“She’s Mommy, I’m Mammie.” What It’s Like When Both Parents Are Mom.
Amy Nielsen and Jenylle Fideli had never dated another woman before—let alone thought about it—before they met at the gym (Amy’s the co-founder of boutique studio chain SPENGA), fell in love, and got married. Now they share the title of “mom” to their two kids Brooklyn, 5, and Jackson, 7, from Jenylle’s previous relationship, and have plans for a third. From the laughably awesome aspects of a household run by two women (let’s just say they’re on top of it) to their unique roles with the kids, here’s their story.
On dating another woman for the first time:
“We had an instant connection—we always explain it as totally organic, because neither of us had ever been with a woman before, or even fathomed being with a woman, so it was really the most instant, natural connection ever. It’s just that person you always want to be around. We got engaged on the two year anniversary of our first date. It was so special and we exchanged rings, but there was no getting down on one knee or any of that business,” says Amy.
On their surprise wedding:
Amy knew wedding planning wasn’t on Jenylle’s shortlist of favorite activities, so she decided to handle the whole thing on her own and make the wedding a surprise. “I told Jenylle we were going to be featured in a same sex magazine and do a photoshoot for it, so we bought the dresses that we figured we’d wear later, got all ready, and had the kids super involved. When we walked into the room to take the ‘pictures’ our parents and friends were all there waiting to watch us get married. It was excitement after excitement—the perfect night,” says Amy.
On adding another mom to the family:
The kids call Jenylle Mommy, and Amy is Mammie. “Our kids know no different. Amy’s like an additional bonus mom,” says Jenylle. “Kids are so accepting—often times if a kid is questioning something it’s because the parents aren’t having the right conversations with them, or sending the wrong message. We have very similar parenting styles but I’m more jokey with them and will run after them and tackle them at 9pm at night—Jenylle’s the one they turn to when they’re sick and don’t feel good. We each have our roles,” says Amy.
On the challenges of building a modern family:
“We haven’t had any major public debacles yet with the two mom thing—we’re just trying to give them the most loving environment,” says Jenylle. “We’ll address them as they come, but our kids are very strong. There’s of course the teacher, who, no matter how many times I pick the kids up from school, will only text Jenylle about things going on at school. We just try not to let situations like that bother us. Strong love is love—the biggest compliment we get is when we’re out and people comment on how happy and engaged we are as a family,” says Amy.
On the perks of a house with two women in charge:
“With two moms we’re pretty much on top of planning…our son Jackson was recently invited to a birthday party and we had the invite sitting on the counter—without knowing we both texted the same exact message to the kid’s mom to RSVP, saying: “Hey, this is Jackson’s mom he’s able to make it.” She must have been like, how many moms does this kid have?” says Amy.
On the special bond two women share:
“She drives me to be a better person. Our conversations are deeper than anything I’ve ever experienced. And then there’s the part where you’re going for a pedicure and find out it’s been paid for—or I’ll be on a plane and realize I forgot my gym shoes and open my bag when I arrive at the hotel to find them with a note like ‘hey you forgot these!’” says Amy. “It’s this ultimate connection.”
On growing their family:
“We want to expand our family this fall and the kids are super supportive of it, they can’t wait for that day and pretty much talk about it constantly—for a lack of a better term, we’ve just got to go ‘online shopping’ and dial someone in before it can happen,” says Amy. “I actually loved being pregnant, and I told Amy I’d do it again because she’s constantly in the spotlight with work, but I do think it’s so important for her to experience it,” says Jenylle.