Mother’s Day is big business in the United States. The National Retail Federation estimates that in 2015, over $21.2 billion was spent on Mother’s Day gifts. A projected 84.2% of Americans celebrated mommy with cards, brunch, flowers, jewelry, etc. It’s all well deserved, moms work hard. Mother’s Day is a joyous occasion many women look forward to celebrating and feeling appreciated. Tupac and Boyz II Men have even written hit songs to pay tribute to hardworking matriarchs.
One would think dads would receive the same fanfare and accolades for their counterpart day of celebration. However, over the years Father’s Day has steadily built up steam as the second coming of Mother’s Day for single moms. It is estimated that 12 million families in the U.S are headed by a single parent, 83% are single moms. Instead of honoring men on Father’s Day, it has become a day some single moms want recognition as well. I’m divorced and raising my two sons, but please don’t tell me Happy Father’s Day.
Yes I watch SportsCenter, pee in the shower, and hate changing the empty toilet paper roll but I am not a man.
Yes I’ve taught my sons how to throw a ball, kick a ball, catch a ball.
Yes I’ve taught my sons to pee standing/sitting/by a tree/behind a building.
Yes I’ve coached my son’s soccer team. Three times.
Yes I’ve taken my sons to watch professional, collegiate, and high school soccer, baseball, basketball, and football games.
Yes I’ve given my sons advice on girls and dating.
Yes I take my sons to the barbershop for haircuts.
Yes I build Lego sets and assemble toys.
But, I AM NOT A MAN and I can never be a FATHER.
There are certain things only a man can give a child just as there are unique attributes only a woman can provide. I can physically do activities with my kids that are stereotypically done by a man, but there is an innate bond a man has with a child I can never replicate.
Telling me Happy Father’s Day undermines to all the loving, dedicated, compassionate, and hard working men. I cannot give the intangibles these men do. No matter how amazing a mother you are, you cannot totally compensate to a child for a missing father. You can pick up the ball where he fumbled but YOU WILL NEVER BE A DAD.
Of course, many great men have been raised in homes without a father. While I’m quite confident in my kickass parenting abilities, I realize there will always be moments for my 13 and 9 year old sons that they will yearn for the respect, love, attention, and approval of a man. A woman can teach a child many things, but a son comes into manhood easier with a male figure; A daughter gains an extreme sense of self love and respect from the affirmation of her father.
If dad isn’t in the picture, seek a male role model: a teacher, family member, coach, or mentor.
Praising men on Father’s Day shouldn’t warrant moms going into defensive mode. No one is denying our strength, resilience, or that we’re doing the damn thing on a daily basis. A good mom goes without on many occasions, just to sacrifice out of the love for her child. However, if you’re a bitter/scorned woman or your child has a deadbeat dad, Father’s Day isn’t the time for a social media rant.
Father’s Day is a positive day. It’s a day to show appreciation to prodigious men (dads and father figures) who love and contribute to the the growth of children.
If your child’s father isn’t in the picture and you consider yourself pulling double duty, GREAT, you are a wonderful parent. Celebrate twice as hard on Mother’s Day, but you will never completely fill the shoes of a father. Father’s Day is for men who make an impact in a child’s life.
Happy Father’s Day gentlemen, you are appreciated.