Father’s Day is for Fathers.

June 18, 2013 — 2 Comments


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I have been a single mom on and off for at least half, if not more, of the time I’ve been a mom. Without fail, every year on Father’s Day someone has wished me a Happy Father’s Day.

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And I hate it.

On Father’s Day I noticed all sorts of posts on my Facebook feed by and to single mothers  proclaiming to the world that single mothers are both mom and dad. Rather than start a debate that I know would offend some, I didn’t post anything that day but I sure thought about it.

I think the idea of celebrating mothers on Father’s Day is wrong for so many reasons.

Mothers Have A Holiday – It’s Called Mother’s Day

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In May we celebrate Mother’s Day. That’s a day that, you know, is set aside to celebrate mothers.

It’s a day when Hallmark reminds us all to do something nice for mom, and we have brunches with mimosas, flowers, etc.

All mothers can be acknowledged on Mother’s Day and it’s a time when everyone can say, “Yes, we know it’s hard but you’re doing a great job, keep up the good work!”

Fathers Are Important

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Not all dads are deadbeats. Let’s just start with that. Father’s Day is about them.

But, equally important, by saying that a woman can be both mom and dad (which is scientifically impossible unless you’re a seahorse) we’re telling our children that dads aren’t necessary. Dads are replaceable by moms.

While women can and do raise children on their own and do it well, we’re not able to replace dads or the want of a child for a father or male role model.

I’m sorry, but have you ever tried to talk to your son about his penis?

While I know what they do, it’s really hard to discuss something that you have no actual first hand knowledge of. It’s kind of like talking to someone about what it’s like to drive a car when you’ve never driven one. While in theory you may know how one drives a car, you don’t actually know how to drive one.

I also feel like this is another subconscious way to continue to send the message to men that  it’s okay to skip out on responsibility because women can do it all. It’s like saying, “No dad, that’s cool, mom can be dad too.”

This just isn’t true.

Fathers (or father-like figures) are needed and important.

There is no child on Earth who doesn’t want to have a mother and a father (or at least male and female role models).

Again, this doesn’t take away from the fact that children can be raised happily and healthy with only a mom, or only a dad, or two moms or two dads. By the same vein, it doesn’t take away from the fact that children need male and female influences in their lives.

End of story.

Sometimes Single Mothers Have More Support Than Mothers With Partners

Yep, I said it. I went there.

Sometimes single mothers have more support than married mothers. Just because someone is married doesn’t mean that the father (or partner) is an active parent or their situation is easier than a house without a male in it.

I know single mothers who have extended family who help with childcare, as my family did (and does) for me.

I know single mothers who get long weekends with no kids, who receive significant financial support (via child support or other sources), and who have a network of other parents and friends to lean on.

I also know married mothers who have no true support when it comes to the raising of the kids, who are the sole-bread winners, and so on.

Sure, something can be said about picking a partner who isn’t a hands-on parent or is just a total douche but that’s really a topic for another day.

There are non-single moms who have little to no support. That sucks just as much as being a single parent.

Or maybe the mom is married but has a special needs child (or children) that require twenty-four hour care and special food, medical treatment, etc. The simple reality is that having another adult in the house doesn’t inherently mean that parenting is easier.

Like I know first hand what it’s like being a single mom, I know this first hand as well.

It’s Not A Competition

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Being a mom isn’t a competition. Being a mom or being a parent period is hard work.

We should all be acknowledged and appreciated for the hard work that we put into raising our children whether we are a single mom, a single dad, two moms, or two dads. It’s work and it’s hard. It’s damn hard work.

Sometimes it is lonely. Sometimes you are judged. Sometimes you feel like you’re doing it all wrong and no one knows what you’re going through.

We all have our moments and we all feel that at times.

We all probably have moments when we don’t feel appreciated enough for the work that we do raising our kids. This isn’t something that is exclusive for single moms or single dads.

We all also do the best that we can do with the life and challenges that we are given.

And we kick ass.

The Moral of My Rant

I don’t intend to offend single mothers (or anyone). I know how hard it is.

I can empathize with wanting the acknowledgement that one is carrying a weight that would lighter if placed on two.

{To all the single parents if anyone hasn’t told you you’re awesome recently, I will. You are.}

I guess I don’t get the idea or need to be acknowledged on Father’s Day — a day that should be about celebrating fathers and not twisted into some negative reminder that some people don’t have active, present or living fathers.

I don’t see the single dads making a big fuss (or anyone making a big fuss for them) on Mother’s Day. I haven’t seen a single single dad proclaim to be mom and dad both.

Maybe us single moms still hold onto a certain level of guilt and hurt. Maybe it’s time that we realize and own those feelings and emotions and then let them go. ‘Cause, baby, life ain’t fair for any of us and that’s just the way it is.

We weren’t promised rose gardens, or great parenting partners, or even tomorrow.

Feel it, accept it, release it and move on.

Instead of each Father’s Day focusing on the fact that the father of a child may be absent for whatever reason, instead focus on celebrating the good father figures or men in the world.

Or focus on the kids and be reminded of what a blessing they are. You know all you do for them. Let that be enough.

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2 responses to Father’s Day is for Fathers.

  1. 

    Well said and important. We always need to think about the messages we send. Fathers are important and deserve their day too.

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