It seems that everyone has their day to be celebrated. Mothers on Mother’s Day, birthdays, Veterans Day, there is even a day to celebrate a best friend. However, Father’s Day makes single mothers furious for being told that the day is not about them, regardless of the work they do! Many fathers around the world support their children in ways that society says they should, garnering them much praise on Father’s Day. Ideally, being one-half of a two parent home, great job, beautiful house, and never having their children ask for any needs that a father deems appropriate and necessary to meet is one way to be recognized. Others support their kids in the only ways they can, are able, and know how to. However, whether society-approved or not, do single mothers have the right to be angry when told that Father’s Day is not for them?
Every year in June, as Father’s Day approaches, social media is set ablaze with single mothers who contend that because the father of their children is not in their child’s life they have had to be mommy and daddy. Thereby giving them the right to claim kudos for a job well done on Father’s Day. However, men and women (parents and non-parents alike) are disputing their claim to parental fame. Parents like Lisa Randall, a single mother of 4, says that being a mother is hard enough, let alone trying to fulfill a role she was never meant to fill. Why fight for Father’s Day credit when biologically she is not a father?
“I may have used the adage of being both mother and father to my kids regarding the work I do, but that in no way means that I want to be a father, for one. And for two, I can’t really give to my sons the knowledge and experience of being a male child. That can only come from their dad.” Randall says that she, unlike some women who bash the fathers they deem “deadbeats,” does not go the extra mile to bad mouth her children’s father. She further states that, if nothing else, she is honest with them and directs them to converse with their dad if, in fact, they have certain questions regarding the relationship. “Father’s Day is for fathers. Period! I have Mother’s Day and every other day that I’m with my children to be celebrated,” says Randall.
Unfortunately, not every single mother agrees with Randall about Father’s Day. Some single moms say that just being present is not equivalent to being a father and, therefore, is not reason enough to be celebrated on Father’s Day. These same mothers go on to say that teaching a young boy how to drive or knot an appropriate tie is not equivalent to being a man either. Karen Davis, a Los Angeles mother of 2 boys, says that being a man is more about what one is willing to sacrifice for their kids rather than just donating the seed that helped get them here. “A man who can make babies but get upset when he’s asked to watch his kids for an afternoon is a sorry [expletive] excuse for a father, Father’s Day or not! So why should I celebrate him?” Karen expressed her disgust of her ex-husband who left her and her children for another woman almost 2 years ago. She says Father’s Day for her kids has not been the same.
Even though many may understand Karen’s anger and hurt regarding Father’s Day, it is, for many, still no excuse to discredit other men and mock a day meant to celebrate the fathers who are not Karen’s ex. Anthony Wright, a single father of one, says that it does not phase him one bit when angry single mothers start spewing their hateful, jaded comments on social media regarding Father’s Day. Having lost his wife to breast cancer three years ago, Wright says that he would be the same father no matter what, regardless of his wife not being alive.
“I grew up without a dad so Father’s Day was always difficult for me. Fortunately, I had uncles and brothers who stepped in to fill that spot. They are who I spent Father’s Day with. I vowed to myself that I would never have my child have to feel the lack of not knowing their own paternal blood. Especially on a Father’s Day.” A promise Wright has kept to his 10-year-old son Andrew who spends every Father’s Day on the court for a father and son basketball tournament. Wright says that Father’s Day is a day to celebrate fathers. Point. Blank. Period! What a father is, will obviously differ from man to man, household to household. However, most would agree that a dad who has a healthy, consistent, and honorable relationship with his children should have the room to receive the kudos and the credit on a day meant for him. Obviously no other day more appropriate than Father’s Day.
Although mothers such as Karen may have a point in so colorfully expressing that time spent with one’s child is a necessity and should be seen as such, does it still give her (or other single mothers) the room to take on an awarded mantel meant for a man on Father’s Day? The consensus is, it does not! The irony of the day meant to celebrate papa’s everywhere is that single women feel they are owed an extra ribbon for doing the work of an absent father. Yet Father’s Day is not meant to magnify the deeds a mother does in lieu of an absent dad, it is meant to celebrate those men who have not abandoned their duties and continue to actually be a father to their children.
Why then can single mothers not put their own prideful agenda aside and tip their lipsticks to the fathers who are doing, have done, and continue to do the work they seek for their absent half to do? When the candle burns out, the reality of the situation is that men doing what they are supposed to never get the rightful credit due to them. In the scope of fathers who have never left their children’s side, who continue to sacrifice to make sure that their kids have all they need and most of what they want, who, even without the credit, do what needs to be done, Happy Father’s Day!
Opinion by Danyol Jaye
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Feature Photo Courtesy of Scott Ableman- Scott Ableman’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License