This week, I’ve read a lot of social media posts saying that single mothers celebrating Father’s Day is wrong. The reasoning being that it diminishes the role of the father in the lives of our children, and that we, as mothers shouldn’t do it. I hugely believe in the important role that fathers play in the lives of their children. I see amazing examples of fatherhood in my close family and amongst my friends. I have single fathers as friends and date a single father. They all do amazing jobs at prioritising their children and successfully co-parenting with their children’s mothers. It can be done and I know it can be done well. So, where these good, present fathers are concerned, we should celebrate their role just as we have Mother’s Day.
I’m not anti-fathers. Not at all. How could I be when I am such a daddy’s girl? However in my circumstances, I am celebrating Father’s Day with my girls – I’ve earned it. At least 152 hours every single week, most weeks a lot more, they are my sole responsibility. To paraphrase Destiny’s Child; the shoes on their feet – I bought them. And whilst we’re at it, the food in their bellies, the clothes on their backs, the heat in their home and their actual home. I’ve bought it all and all by myself. And again, before anyone complains that it’s not just about money, illness, waking up in the night, homework and medical appointments – all me. So in my case, why shouldn’t my daughters get to celebrate that secondary role that I take on for their benefit?
Before I continue this, I feel that I need to justify why I’m a single mother. I’m not sure why I do. It frustrates me that the finger of blame is pointed at the single mother doing her best for her children, and not the absent or occasional fathers. I’ve read a lot of criticism recently about single mothers, complaining how much we push fathers out of our children’s lives. It’s incredibly frustrating. Why aren’t we praising the women that stay raising the babies when fathers refuse to be a part of their lives instead of criticising them for their choice of men? You think we don’t know we made a mistake? We’re living it every day. 168 hours a week.
Too much of popular media tells us that young single mums are purposely raising their children on their own because they prevent their children’s fathers from participating in their lives in order to receive benefits and a council house. If it’s true, I’m still waiting for my free money, childcare costs are crippling me. If only life was that simple.
Fathers are only able to abdicate their roles as father because of the strong, amazing mothers that they leave behind. If as mothers, we went without seeing our children for days, sometimes months on end and didn’t provide food, shelter and clothing, we’d be done for neglect. Rightly so. It’s always different when dads do it.
Last year on Father’s Day, the first without their father, I didn’t make a fuss. I didn’t mention it to their nursery and waited to see what happened. The girls made cards for me and for their grandad, my dad, because they are lucky enough to have a wonderful relationship with him. As am I. I suspect the same will happen again this year. I don’t mind. I don’t want them to feel left out at school when their friends are making cards so it feels fitting that they give their cards to their granddad who sees them lots, picks them up from school, buys school uniform and provides the male role model that they need. The choice is entirely up to them.
I also don’t mind if they want to make a card for me again. We can definitely celebrate. I am definitely going to buy myself a present. To be honest, I hardly need a reason to celebrate or an excuse to buy makeup.
Mother’s Day passed by in a blur as I’d lost my own mother 23 days before and to be honest, I’m not sure that I ever want to celebrate it again. Father’s Day seems like a fitting substitute.
Deep down, I wish that their father was interested in spending the day, even an hour with them, for their sakes because frankly, as much as I take on the role of father, I’m not their father. I don’t want them to feel different. The past has proven that there is absolutely nothing that I can do anymore. It won’t happen. So I give up and instead of mourning the fact that my girls don’t have a proper father/daughter relationship, I’m going to celebrate what they do have, and that’s an amazing mum, and an ever-growing support network.
Because even though I am grateful for the multitude of people in my life, I am the one who wipes every tear, every bottom, gives every cuddle, provides every penny and everything else that my precious babies need. I’m there for everything. I do everything. I’m lucky that I have an amazing support structure of friends and family which is growing every day. My own little village. I am so grateful for the advice and additional love that they provide. But essentially the buck stops with me. I am my daughters’ mother, nurse, teacher, cook and yes, father. So we are going to celebrate Father’s Day, just the three of us and nobody can tell us otherwise.
How are you celebrating Father’s Day this year ?