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Mom, do I have a real mom?

Updated: Mar 20, 2022

Katja’s swimming lesson at the indoor aquatic centre had ended moments before. She stood under the hand dryer so I could partially dry her hair before we went outdoors again. It was an ordinary autumn day, and nothing had forewarned me that I was about to be faced with a Very Important Question. Out of the blue, she asked the loaded question, “Mom, do I have a real mom?” Slightly panicked, I bought some time by asking what she meant.

Katja proceeded to explain that her school friend Kelsey (not her real name) informed her that I was not her real mom. Naturally, Katja was curious where this real mom might be hiding! Why do these key moments often come seemingly out of nowhere and when we least expect them? Katja was facing away from me, so she missed seeing the deer-in-a-headlight look on my face.

Somehow, I cobbled together an answer about how there are many types of moms and that we generally refer to a person who nurtures and cares for their child out of love. I then asked, “Does that sound like me?” Katja nodded and moved on to the next topic. With a bit of warning, I may have been able to provide a more polished response, but she got what she needed.

Personally, I found that the best approach in these situations was and still is to meet questions from our kids head on and not try to skirt around the issue. Otherwise, they may feel ashamed or even guilty for seeking information about their history. They need to know that their unique past is something to celebrate, not hide!

It doesn’t matter if we don’t have perfect and thorough answers for every question our children may pose, as they won’t remember every fact and detail. Instead, I hope my kids will recall that their mom was present in the moment and cared enough to meet their needs despite some fleeting moments of discomfort.

​Isn’t that what all real moms do?

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