- Huffington Post lists Mommy Man as one of 10 Books By Dads that You Need This Father’s Day!
- Metro included me on their list of Three Father’s Day Book Picks!
- Designer Daddy featured me and my family on his list of 25 Reasons Having Day Dads is Awesome! And his article is now up on the Huffington Post!
- Science of Parenthood published this fun interview with me. It’s a great parenting site. Check it out!
- I’ll be Hangin’ with Langan tonight from 10pm-1am on KGO 810am. Maureen Langan is a hilarious comic and talk show host, so it should be a really fun show. If you’re not in the Bay Area, you can listen to the archive on her site later this week.
- Rukkle put Mommy Man on their list of Top 10 summer reads for 2014!
- Mombian has a nice roundup of Father’s Day posts from and about gay dads, which includes my post on 5 Myths About Gay Parents I’d Like to Wipe Out Forever.
- It’s a big week for readings, New York area friends! I’ll be at the Upper West Side Barnes & Noble in Manhattan on Monday at 7pm, and Anderson’s Book Shop in Larchmont on Thursday at 6:30pm. If these are anything like my LA reading last week, they’re going to be a real blast. There will even be some special guests, including a lady we call Aunt Susie, who you may have heard about. Check my appearances page for more details.
- Most of all, Happy Father’s Day to all of you who’ve been barfed on, whined at, told “I hate you!” and who hopefully, at least once in a while, get the hugs and gratitude you deserve.
Nobody tells you this about your book’s release, but much like growing up gay, it gets better.
Promoting a book is awesome!
It helps that my publisher has been setting up some great events for me. Earlier this week, I got to go to SiriusXM headquarters and chat with Larry Flick of OutQ. (I’ll post the audio here soon.) Then, yesterday, I attended Book Expo America as an author. I sat at a table in the same (giant convention) room as bajillions of big-name celebrities like Anjelica Huston, Neil Patrick Harris and my buddy Tim Carvell. (I even scored an advance copy of Tim’s upcoming book, Return to Planet Tad.)
I signed copies of “Mommy Man” for conventioneers and met some really wonderful and enthusiastic people. And I felt like a big shot, which was the best part.
The other thing I wasn’t expecting to enjoy so much about having a book in print? The reviews. You know how when you’re writing something, you’re constantly imagining the reviews you’ll someday get? (What? Just me?) And they’re all crazy, over-the-top glowing? (Again, maybe that’s just me.) Well, the actual reviews I’ve read are almost as good as anything my bloated ego could conjure up. I expected raves from my friends and family, but people I don’t even know have been saying the nicest things.
If you want a good sense of what “Mommy Man” is about and why you’ll enjoy it, read this review which was just posted at the Good Men Project. Tom Burns, a straight dad and a fellow dad blogger (Did I mention my book makes a great Father’s Day gift?) said a lot of nice things, but I want to highlight this part:
“Mommy Man is a spectacularly well-told story. More than once, Jerry’s handling of his both hilarious and occasionally sobering subject matter reminded me of the deft storytelling chops that you can find in comedic one-man shows like Mike Birbiglia’s My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend or Sleepwalk with Me. It’s just an epic birth story, the kind that, if encountered at a dinner party, would make you cancel your plans for later and open another bottle of wine. Even if you know nothing about surrogacy, being a mild-mannered geek, or being a gay superdad, Mommy Man is a book that anyone can enjoy. It’s well worth your time.” – Tom Burns, Good Men Project
If that doesn’t convince you to read my book, I don’t know what will. (That doesn’t mean I’m not going to keep trying, though.)
Given what a blast this has all been so far, I’m really looking forward to my upcoming in-store events, so if you’re anywhere near Los Angeles, New York or Rochester, I hope you’ll come to one.
* I haven’t been great about promoting my selfie contest, so I’m going to extend the deadline a week, until Friday, June 6 at 9pm EST. You have until then to buy my book, snap a selfie (technically, it can also be a picture someone else takes of you) and upload it to my Facebook page with yourself tagged in it. By doing so, you grant me the right to repost it, but I’ll probably only do that 0-1 times. Whoever posts the best, most creative selfie will win a copy of Mommy Man autographed by me and creatively decorated by my kids somehow.
* * * * *
Need just a tiny bit more convincing that “Mommy Man” is the “uproarious”, “touching”, “fascinating” read the reviews are saying it is? You’re in luck! Download the sample chapter from your favorite ebook retailer (i.e., Amazon Kindle or iBooks) and see if it doesn’t leave you hungry for more. Or crack a copy open in Barnes & Noble or your other favorite bookstore, open to a random page and see how long it takes you to find something funny. Trust me, this works much better with my book than it does with “I Am Malala.”
I’ve written a few posts for this blog that I just can’t bear to reread. I think I’ve pointed out before that #1 on that list is this one. Just remembering that hospital episode turns my insides to instant slush. But I think this post about a bathroom nightmare I went through with the kids may be a close second on the ones I’d rather not revisit.
I want to say that our public bathroom experiences have gotten better since then, but it’s more like the horrors have morphed and now manifest in slightly different ways. So, in thinking about what I wanted for Father’s Day, I tried to imagine what the dream dad-friendly public men’s room might look like. That became my new Lifetime Moms post, My Dream of the Ultimate Dad-Friendly Mens Room. Check it out… but I’ll warn you – it’s not pretty.
