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Contrary to the cultural campaign identifying single mothers as candidates for Father’s Day, this day is designed to honor the men who acknowledge their children and hold their roles as dads in high esteem. According to the dictionary a father is a male who has child, a male parent or father-in-law, an adopted father or step-father. Any person that does not fall under those guidelines Father’s Day is not for them.
Although there are many painful and legitimate reasons women find themselves raising their children alone, that does not qualify them to be considered fathers. Often women are thrust into the role of a single parent due to circumstances outside of their control; things like abusive relationships where the woman had to leave her abuser, her partner dies or she was raped and decided against an abortion. There are also times when a woman finds herself rearing her children alone as a result of her own decisions and the consequences thereof .
With divorce rates being at an all time high sometimes the father splits and abandons his responsibilities where the children are concerned; his responsibilities are not just financial. Far too often when couples separate the mother forces the father to stay away and even uses “child support” against him. Whatever the reason a mother finds herself a single mom, being celebrated on Father’s Day is ludicrous and makes as little sense as a single father being recognized on Mother’s Day.
Do not misunderstand the point being made, the mothers who have the difficult task of managing the lives of their children alone should be honored and respected but according to the definition a woman simply cannot be a father. A child needs both parents but the roles these parents occupy are unique and equally invaluable. Even within the current culture that appreciates and encourages same-sex parents there will either be two dads or two moms.
The concept of Father’s Day was inspired by a single dad who embraced the challenge of raising his six children alone after his wife died. By including mothers who are single on a day designed for fathers helps the male role in the child’s life become further devalued. Men who are involved in the upbringing of their children should be honored, celebrated and appreciated; not undervalued. Mother’s Day is always in May and, for those that do not know, Single Parents’ Day is in March.
To spread the “love” to single moms on Father’s Day is not as empowering as it might seem. Contrariwise it capitalizes on a self-inflicted wound and stunts the process of healing. The truth is parents should be honored and appreciated every day in their respective roles.
This is not a personal issue it is a community crisis that leads a woman to believe she can do the job of a man. No matter how courageous a woman is, just as many men who are left to raise their children alone are not mothers; the role of the father is not one that can be filled by a woman. This does not take any credit away from the “Wonder Woman” that she is and the hard work she invests in taking care of her family. These things just make her an amazingly strong woman but biologically not a father.
By all means as a society we should continue to find ways to strengthen, empower and honor single women who continue to hold it down for their families. They deserve honor for their extreme commitment and dedication – just not as an equal to a male on Father’s Day, this day is for men.
There are many who will disagree with this thought process primarily because their emotions are tied to their reasoning. The definitions are clear; a male parent is a father and a female parent is a mother. When a mother is the sole party responsible for her children she is being a parent; a great one but not a father.
There is a cultural campaign which seeks to honor motherhood on Father’s Day. This day is designed to celebrate the men who embrace their roles as dads. Although a well-intentioned gesture, telling single moms that they are fathers too does not help the crisis many women are now left in or does it encourage men to step in and step up. As much as it pains some hardworking mothers to accept, Father’s Day is not for single mothers. In conclusion, from the newest father to the most seasoned grandfather “Happy Father’s Day!”
Opinion By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Top Image Courtesy of Kelly Sikkema – Flickr License