- July 30, 2016
- Posted by: Dr. Elise Cohen Ho
- Category: Parenting & Family
One of the things that I love to do is to highlight interesting people. Perhaps they are a great parent (mom or dad), a wonderful role model or a fascinating entrepreneur. Sometimes they just have a really good lesson to teach.
In Lise Robinson I found many of these qualities and I especially like how she helped her kids through the transition of the marriage to their dad ending and then into their new life with the woman their mom describes as her “soulmate.”
These are some excerpts from our interview then and while the kids are older (the boys were 24, 22, 12 and 10 at the time) the lesson remains the same.
Lise, after your divorce from your ex-husband you met and fell in love with a woman. How did you explain this to your children ?
I came out to my oldest two a couple of years earlier. They were totally on board with it. My younger two weren’t sure how to take it at first. I had to explain to them that I fell in love with Jo. Once they got to know Jo, they just accepted our relationship. Zachary (Lise’s youngest at ten years old) has become very attached to her.
I can honestly say I found my soulmate. We have been together since the day we met (even though, on that night, we both laid it on the line that neither of us were looking for a relationship). We’ve been through more than most in the short time we have been together and we’re still together which speaks for itself. Through losing loved ones, pain, sadness, and parenting challenges we’ve held strong. We’ve taught each other, supported one another, cried and laughed together, but most importantly we loved each other through all of it.
We like to travel, and love to laugh! When we get to laughing, it gets bad!
Our birthdays are only a day apart. We’re both Virgo’s. We’re sometimes too much alike!
How did you introduce your children to your, then, girlfriend?
I told my older boys about her before they met her. As for my younger two, well, she was introduced as “Jo.” Questions came later when they put 2 and 2 together.
How did they respond to that news?
My older boys were totally okay with it. They have friends that are in same sex relationships.
My 22 year old cried at our wedding reception (July 16, 2010) and said, “this is the happiest I’ve ever seen my mother.”
I had to explain to my 12 year old (who was then 9) what “gay” was and that it’s okay and that didn’t change who I am or how I feel about him, that I am still “mom.”
My youngest was only 7 and used to laugh and say “mom’s gay because she loves a girl.” That took a little time and explaining, today he is happy to have 2 moms!
I don’t refer to myself as “gay”, it’s a label, I don’t feel I need to label myself or anyone for that matter. I’m just me. I’m a woman who fell in love with a woman.
Do you have any advice to share with someone going through a similar situation?
First and foremost, be true to yourself. Live your life for you. Explain to your children how you feel , let them know that it’s okay to follow your heart. Listen to them as they voice their concerns and thoroughly explain things they question. Love them and teach them that it’s okay to be who you are. When they hear negative things, which they will, explain to them that people have different beliefs, and that’s okay, we should all be respectful and kind.
How do you split household chores and familial responsibilities?
I am not sure that this is a good question for me…we kind of just do what needs to be done. There aren’t any real assigned chores per say. Basically we pick up after ourselves. Whoever is home more does what needs to be done on any given day. I do most of the cooking and “let” the kids make some of their own things so that they learn skills they will need later in life. They actually ask if they can cook!
Do the kids have assigned chores?
They clean their rooms and play with pups.
Please share with us your best piece of mothering advice?
Love and nurture your children as much as you can. Teach your children to be true to themselves and be kind and respectful of all things. Give them the tools they need to become healthy, happy adults.
I think that you can see why I thought my conversation with Lise was important to share.
I would love to hear about a parent that you admire or that has an important lesson to teach us. Please share in the comments.
Perhaps you may even see a feature story on this parent…How fun would that be?