letter from Sophia to President Obama About 2 Dads Especially Relevant at Election Time

*Updated from original post dated October 29, 2016.

Hard to believe it was just six years ago that Sophia wrote her letter to President Obama about having two dads and he responded, triggering quite the global sensation and an epic adventure for our family.

A different election season this time around, don’t you think?

A Letter to the President

The letter Sophia wrote to President Obama reverberated around the world, and was published in more than 200 news outlets and more than 500 blogs globally. I wonder what would happen if Sophia had sent this letter now, as this next election nears? Here is what our 10 year old daughter of wrote about having two dads:

Dear Barack Obama,

It’s Sophia Bailey-Klugh, your friend who invited you to dinner. You don’t remember me okay that’s fine. But I just wanted to tell you that I am so glad you agree that two men can love each other because I have two dads and they love each other. But at school kids think that it’s gross and weird but it really hurts my heart and feelings so I come to you because you are my hero. If you were me and you had two dads that loved each other, and kids at school teased you about it, what would you do?

Please respond!

I just wanted to say you really inspire me, and I hope you win on being the President. You would totally make the world a better place.

Your friend, Sophia

P.S. Please tell your daughters hi for me!


Sophia Bailey-Klugh letter to President Obama

Sophia’s handwritten letter to President Obama about having two dads, which reverberated around the world in 2012.

And A Letter Back From The President

President Obama personally wrote a letter back to Sophia, with true class as always:

Dear Sophia,

Thank you for writing me such a thoughtful letter about your family. Reading it made me proud to be your president and even more hopeful about the future of our nation.

In American, no two families look the same. We celebrate this diversity. And we recognize that whether you have two dads or one mom what matters above all is the love we show one another. You are fortunate to have two parents that care deeply for you. They are lucky to have such an exceptional daughter in you.

Our differences unite us.  You are I are blessed to live in a country where we are born equal no matter what we look like on the outside, where we grow up, or who our parents are. A good rule is to treat others the way you hope they will treat you. Remind your friends at school about this rule if they say something that hurts your feelings.

Thanks again for taking the time to write to me. I’m honored to have your support and inspired by your compassion. I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to dinner, but I’ll be sure to tell Sasha and Malia you say hello.

Sincerely, Barack Obama


President Obama letter to Sophia Bailey-Klugh

President Obama’s letter he wrote back to Sophia, stating his support in very compassionate terms.

As a result of this letter exchange, Sophia was celebrated with articles in the Huffington Post, and many other news outlets around the world.

We even ended up being invited to appear on The Katie Couric Show, speaking on behalf of families like ours during the critical time our US Supreme Court was making its decision to legalize gay marriage nationwide. It was a surreal experience that will make us all proud and honored for the rest of our lives.

Sophia Bailey-Klugh on The Katie Couric Show about her letter to President Obama about having two dads

Sophia and the Bailey-Klugh clan were invited by Katie Couric to appear on her show. We talked about Sophia’s letter exchange with President Obama about having two dads.