• Mon, Dec 23 - 1:00 pm ET

Polyamorous Mom: I Feel Bad For ‘Anonymous Kid’ And Here’s What I’d Do Instead

96502360Since I started this column a handful of months ago, there has been quite the mixed reaction to polyamory from our dear readers.  A lot disagree with me, but we have insightful and engaging conversations, some don’t like me at all and that’s fine too.  One of the most interesting reactions that has caught my attention as well as that of Mommyish followers is the teen that popped up to write about her poly parents.

First off, let me say I sincerely feel for Anonymous Kid with poly parents.  Not in the respect that her parents are polyamorous, but how it seems they have dealt with her as their child.  For me, my kids come first, and it’s glaringly obvious from the article that she not only isn’t first in her family, but she doesn’t even know where she stands.  I read her holiday article with compassion and also my own children in mind, and came up with some ways a poly life could be better for a kid at the holidays (or always.)

Stability

(Image: getty)

(Image: getty)

Anonymous kid states “One would think by now where the holidays are spent would be squared away…..no two years were the same”.  Right there, I would call a general parenting flaw that crops up all too often in this era of divorces, moves cross-country, and alternative household arrangements.  A lot of children, like my own grade schooler, thrive on structure and consistency.  We have routines for dinnertime and bedtimes and quiet time. This even affects my poly relationship in the sense that we recently set our schedules so my spouse and I are always home together on Tuesday and Thursday nights, with one of us dating only on Monday, Wednesday or Friday.

You can bet this applies even more to the holidays.  Each year since our marriage ten years ago Allan and I have struggled with the amount of gatherings and people we were expected to attend to.  We both have divorced parents and large extended families and everyone always wanted us to be everywhere.  As the years went on and our holiday sanity lessened while our number of children grew, we cut down the number of places we were willing to be.  This year, we will have one small gathering with Allan’s father, sister and her family and grandma; one with my father and stepmother; and one with my mother. That’s three down from what use to be six, and will keep us and our children sane and happy.

How will being poly effect the above? It won’t. I’ll make plans to see Jim and exchange Christmas gifts, perhaps he’ll come by at some point with gifts for my kids, but it ends there.I cannot fathom dragging the kids around to a bunch of people they don’t know or care much about every year.

Traditions

(Image:getty)

(Image:getty)

This is something Anonymous Kid notes she doesn’t have that I want for my kids and I won’t let my being poly change. I feel like every kid deserves a stocking and a gift exchange tradition.  Heck, I want to make Anonymous Kid a stocking and mail it to her.

We actually don’t do much of a “Santa” thing at our house (that’s an article for another time. I don’t personally subscribe to fictional character traditions) but we do put on Christmas music and decorate the tree, just the five of us. We hang stockings, including one for the dog, and all wake up early Christmas morning to open gifts together.

Thinking about my being poly affecting any of that, makes me cringe.  It reminds me of a time I was about seventeen and I bailed on my parents and sister decorating the tree to be with my boyfriend.  My big sister was pretty mad at me, and rightly so.  Family comes first, and I’m going to teach my kids that too.

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  • FF4life

    I have come to hate this column. I will not be reading these articles anymore.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      thanks for the totally helpful and insightful comment….

    • Tinyfaeri

      Well, at least s/he let you know. It’s good to be informed, right?

    • Polyamorous Mom

      knowing is half the battle. Nice to still see you around Tinyfaeri ;) Random piece of info, some time ago we commented on each others comments a lot here and on STFUparents, before I was ‘Polymom”

    • Tinyfaeri

      I didn’t do it, it wasn’t me, I didn’t see a thing! :) Merry Christmas! I hope you and yours (all of them!) have a healthy, safe, happy holiday!

    • Polyamorous Mom

      lol, to you too Tinyfaeri

    • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

      I find this puzzling. I mean, read or don’t read whatever you want, but really? The “I want my kids to have stable holiday traditions and happy memories” post is the one the broke the camel’s back? I just find that very odd.

    • Andrea

      Seems very odd to me too. Of all of polymom’s articles, THIS one is the one that makes the most sense, the most reasonable, and the one that should give anyone peace of mind (not that we should give a crap about someone else’s lifestyle, but you know what I mean.) In this article she makes it clear that her children are a priority, during the holidays and always and that the nuclear family comes first.
      Seems strange that it would be this post that was the tipping point. If anything, it brought me “back into the fold” LOL (figuratively speaking of course, I still don’t think the poly style is one I could handle)

    • Polyamorous Mom

      Andrea, I always enjoy your comments. While its clear you don’t agree with my lifestyle, you are always very polite and discussive. is that a word? I think I just made it up. lol

    • Andrea

      I don’t disagree with it, it just seems very exhausting lol! And discussive is now totally a word.
      Merry Christmas to you and yours!!!

