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Of Mommies And Madams



If you’re looking for information on raising children in a polyamorous household, you’ll want to listen to these podcast episodes: How to Be a Kickass Poly Parent and A Poly Teen Answers Your Questions.

Honesty may seem like a simple virtue but when you’re a parent that’s also kinky you will sometimes find telling the truth gets a little complicated.

Although we do our best not to involve our children in our personal lives, they are more perceptive than we like to admit and if they are asking questions they already know somethings up. For example, when your child discovers that you have a collar and leash in your closet and you don’t own a dog you might be a tempted to start fibbing, just a little.

“Hey little buddy, guess what? We’re getting a dog…” or “Oh, didn’t you know Mommy is adopting a Great Dane?” may be the first things that slip out.

Before one gets into a kennel business or starts saving to buy their kid a brand new canine friend to cover things up they might want to consider some possible truthful options.

What you are going to share with your child(ren) about your lifestyle is going to vary between different individuals. The important thing is to try to explain things to them in an age-appropriate way they can understand or, in some cases, learn to just tell them it is none of their business.

My husband and I have always believed that honesty is the most important thing in relationships. The betrayal of trust is the single most damaging thing one can do to any relationship be it with a lover, a child, a friend or even just a co-worker. Honesty is an important value we have chosen to instill in our son. Although being honest has not always been easy my husband and I believe it to be essential.

Situations Happen

I have always enjoyed the sound of my husband calling me Madam. Even though it has become a habit and is used regularly I still get filled with satisfaction whenever I hear it (in most cases that is).

One day my husband and I were driving down the road when he turned to me and said in the sweetest tone “I love you, Madam.”  I was full of awe for about twenty seconds until I heard a small voice from the back seat say “I love you too Madam.”

The owner of that tiny voice that hailed from the back seat was my son who was five years old at the time. My husband has called me Madam for years and our son had never even seemed to notice it until that moment.  My husband and I sat in silence looking at each other for a moment trying to figure out how to explain the proper use of titles to a little boy. I did not want him to think he did anything wrong, or that there was anything wrong with his dad calling me Madam, but I certainly did not want to hear him use it again.

I told my son “Just like Mommy is your special name for me and no one else is supposed to call me that, Madam is Daddy’s special name for me and only Daddy is supposed to use that name.”

My son said “Ok, I get it” and he was satisfied with that answer. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be.

If you decide to talk to your child about something it is important to explain things in a simple way that they can relate to.  The reason my son was so accepting of my answer was that I related it to something he was familiar with.  After my explanation he did not once call me “Madam” and he went back to not even noticing my husband calling me “Madam.

The simple solution is usually the one that works. That’s not saying that the question you answer will not come up again, or that you will never need to explain things in more detail later.

A year after the car conversation my husband and I were in a polyfidelitous relationship with a girlfriend who I will call  “Miss C.”  We had been with Miss C for several months and a power dynamic was evolving between her and me.

My son, Miss C, and I were watching TV on a Saturday afternoon when Miss C asked: “Would you like me to get you a drink while I am up Madam?”  My son immediately hopped out of his seat and said “Uh uh uh… oh no you don’t! That is Daddy’s special name for Mommy! You can’t use it!”

Before I could respond, my son thought for a second and then asked, “Is Madam Miss C’s special name for you too?”  My son looked puzzled for second and then a pleased look came a crossed his face “I get it, Mommy! She is sort of like Daddy’s sister!”

It was not exactly what I was going for, but the concept was accurate enough. He embraced the idea without hesitation and it became normal for Miss C to call me Madam too.

How to Be Honest But Discreet

Our method has always been: tell the truth, only part of the truth but nothing but the truth!

When we go out to kink outing or events we never lie about it we just choose to leave out the details about kink. When going to kinky events, parties or gatherings we simply say “We are going to dinner with friends”, “we’re going to a party”, or “we are going to a conference.”  None of these answers are lies they are just leaving out the details that are not age appropriate.  If asked further details sometimes the truthful answer we give is “None of your business.”

Something we should always keep in mind no matter how we address topics with our children is; kids are smarter than we usually give them credit for. Sometimes telling the truth may be difficult but in the long run, being honest with your child will teach them that they can count on you not to be deceiving.



Cassie is polyamorous, dominant, queer, and a full-time relationship coach. Since 2008 she’s been helping poly folks create extraordinary relationships while a falling back in love with each other. Cassie has been featured in publications such as The Huffington Post, The Atlantic, and Men’s and Women’s Health, and has taught at conferences and colleges across the US. Cassie is the co-founder of Touch of Flavor and co-host of the TOF podcast. Cassie lives in Maryland with her nesting partners Amanda and Josh, their teenaged son, a lovable but goofy Great Dane, and a cat with a bad attitude.
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