So today is Father’s Day, the old tradition where we celebrate all things Dad. As a single Mum of 4 children I have mixed feelings about this (and Mother’s Day too before you judge me!). This is my personal experience of Father’s Day and I’m sure I am not alone in this feeling.
Each year I duly buy presents and make cards with the children as their enthusiasm builds. I have two very different experiences of co-parenting as my two oldest have one Dad and the two littlest have a different Dad. We wrapped the presents and which point in my head I was secretly inside my head saying (in my best Joe Lycett voice!) 4 hours a week does not a father make. It’s hard to put our own feelings to one side and embrace such days.
Suddenly I looked at the children’s faces, full of excitement and anticipation at the amazing cards they had made their Dad. I came to a harsh realisation that yes to me 4 hours a week is not a lot of time to spend with your two children, however to the children it doesn’t matter…he is still their Dad and to them the best Dad in the world. Whether he spends days or hours with them each week, he brings them great joy. That’s how it should be, they shouldn’t be aware of anything else.
They are lucky and have a Dad figure in their life, many children don’t have this luxury, and my heart truly goes out to those children today and my respect to their parent/carers that have to pick up the pieces on this day that must be incredibly difficult to hide from when it’s advertised everywhere.
Today isn’t about the fact I am a single Mum and quite often have to step into the Dad role, today is about accepting whatever role Dad has chosen to play in their life and celebrating it, without question, without judgement from me. Today is about the children and their love for their father, whether he is present every day or not. Today is about putting our adult grievances to one side and allowing our children to express their love and feelings for their Dad.
You do have to wonder if this tradition is a little outdated in a modern society … perhaps in a society where families are so diverse with single parent families, blended families and of course those who don’t have the luxury of their parents being present in their lives that maybe we should scrap these days for a Parent’s day, where we celebrate anyone who is a parent. Don’t get me wrong I’m a lover of tradition but these days often lead to many children feeling their loss more than a celebration.
Father’s Day isn’t easy as a single Mum it really isn’t and resisting the urge to belittle it or convey our personal feelings (let face it it’s our ex and we all have strong feelings here!) is hard. But to anyone begrudgingly buying gifts or cards – let’s rethink this and see it as the children’s day, not Father’s Day. A chance for our little ones to express their feelings.