Two Seattle dads tackle the universal balancing act
Photo: Joshua Huston
The first week they started dating, Christopher Peguero and Anthony Potter talked about kids. Both came from large families, and they definitely knew they wanted children someday. How that would happen, though, was much less clear.
The Seattle men met at a party the night President Obama was first elected. They met again at a Thanksgiving gathering and started going out.
As Peguero and Potter tell their story on a recent sunny Sunday in their modern, two-bedroom Beacon Hill home, they’re occasionally interrupted by a small, happy voice and tiny hands offering crackers, blocks and stickers.
Just 2½ years after same-sex marriage was legalized in Washington state, and not quite two years since they tied the knot in the spring of 2013, Potter and Peguero are now Father and Daddy, respectively, to Adela, 21 months, and Alexander, 10 months.
The dads expect to see more LGBTQ families learning to juggle work and kids, as they are. About 116,000 households across the country are like theirs, with same-sex partners and children at home, according to the 2013 American Community Survey. That same year, 8,429 same-sex marriages were performed in Washington state.
Their path to diaper changes and bottles was surprisingly direct.
“One of our strategies around having kids was to tell everyone we knew that we were ready to have kids, but not sure how that would happen,” says Peguero, 40.
When Potter’s niece became pregnant but wasn’t ready to raise a child, the pair gladly agreed to adopt the baby. Both dads were at the hospital to welcome Adela into the world.
And when some friends who had offered to have a baby for the men called to say they were unexpectedly pregnant, the men again said yes, and Alexander joined their family.
Adopting as a gay couple was a rigorous process with extra scrutiny and financial costs, Peguero acknowledged, “but worth it 100 percent.”
While their family may be nontraditional, their biggest challenges as working parents are universal.
“Time. Finding time to do everything you want to do,” says Potter, 46, who manages the IT service desk for Delta Dental of Washington.
“Not being home. I wish I could be home more,” adds Peguero, who is the first to leave for work in the morning, walking to his job as a division administrator for Seattle City Light.
Midway through their conversation, Adela has a pink snowflake sticker pasted in the middle of her forehead. Their dog, an affectionate, tan pit bull named Ruby, is slurping up some stray crackers.
As it is for many working parents, good childcare is a cornerstone to keeping the household running smoothly. The pair heaps praise on their nanny, whom they found through their PEPS (Program for Early Parenting Support) group.
“She is the best thing that ever happened to us,” Potter says. She cares for the children from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays and is even teaching them Spanish.
Being efficient also helps. Potter squeezes in his workout at lunchtime, while Peguero’s walk to work doubles as his. And Potter no longer gets irritated by his commute to and from Northgate. “Now I don’t mind it, because it’s my only alone time.”
Life isn’t all just work and kids. The two still find time for community connections — Peguero had plans to travel out of the country for volunteer work in March and May, and they belong to the PEPS parenting group as well as Feather Boa Fathers, a Facebook group of other gay dads. Pre-fatherhood, Peguero also started SEqual, the city of Seattle’s Employees for Equality, an LGBTQ employee resource group.
Asked what their key is to a successful work-life balance, Potter replies, “Being with someone who contributes to the whole thing equally.”
That can mean swapping tasks — after dinner, one will bathe the kids while the other cleans up — or taking turns for a solo break to get out for a beer.
“It’s pretty even,” Peguero says.
Read more articles on work/life balance from the April 2015 print edition of Seattle's Child.