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work&wealth | how she does it

Celia: Although we were legally married


in Canada, New Jersey doesnt recognize
same-sex marriage. Yet the state grants
medical care and family medical leave
for people in a civil union. We both have
wills, living wills, powers of attorney and
health care proxies, and weve identified
legal guardians for the children.
ESSENCE: All parents want to protect their
children. What lessons are you teaching
yours about handling discrimination?
Celia: Kiley understands that there are
family structures with a mom and dad,
but she is very comfortable within her
own family. Its hard to predict how it will
play out, but we will continue to reassure
all our children that our family structure
is something to be proud of; we just have
two mommies, instead of one.
Celia, hold-
ing Tyler, and ESSENCE: How do other parents respond
Tanisha, with upon initially meeting your family?
Kaitlyn and Kiley, Tanisha: The first presumption is to ask
say providing for
children is not about the father. Once we let them know
enough. You have there are two mommies, its a nonissue.

William Marshall /KENBARBOZ A.COM. gaming system, courtesy of nintendo.


to be actively ESSENCE: Tanisha, how do you keep the

PHOTOGRAPHY, Eric M c Natt. HAIR, Daria Wright/KENBARBOZ A.COM. MAKEUP,


engaged.
kids on schedule?
Tanisha: Schedules come from kids, so

Partners in Parenting analyze your kids moods. If you know they


get hungry around 11 a.m. and cranky at
1 p.m., feed them at 11, let them relax, and,
if theyre tired, put them down for a nap.
Attorney Celia Mitchell, 33, and her spouse, Tanisha, 32, ESSENCE: You have been a couple for
rely on mother wit and synchronized schedules to keep about nine years. With three small children,
their household running smoothly By aisha I. jefferson how do you keep the romance alive?
Celia: We take minivacations to Atlantic
ESSENCE: Celia, youve worked at a law recognizing different family structures. City or New York City every six or eight
firm and two financial services firms as In my new position at a financial services weeks. Since we stay overnight, Tanishas
a securities corporate law attorney. With firm, the schedule is more flexible, so I mother and a babysitter watch the kids.
Tanisha at home, how do you deal with the can assist with breakfast and dinner, and ESSENCE: Whats your best parenting
sacrifice of being the working parent? read bedtime stories to Kiley. tip for readers?
Celia: With young kids you can miss out, ES SENCE: As same-sex parent s of Tanisha: Incorporate an activity chart that
so I took a two-month paternity leave at 3-year-old Kiley and 15-month-old rewards children when they reach a goal.
law firm Sidley Austin when Kiley was twins Kaitlyn and Tyler, what legal docu- It helped Kiley learn how to potty-train,
born in 2006. The firm is proactive in ments have you set up? pick up her toys, and make her bed.

3 ways they build family values


1. gather Support. Our 2. INSTILL TRADITION. 3. MAKE TIME. Cooking
kids have positive male and The brood eats tacos on together equals family fun.
female role models in their Halloween and receives Try the Nintendo DSi XL
grandparents, says Celia. balloons on Valentines gaming system ($190,
Its vital for our son, Tyler, Day. Our traditions are nintendo.com). The
because there are certain quirky, but its nice to have Americas Test Kitchen soft-
perspectives that men have something to call our own, ware gets kids excited with
that we as women dont. Tanisha explains. age-appropriate tasks.

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