    • Polyamorous Mom

      disagree was a poor word choice, lol. I like that we can respect each others differences. It is a little exhausting. lol. Merry Christmas to you also!!! and thanks for reading

    • Véronique Houde

      It’s like, thanks for sharing your disgust, but hey if you don’t want to read the column, don’t… but why go out and say it like it would such a horrible thing for the mommyish community? Like, would we notice you were gone and beg you to come back to clicking on the link? Would we miss your wonderful insights and feel stripped of your knowledge? Please, enlighten my stunned brain.

    • FF4life

      I’d rather be despised for my unpopular opinion than be a kiss ass with no real opinion.

    • JLH1986

      Do you hate families? I’m not sure how discussing how she makes sure her family comes first could possibly make you hate this column…unless you hate families.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      I love each and everyone of you who commented on this. lol. Merry Christmas! (or happy Hanukah last month)

    • FF4life

      Seriously, this entire article was written in response to the negative aspects of the article posted by the kid with poly parents in an attempt to save people’s opinions of your life style.

      You have traditions? Oh how cute. But it is NOT stable. Polyamory can by all accounts be considered promiscuity in the eyes of a court of law which has been used as grounds to have custody taken from parents. And let’s not sweep under the rug that it’s in essence polygamy which is not at all legal.

      Maybe your articles told through rose colored lenses pull the wool over other peoples eyes but not mine. Polyamory destroyed my marriage and now I have to send my daughter to my Ex’s house every weekend where he and his partners have group sex parties where no one uses protection and they abuse every kind of drug under the sun. I can’t do any thing about this because all my money is wrapped up in divorce and foreclosure so I can’t hire a private investigator to get the physical proof I need to have custody yanked from him.

      There is only one reason why people turn to polyamory and it’s not because you have oh so much love to give. It’s because you’re a narcissist. The people in your life are accessories. Including your kids.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      wow….that is a lot of hate and defensiveness to spew onto one person and one lifestyle because you have had a bad and unfortunate experience. MOST poly people who not have group sex or do drugs around children (and I and the people I know don’t do either). If my spouse left me for a man, and I felt that sending my children to a gay household was detrimental, (which I wouldn’t) would that make ALL gay people bad? I think you need to redirect your anger at the people in your life and you spouse who is possible not a good parent instead of attacking people on the internet.
      Im sorry for your hardships and happy holidays anyways.

    • AE Vorro

      As Dan Savage says… most people only hear about open marriages and polyamory because it went bad, because the people involved weren’t truthful with one another. No one ever hears about the success stories because there really isn’t anything to discuss.

      (When will the bullshit term “promiscuity” go away. It’s never a valid term to hurl at someone. It’s right up there with referring to children as “illegitimate.” I used to hope that that crap would die with the Baby-Boomers, but I have my doubts…)

    • Polyamorous Mom

      thank you so much!

    • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

      Ah, yes. Clearly the “My ex is a shitty person and poly, therefore all poly people are shitty people” argument is coming from a place of rational thought. By this standard, because a monogamous boyfriend of mine once turned out to be manipulative and emotionally abusive, I can assume all monogamous folks are toxic as well. Likewise, a Catholic kid was mean to me once. So, it turns out Catholics are mean.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      Yes, exactly why I wrote it! I actually pay a lot of attention to comments on the site and want to provide material the readers find interesting/request knowing about what im writing about. Its helpful too cause its not like every day gives me some kind of new poly issue to discuss, if it did I don’t think this would be working.
      ps- always love your comments!

    • HaydenT

      I am really sorry to hear that you are experiencing this. I hope your kids are doing okay with the transition and it is good that they have at least one stable parent in their lives. Good luck.

  • Alicia Kiner

    I just want to say Kudos. After reading Anonymous Kid, I admit, I wondered how your family handled the holidays, and hoped they were better. Your holiday sounds a lot like mine. I wish her family was more like ours. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    • Polyamorous Mom

      Thank you!

  • jane

    I just wanted to add that “Anon Teen” seems to have bad parents, not because they are poly, but because they are bad parents. There seems to be a correlation/causation mistake there for her, and that is really too bad for all involved.

