Fathers: Same-Sex Dads Look Forward to Father’s Day [Interview]

Fathers

Phoenix dads Levi and Patric Schine have been looking forward to Father’s Day, their first since their same-sex marriage last summer. The couple did not know what to expect for this first Father’s Day, Levi said. “We talked about it and since we don’t do Mother’s Day, we thought we would just do something as a family instead of for each other.” The two fathers had their twin daughters via surrogate last Fall.

Levi says the question these same-sex dads gets the most about raising children with two fathers is: “Who is the mommy?” He laughs and says, “I’m not a mommy, I’m a daddy. The kids have two fathers, not a mom who’s a man.” The stay-at-home father refers to the woman who assists them two days a week as “a mannie, or a nanny for a man. She comes in for a few hours and helps with cleaning and stuff.” Levi says, “It’s hard work. I love it, but I honestly don’t know how single moms do it. The first thing I do when the mannie gets there is jump in the shower as fast as I can. She’s great with the girls and entertains them while I run an errand or make a phone call.”

Patric works in healthcare and Levi left his job in banking to be a stay-at-home dad when they discovered daycare costs for twin newborns would be almost $4 thousand. He says, “I miss going to my job, but full-time fatherhood uses another part of the brain.” When asked how the couple divides their parenting duties, Levi said, “Parenting duties are mostly about who can tolerate the most at what time of day. Patric gets up early with them. I give the baths. I try to make our ‘shifts’ overlap so Patric doesn’t feel like I dump the kids on him when he walks in the door. And then we each get a little break.”

Levi’s favorite baby item is flat cloth diapers. “We never used them as diapers but now they’re a standard item for spit up spills. Plus they double as a toy.” Although they expect this Father’s Day to be quiet, with their daughters so young, both dads are looking forward to the holiday in the future. Levi says, “I can’t wait to start doing things with them like cooking and crafts.”

When asked what kind of day-to-day reactions they receive as same-sex fathers, Levi said, “Everyone has been respectful of us as parents but some are so excited to see two dads, it’s funny. One day these cute older ladies saw us at lunch and though it was so neat that we had kids. They went on about how they were so proud of us being such doting dads. And at a restaurant the other day, one of the servers came by and wished us both a happy Father’s Day. It was sweet.”

A poll in the first quarter of this year from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press says that support for same-sex parents has risen 10 percent with 64 percent of respondents saying “same-sex married couples would be able to parent as well as heterosexual couples.” Ten years ago, in the same study, only 54 percent agreed. Levi and Patric say, “We don’t dwell on the ‘same-sex’ part…after waiting so long for family and fatherhood, our biggest priority every day is for our family to be close and happy and to enjoy being dads.”

Interview by Jenny Hansen

Sources:
Pew Research Center
Interview with Patric and Levi Schine of Phoenix

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