ST. GEORGE – In a changing world, the face of motherhood has also changed for two St. George women.
Between them, Melynda and Amy Thorpe have 10 children from previous marriages – Melynda Thorpe has two sons, and Amy Thorpe has three sons and five daughters. Amy Thorpe is a teacher, and Melynda Thorpe is a small-business owner. The two women were married last year.
“As much as it’s abnormal, it’s normal,” Melynda Thorpe said. “We do homework. We make dinner. Amy reads to the girls to help them fall asleep.”
The Thorpes have a nontraditional family structure, but they say their home has the most important elements that a good home needs: Their children know they are loved and safe; they know they can talk to their moms about anything; and they see an example of two parents who work hard and respect each other.
“I wish every child had their mother and their father that gave birth to them in the home, but it’s just not where we’re at anymore,” Amy Thorpe said.
Two of the Thorpes’ children are grown; the others live part-time with them.
“We have circulating through our home eight of the 10,” Amy Thorpe said.
Adjusting to a new life with two moms has been challenging for the Thorpes’ children. But, through it all, the kids have been loving and respectful, Amy Thorpe said.
“It wasn’t the paradigm that they grew up with. It wasn’t the paradigm that Melynda and I grew up with,” she said.
“There’s a lifestyle difference between what we would choose to do and what the children would choose to do,” she added.
Melynda Thorpe and Amy Thorpe were both raised within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They said their devout LDS mothers have been sweet and kind and patient in the face of their daughters’ choices.
“Their faith is deeply rooted in the LDS culture, but they have never been unkind to us but have been genuine in expressing love, and just continually kind,” Amy Thorpe said. “And this is not easy for them either – not what they had hoped for.”
The Thorpes said they’ve also met with love and kindness from LDS church members in their neighborhood. Youth leaders and other church members, and even missionaries, have reached out to them and have actively made an effort to spend time with their children. This is especially helpful when it comes to their boys; as women, it isn’t always easy to relate to their sons.
“There are times when our teenage boys get a little more motherly attention than they wish they would get,” Melynda Thorpe said.
In addition to male family members who are present in the kids’ lives, men within the church have stepped up when there is a need that Melynda Thorpe and Amy Thorpe haven’t been able to meet.
“We just have the coolest ward members,” Melynda Thorpe said, “and (the boys) have Young Men’s leaders who come over and take them to do things and take them to lunch. They have a lot of friends who are in our neighborhood and in our ward and in our schools.”
“There’s not a lack of role models in our lives,” she added.
The kids’ dads are also actively involved and share custody of the children.
“My children’s fathers each have been very kind to us,” Amy Thorpe said. “There’s never been one statement of judgment or one unkind thing said to us by them. They have been kind, and we still parent together. We parent together – and that’s important.”
In choosing a new life path together, Amy Thorpe said, she and Melynda Thorpe have reinforced that they honor their kids’ choices – and they have been careful not to impose this path change on the children.
“We support our sons who are choosing to serve missions,” Melynda Thorpe said. “… We’ll read scriptures with them when they want to read scriptures.”
As mothers, Amy Thorpe said, she and Melynda Thorpe have complementary talents. Amy Thorpe is the structured, organized mom who keeps family life flowing smoothly; Melynda Thorpe is the fun, playful mom and the kids’ cheerleader and celebrator.
“She has the ability to make our kids feels special and important,” Amy Thorpe said of Melynda Thorpe, “and I love that about her.”
“She’s the most phenomenal mother that I have ever met, besides my own,” Melynda Thorpe said of Amy Thorpe. “She keeps our home organized and she keeps things moving smoothly. We all know that we are loved.”
At the end of the day, Melynda Thorpe said, being mothers is the most important thing to both of them – and being identified by the word “mother” surpasses identification as a same-sex couple.
“I think Amy and I are more comfortable saying, ‘Hi, nice to meet you. I’m a mother,’” Melynda Thorpe said.
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