    • Lackadaisical

      Yes, if anon teen’s parents were monogamous then they would still be rubbish parents as it is obvious that they don’t make their daughter (or her half sister, I would imagine) enough of a priority. The problems she is having seem to stem from their selfishness and childishness and the way they are applying their polygamy is a manifestation of that rather than the root cause.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      agreed, I was kind of trying to get that across too

    • HaydenT

      I would bet $100 that Anonymous Teen’s mother has narcissistic personality disorder and I would win that bet.

      What struck me most is how similar she feels to a ‘middle child’.

    • Muggle

      You know, when I read Anon Teen’s comments about her mother’s family I thought the exact same thing. I think I’d find myself $100 richer, too.

    • JLH1986

      Yea I think her parents would suck just as hard at life if they were monogamous. They seem incredibly self absorbed.

    • AE Vorro

      Yes! This x 1 million!

  • Lackadaisical

    This all sounds very reasonable and it sounds like you will give your kids a lovely Christmas.

  • Kay_Sue

    Any nontraditional family structure is hard to figure out around the holidays, but there are always ways of handling it better. Anon Teen’s parents just handle the situation badly, period. It really does seem like in her world, her parents wishes and desires come first, period, and they don’t make her enough of a priority.

    • JLH1986

      They don’t make her a priority at all. :(

    • Kay_Sue

      I completely concur.

  • Tinyfaeri

    It sounds like you have a balanced, reasonable approach to the holidays. Also, kudos for writing a poly post that really addresses an aspect of parenting as a poly couple. :-)

    • Polyamorous Mom

      Thanks :) My son is started to kind of question more, but im having trouble turning that into an article :)

    • janey

      Please remember that sensitive and responsible handling of your son’s questioning during this time is so very much more important than your finding an opportunity to make it a subject for an article. It would probably be best to not entertain that thought until you get a deeper idea of where his questions are coming from and how your responses affect him.

  • Natasha B

    I think you brought up some really valid points for any family for the holidays! Well written. Happy holidays to you and yours!

  • HaydenT

    Thank you, Jesus, for this. I have dated plenty of people around the holidays and NEVER insisted that I be included in all their family stuff, or that they be included in mine. What in the ever lovin what?? That makes no sense to me.

    I checked out the polyamory community on Reddit and this seems to be a thing. 6 month to 1 year relationships are treated as ‘long term’ relationships. Nope, nope, nope. I don’t care if that relationship is with a primary or secondary, 6 months to 1 year is not long term.

    Insisting that your family host *everyone* you are dating and that the family of *everyone* you are dating has to host you is ridiculous.

    A polyamorous relationship is not automatically ‘family’, particularly for a child, and I am glad you recognize that.

  • Zettai

    I will admit that I have been waiting for a response from you to Anon Kid. I am glad it was not defensive because I kind of expected that.

    I hope all the Anon Poly families on MI (or is it MS or MH or…??) have a happily holiday, especially Anon Kid. I wish you were my kid.

  • Sam Inoue

    That poor Anon Teen article just made me wanna cry. Poly or not her parents need to think more about their kids. Holidays are hard to balance, we have to figure out my husbands family, my family and our friends. All of this is complicated by my family having to come to Japan if they wanna see us. Sounds like you guys have it set, thats awesome. Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  • Hannah Obermann

    So if you don’t mind my asking, what will your children’s relationship with Jim look like if you break up? Will they maintain the same relationship with him even if he’s not with you anymore?

    • AP

      Kids have a lot of people who pop in and out of their lives due to various circumstances. As long as the parents are keeping the general home stable and aren’t portraying Jim as a second dad, I’m sure the kids will be fine.

      I definitely get that kids having a revolving door of Mommies and Daddies as their parents date is unhealthy, but the people do drop out of people’s lives because of death, moving, job changes, school changes, relationship changes, etc., and most kids learn to deal in a healthy fashion.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      Thanks, nice points. Yeah Jim is childfree, second dad he is not. lol. Don’t get me wrong, he loves my kids….but in the way of a doting uncle, and he is a great uncle to his niece and nephews

    • Polyamorous Mom

      Good question…I contemplated this recently when Jim and I almost broke up (whole other story there) and I felt badly if we split, he could end up disappearing from my kids. What I think on it, is that Jim and I are such good friends, that if we split after a bit of a cooling off period I could still see him coming around. As is, they only see him a couple times a month.
      And as I mentioned in the article, my former stepfather has disappeared and reappeared a couple times, now hes coming to xmas tomorrow. This has not seemed to phase them, I think the most important part is Allan and I being a constant. Allan broke up with his GF recently, but they had only heard the name, and they are still friends so she is still spoken up, so it was no big deal. New people are introduced to them for quite some time. Jim already knew them, we’ve been friends for years

