Father’s day is hard for any single mom and many do not quite know how to handle the day. The day brings on a slew of emotions which women claim they would rather just not deal with. Father’s Day for single moms means dealing with the fact that the child has a father who is not in their life. This can be exceptionally hard for those women whose fathers were absentees and now they must watch their kid’s fathers be absentee, as well. Even more especially hard is it when these moms have little boys, as boys need their fathers for mental and social development, according to Psychologist Bob Milich, PhD. He says boys mimic their fathers’ moves, aspire to become like them, and watch them handle situations in a manly way. With no father around it is difficult on a male child’s development. Milich says female children can also have problems after growing up without a father, as a father is how a girl judges the way a man should treat her. With no father to watch growing up, a female child can end up with relationship problems, choosing men who are not exactly good for her. Many children who were unable to have the closeness of a dad turned out just fine after growing up but many do not. Turning to drugs, sex, alcohol, or even becoming the deliverer or victim of abuse, is what many kids go through after coming from a broken home.
So what is a single mom to do? Well, moms often work double to try and fill the void. They take on the role of both the mother and the father, slash the maid, teacher, chef, role model, and disciplinarian. When father’s day rolls around, they either do not celebrate or, lately, they turn the holiday into a way that once again recognizes them. However, many do not agree with this and psychologically it may be best to just steer clear of the holiday. Children can often develop mixed feelings about celebrating their single, motherly parent on a day that would celebrate the father that they do not have. But in light of all that they do, why should a mother not be celebrated on Father’s Day, as well?
The way that a single mom chooses to celebrate the day that is meant to recognize their kid’s father, who is not around, should be in a way that makes her feel better about the situation that she is inevitably placed in. Father’s day comes around once per year, but a single mom thinking about the fact that her kids are missing out on half of their parenting, often comes around every day. Moms put on a brave face, and yes, they do it all, often leading their kids to lead healthy lives and Father’s Day has recently become a way to recognize that, just like Mother’s Day. There is no reason why moms should not feel good about being the strength of the family and providing for their kids. Single moms know that often times it would just be so much easier in a two parent household, and the controversy surrounding the fact that many single moms are often celebrated on Father’s Day only adds to that.
So what father’s day means to a single mom is what every day means. It is just another day in which a single mom must do all she can to be the complete support that her kids need, while working to keep her kids from thinking about the father that they do not have, and it is possibly a day that is exponential. However, it is apparent that many single moms use the day to celebrate other male figures in their child’s life. Many moms turn the experience into a positive one by turning the day into Grandfather’s Day or celebrating with male friends or relatives, while attending a ball game or having a barbecue. How a single mom chooses to celebrate the day is the way that works best for her and her children.
Even though Father’s Day is a tough one for many single moms, the truth is that many moms love being single moms. They give their child love, support, discipline, and above all they make them their priority, which strengthens their relationship. They may have to work two jobs, miss out on some of their kid’s school plays, and struggle to make ends meet, but overall they make up for the piece that their children are missing, in every way that they can.
Father’s Day means many different, often negative, things for a single mom, but just being a mom can mean so many more positive things. Writer Stephanie Hughes of the Shriver Report says she tried many different ways of celebrating father’s day, but in the end, as a single mom, she found it was just important to let it go and let Father’s Day evolve naturally. She stated it is just important to recognize that collectively a single mom is enough and though single moms do not experience a traditional Father’s Day, just focusing on their kids is enough, no matter what day of the year it is. So here is to all of the single moms out there who wonder what they will do on June 21. It does not matter how a single mom celebrates Father’s Day. It only matters that single moms realize that the position they are in is one that should be recognized every day.
Opinion by Crystal Boulware (single mom)
Parenting: Father’s Day and Single Motherhood
Shriver Report: How I Handle Father’s Day: A Single Mom’s Perspective
Feature Image Courtesy of Andreas Nilsson Flickr Page – Creative Commons License