"So," I say to The Husband one evening. "You know how I'm all about dismantling the binary gender paradigm?"
"Of course," he says.
"What do you think about this?" I want to know.
There's a client who has a couple of children and is expecting another. She is in a relationship with another woman who is expecting her first baby. The mother and the partner have told the children to call the partner "Daddy."
The consensus among the social workers is that this is negative and confusing for the children. To be fair, no one would tell that to the mom since no one believes the kids are actually being significantly harmed, just that the situation is weird and bad judgment on the part of the mother.
My first visceral reaction was also negative, but I'm trying to examine this reflex. If we look at it objectively should calling a female partner and caregiver "Daddy" even be considered an issue?
The Husband wondered what the partner's own child would call her. He thought that being the daddy to some children and mommy to others would be more confusing than having mismatching gendered labels. I pointed out that the same caregiver could be called mommy, aunt, granny, etc. by different children, and no one would worry about those kids being detrimentally confused. But, we still agreed that it just felt different. I'm still not sure why.
"Daddy" essentially means "male parent," but many male caregivers are called "Daddy" even though they don't have a biological relationship to the children who call them that, and I don't know of anyone who would have an issue in that case. Why is it even necessary to have different titles for male and female primary caregivers? And if it's not, why should any of us care if a woman wants to be the daddy?
What do you think?