  • pixie

    I think this is absolutely fantastic. It’s great that you make your own family the main focus during the holidays (because that’s the way your family works best) instead of trying to incorporate secondary partners in when neither your husband nor yourself are totally comfortable with the idea, no matter how long you’ve currently been with the secondary partner. It’s also nice to see that you will be making plans to see Jim, and not completely ignoring him for the holidays (not that you would!), because you (quite obviously) do care for/love him, though he is not immediate family.
    I spend most holidays with my boyfriend’s family, but we have been dating for 7 years, are monogamous, and my family isn’t really into the “family gathering” thing. I still see my family, we have our traditions (boxing day at my favourite aunt’s house), but I’ve also been engulfed into my boyfriend’s family traditions.

  • thankyou

    My husband and I have been considering a poly life for awhile I enjoy reading your articles because they help us think of things we had not considered about the different parts of the relationships we might have and how they would relate to our budget and family. This article I loved because I felt so bad for anonymous child because of all the things we have difficulty with the holidays would absolutely not involving being with other people’s families and forcing them on our children. Thank you so much for sharing your story I really loved this article.

    • JLH1986

      While poly isn’t my thing (I don’t like sharing cookies, let alone my hubby, I could NOT be as chill as they are). I appreciate that she makes it clear how things work for her…and I’ve actually used little tidbits to use with divorced families (my clients) because really how they work things is very similar to separated families/blended families etc.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      JLH this comment was really great, thanks :)

    • JLH1986

      Welcome! I hope you don’t mind I use them. I don’t take credit, I just say “I read this and I want you to try it”. Some of it has worked really well! I’m adding how to handle holidays to my list for next year.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      seriously that’s awesome :)

    • Polyamorous Mom

      Good luck and feel free to ask questions :) its a tough transition, but the most important things are communication and working on yourself

  • Anon Teen aka J

    Thank you for posting an article on how y’all intend on handling the holidays. That’s sensible. I can respect that. Y’all have actually thought about what’s best for your offspring. Two thumbs up.

    I’m about 7,920 miles away from my egg donor, and you know…it feels f*cking awesome. I finished midterms on Friday, and I left LAX at 11:30 PM. I haven’t looked back. I told my mother and that witch of a girlfriend of hers off. I feel liberated. I knew another argument was going to happen, and I’m grateful. It’s officially Christmas here. Well, the wee hours, but it’s already the best one I’ve ever had.

    Egg donor dearest would be a bad mother with or without her sexual proclivities. I ain’t gonna argue with that. Her chosen way of living just magnifies the inherent flaws of it and the sins of the mother. Her narcissism and addiction to love solidified her nod for worst mother of the year.

    I do hope y’all have a Merry Christmas and a HNY. :-)

    • Polyamorous Mom

      Hi J! I hope you enjoyed the article and took no offense, i’ll send you a stocking ;) Im glad to hear your well, merry Christmas and happy new year to you too!

    • Anon Teen aka J

      Thanks. I don’t take offense to much so no worries.

  • Whocaniturnto

    I thought this article was wonderful. My husband and I have decided to open our relationship (about 3 months ago) and this column comes the closest to our situation.. We aren’t carefree child free 20 something’s, but we also aren’t looking for a group marriage. We are trying more causal secondary relationships. Since we have children (ages 7 and 19 months) making our family the highest priority is important to us. I’ll admit that the Anonymous kid stuff really riles me up because from my perspective it’s obvious that poor parenting is poor parenting, regardless of whether you are poly or not, and a lot of her complaints sound like typical teenage “I hate my parents” type rants. So Polymom, keep writing these columns. I find them amazingly helpful. And FTR, our Christmas looks a lot like yours.. Any present exchanges or special dinners with secondary partners happen before or after the holidays. Christmas is for us and our children.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      good luck to you and happy holidays!! its a bumpy road, but we are almost a year in and both very happy :)

    • Anon Teen aka J

      Typical teenage rants or not, I’m legally emancipated and on my own now. I have my own place, and I have legal control of my money. My egg donor is as good as dead to me. I’d rather be motherless than have her in my life. Fortunately a judge agreed with me, and I’m no longer hers. Best early Christmas present. :-D

      Good luck on your polyamorous journey. Happy Holidays.

    • HaydenT

      “and a lot of her complaints sound like typical teenage “I hate my parents” type rants”

      No and wishing does not make it so.