How To Be an Amazing Godparent for A Gay Couple’s Baby
The role of the godparent for kids of gay parents means acting exactly the same as godparent to children of straight parents. Obviously. It’s no longer 1957 (or 1997, for that matter. Thank goodness.) But the label “godparent” might have multiple levels of meaning. Traditionally the role had religious significance. But now it’s more often an inter-family sign of love and affection designating that person in your who’s one step beyond mere “in case of emergency.” We are talking a SERIOUS emergency. Traditionally, a godparent is responsible for a child’s spiritual development and well-being. Certainly elevates the person by putting “God” in the title, doesn’t it? However, a couple doesn’t have to be religious to elect a godparent. These days, godparent has become a flexible term that can fit anyone who acts as a role model for the child, guiding them and spoiling them all at once.
Has the gay couple you adore requested you to be a godparent? There’s no need to be anxious. There’s no difference – in fact it’s a huge honor. And obviously you’re not caught up in their sexuality. So the same rules apply whether the parents were straight or anywhere under the queer umbrella. But let’s chat about some of the important points you might want to consider.
Plan Baby Shower
Depending on whether the couple is going through surrogacy or adoption, due dates can pop up quickly. If you have already been picked as a godparent, you could surprise the couple with the coolest gay dad baby shower ever. I mean, everyone expects this to be the only palletable shower of the year. No pressure, but like…make it fun. Decorations are necessary – embrace the kitsch. Get your barefoot contessa on, conjure fun party games, and maybe crack open a few cold ones? (Obvi.) And then there’s the baby shower gifts.
Baby-proofing the house is a Herculean task. As a soon-to-be role model, the godparent might help the parents make the home safe and fit for a child to live in. Hide those sharp items, install baby-proofing equipment and help use the paint roller in those hard-to-reach crevices of the child’s room. You could also lend an extra stuffed animal or two, but seriously – don’t go overboard. Blankets and stuffed animals eventually just get in the way. So don’t get all this crap.
Of course, the most precious gift you can give a child is your time and undivided attention. But for stable relationships, giving thoughtful gifts is also a mode of communication. Your duties do not end at buying the best baby shower gifts. You could start with a trendy new dad diaper bag when the baby first arrives. That’ll set the bar high and will pay back in dividends.
Strike a Balance
To be a godparent for gay parents requires acting somewhere in between a parent and a friend (to the kid, that is). It’s a very tricky zone to navigate indeed; we won’t sugarcoat it. You have to know when to laugh with them and when to inform their parents about their behavior.
This requires fine judgment. If you are too strict and inform the parents about everything the child shares with you, there will be no trust in this relationship. On the other hand, if you see the beginning signs of anything remotely dangerous like an addiction, you can’t turn a blind eye. There are books that will guide you in this matter. The rest of it comes from experience as the days go on.
Your home should be a safe space for the child, both physically and emotionally. It’s the place where the child should be able to stay if their parents have to go somewhere urgently.
You might want to have some extra essentials ready for them so that they don’t have to pack huge luggage every time they come over. Ask the parents for a change of clothes (they always have extra) and get a few games or toys to have on hand. For babies, keep a diaper bag ready for quick outdoor plans. A custom diaper or a removable liner diaper bag can be easier to manage. For teenagers, movie plans, amusement park trips, or game nights might be more suitable.
Even though times are changing, gay couples still face a lot of stigma, and the child might become a target for malicious comments. You can prepare yourself with these simple children’s books. Let the godchildren know you’re on their side and prepare to offer appropriate emotional support to the child and enlighten them with a better understanding of the LGBT community so that external comments do not influence their relationship with their parents; and being their advocate is a main step to be an amazing godparent.
If you have successfully created a safe space for your godchild, you have to be strong when they start coming to you for advice. Instead of dictating what to do, listening might be a more powerful tool. Ask the right questions to help them navigate their own problems and reach the best solution. This way, you are not only making sure that they follow the right path in difficult times, but you are also handing them a map of how to solve their own problems when they don’t have anyone immediately around to guide them. Be prepared to deal with anything from cute dating questions to serious mental health issues.
To be an amazing godparent for kids of gay parents, don’t wait for the child to come to you always. Be involved in their life as much as possible, check up on them often, find out what new hobbies they picked up, and be there when they need someone other than a parent. Your involvement and actions should show them that you will be there to help them out as they grow up from a toddler to a teenager. Whether it’s asking for a pick-up after getting too late at a party or planning a surprise for the parents, they should know that they can count on you. You will be the adult that they look up to, so words of advice won’t be enough. You have to show them how you choose to be a good person every single day.
Taking care of all these factors will give you a pretty great head start, but remember that it’s a two-way street at the end of the day. Things will not always go according to plan but have faith that you will always find a way out. You will learn from the child as much as you teach them. The child will change your life as much as you change theirs. In the process of trying to be an amazing godparent for kids of gay parents, don’t forget to have fun with your godchild and make plenty of beautiful memories.