Also, it’s kind of last-minute but I’ll be taking part in a Father’s Day-themed Twitter Party with the Lifetime Moms crew, tonight (Thursday, June 13, 2013, that is) at 9pm Eastern Time. Make sure you follow my new Twitter account for this blog, located @MommyManBlog, because that’s where I’ll be partying. You’ll also want to follow Lifetime Moms, as well as my fellow partiers Melissa Chapman, John Kinnear and Doug Latham, as well as keeping an eye on the hashtag #lifetimemomsdads
Did I mention there will be fabulous prizes? I’m assuming I’m not eligible for these prizes, which makes them a little less fabulous, but just for me. They’ll still be fabulous for you.
I had a great chat with my kids’ teacher yesterday about how to handle Mother’s Day. (She actually raised the topic with me, so she gets an A+ in my book.) I told her in our family, we celebrate Special Aunts Day, so she’ll be directing our kids’ craft projects toward their surrogate and egg donor and letting the other kids know that there are many different types of families. Have I mentioned how much I love my kids’ school?
Like I said, though, there are many different types of families, so what we’ve chosen to do isn’t going to work for everyone. Therefore, I wrote a new Lifetime Moms post with a few different suggestions for people whose family may not fit the Mother’s Day (or Father’s Day) mold but who want some ideas for how they can join in the celebration. I hope it’s helpful.
You can check out the Lifetime Moms post here, and if you have any suggestions of your own, please leave a comment.
There are work-arounds to not having a mother in your family. Our kids drank formula rather than breast milk. We make adjustments to forms when necessary. And when our twins are overly cranky, we tell them “Save the drama for President Obama!” But I’ll admit, Mother’s Day is a tough one.
What are my kids going to do when their classes are making macaroni and glitter cards and milk carton bird feeders every mid-May? Sit in the corner and do long division because they have no one to give theirs to? I don’t want them to feel left out, and I would never want a school to cancel Mother’s Day for their benefit. It’s a great holiday. I even have a mother myself.
Actually, my problem with Mother’s Day started before the kids were even born. Three years ago, around this time, our surrogate, Tiffany, was pregnant with the blobs who would eventually become Bennett and Sutton. She did everything a pregnant woman is supposed to do – ate well, got regular check-ups, stayed off crack. For her diligence, she was rewarded with non-stop morning sickness, a fetus who kicked the crap out of her uterus, Braxton Hicks contractions and eventually, 24-hour bed rest, all for the sake of someone else’s kids.
For that alone, I’d say she earned a bouquet of flowers once a year, but it doesn’t make her, you know, an m-word.
Then there was Drew’s sister, Susie, who’d gone through the hassle and discomfort of egg donation, who’d injected herself with needles on a daily basis, flown across country about five times – at the risk of losing her job – and forked over her DNA to make a couple of kids who would always call her “Aunt”. What would Mother’s Day represent for her? Just another Sunday? An annual unacknowledged reminder of her sacrifice?
It didn’t seem right. But using Mother’s Day to honor Tiffany and Susie didn’t seem appropriate either, because we were very clear about our family structure and who was in charge. Fear not, Right Wing. I have no desire to redefine motherhood.
After thinking it over for a while, we invented our own holiday, Surrogate and Egg Donor’s Day, which we celebrate on the Saturday before Mother’s Day every year.
The timing is significant, because it keeps our kids from feeling left out of Mother’s Day weekend, and it allows our surrogate and egg donor, both of whom now have kids of their own, to celebrate Mother’s Day with their own families, while still being honored for their contribution to ours. Because they’re such amazing people, they get a whole weekend of love.
We’re not the only non-traditional family who can use this extra holiday. Plenty of special women fall outside the definition of the word “mother” but still deserve recognition for their contributions to families. It could be:
- Your adopted kid’s birth mother
- The woman who raised you in your mother’s absence
- A stepmother
- Your family’s long-time nanny
- A trans parent who’s not sure where they fit in on Mother’s/Father’s Day
- A co-parent
- A mean green mother from outer space
Or whoever you think deserves a special day to honor her for her role in your family.
The same goes for special men, who you might want to celebrate the day before Father’s Day, rather than, you know, not at all.
In writing this piece, I realized I’m not the first one to use the term “Other’s Day”. Some people are even offended by it, which is fair enough. But the distinction is totally up to you and your family to make. If someone’s special to you, you can celebrate them on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Other’s Day. If Other’s Day sounds off-putting to you, call it Special Women’s Day or Special Men’s Day or even something clumsier, like Surrogate & Egg Donor’s Day. Every family’s different, so we can all celebrate in different ways, too.
My kids are still a little young to understand the meaning of our special holiday, but I look forward to getting them involved in it as they get older, doing art projects, Skyping, or sending flowers. It’ll be a great excuse to retell the incredible story of how they were born and to acknowledge what makes our family special. Maybe it’ll also be a reminder of how corny their dads are, but I’m fine with that, too.
Again, I’m not trying to redefine anything, but I think it’s only fair that non-traditional families have a way to honor the people who matter to them. I know, the last thing we need is one more holiday on the calendar, but if Hallmark wants to put out a special card with some schmaltzy sentiment aimed at surrogates or egg donors, they’ve got their first customer right here.