This year there seems to be a rebuking of mothers who claim the title both mother and father. The sentiment of praising moms on father’s day comes from a long-standing cycle of moms who find themselves raising children alone for one reason or another. So often I’ve heard the phrase “I’m the mother and the father for my child(ren).” Being a single mom myself, during my first year I was surprised that I was bombarded with just as many text messages wishing me a happy father’s day as on mother’s day when greeted with “happy mother’s day.” Not thinking too much about it I would respond with a “ditto,” as many of the text messages came from friends that were also single moms. I say “were” as a majority of them are now married or engaged to get married.
Of course through these last few years I’ve engaged in conversation on the matter. To be honest, I never considered myself as both. I’m a mother and that’s something to be proud of. I’m a mother of a little girl. As she grows I can interject a woman’s wisdom and sensibility that will help mold her; including advising her on not to make the same mistakes I have made as a person and as a woman. I’m not a father. I can not interject a man’s wisdom, sensibility or point of view that will ENHANCE the growth of his daughter.
I can’t imagine what’s it’s like to be a single mom raising a boy. Yet, I see good examples on how to handle such through various friends and relatives, including my aunt and my little cousin. My little cousin has had a village of men to help mold him, including his dad who started a relationship with him a little later. It’s actually the same with my daughter at the moment. She is surrounded by love and a village that includes wonderful and respectable men that protect her and even offer her some guidance at this stage in her life (she’s only 5). Still, I worry for her, because I don’t ever want her feel she has a “daddy” issue; that she can’t cope or interact with males without having a sabotaging manner.
Just yesterday I was reading a conversation where a female mentioned that her male friend told her that his girlfriend was upset with him because the girlfriend thought he came off like a father to her. The female mentioned that she has witnessed how her male friend treats his girlfriend and alluded that his treatment is nothing more than a show of love, respect and loyalty. It was later revealed that the girlfriend grew up without a father and pretty much didn’t know how to accept such a treatment.
Of course we all pretty much know how young men are suffering without a present father or any positive role male figures. A vicious cycle to be on the quest to find your “manhood” ensues, and often leading to trouble. How can a mother stop this? A mother can try (just as any parent), but I do believe it takes the stern “foot” of a present father to step in and stop anything before it goes too far.
In my conversations about the subject, surprisingly I never hear an agreeing argument for the mom to have both titles. Among my circle of friends (male, female, parents, non-parents and step-parents), and even a few associates, the argument is present fathers add something to the lives of children. Yes, single moms in essence are doing double duty or picking up slack where a father may lack, but there are certain life skills a mom just can not teach; not from a man’s point of view especially for our young boys.
Naturally, just before turning in for the night, I was on Twitter and Facebook catching up with a few peeps for the weekend. In the midst of having private conversations, I saw people venting or sharing their thoughts about their own fathers, on father’s day in general and even discussing how mothers shouldn’t claim the “father” title; including Phonte, a member of the music group The Foreign Exchange
@phontigallo: If you’re a single mother, we salute you. But a single mother does not and will never equal ‘Father.’ Let us have ours. #HappyFathersDay
Then this morning, communications professional Goldie Taylor had this to say;
@goldietaylor: S/O to my single sisters raising children. I did it too. But that didn’t make me a “father”. You can never be both. Stop saying it.
I have to agree with the above sentiments. I’m even offended by the card featured in the photo above and I agree with everything TC said about it (See Caption). Single parenthood happens for various reasons. You have parents that were actually married or on the way to get married and something unfortunate happens resulting in death. You have parents that may have tried to make a go of marriage, but couldn’t make it stick so it ends in divorce. Then there’s the real unfortunate and what seems to be the societal norm; parents that create kids out-of-wedlock and for whatever reason don’t work out before or once the child has arrived. Hallmark has found an untapped and very sensitive market (mainly among black folks) to create such a card. That’s a real low blow.
My thing is, no one is saying that what we do as moms goes unnoticed or unappreciated. We have our day, practically everyday; especially when our munchkins catch us off guard with an “I love you.” When they hit puberty and become the dreaded teenager with attitude, something real will go down and they will cry for you in a heartbeat. True, there are some guys out here that don’t take the opportunity to be a parent, but there are some damn good ones out here, even those that are not involved with the mom anymore. Let those dads, the present fathers, have their day. They deserve it just as much as we deserve and have ours.
It’s not fair that the general population of men have to go about this day dodging verbal venom as mothers take the day to put the absent father on front street and putting all men in the same boat; then to top it off we want to crown ourselves as “dad” or “father” as if we won a round in Smackdown.
I’m a daddy’s girl and I feel bad that my daughter doesn’t really know this feeling until her own dad comes around. I think she may get it as she is very close to my dad, but is it same? A grandad’s girl? Still, despite whatever is going on with my situation, I see so many men loving their children endlessly and doing just as much work as a single dad. I love my male friends and relatives for this. They are awesome guys. My own dad has done an amazing job, not with just me, but with my sister and I see the men and God in both him and my brothers. Now why would I want to be a fool and take that title away from him or any other man that’s an active parent?
As for my friends that use to wish me a happy father’s day, I don’t receive those greetings anymore since they either married their children’s father or married guys that became step fathers to their children. I’m not saying that their greetings came with unresolved anger or issues they may have had with their children’s father, but I do have to wonder. Maybe they got the memo; they too aren’t fathers.