Father’s Day was yesterday, and several of my friends with single moms thanked them on Facebook. This is something people apparently seem to hate, as evidenced by a lot of anecdotes floating around the Internet about how stupid it is when moms claim a right to a day meant to celebrate fathers. The reason this happens, is because Moms still comprise over 75% of single-parent households. They literally are doing the job of two parents. So if they want to make a harmless Internet declaration on Father’s Day – so be it.
If the sheer number of single father households were larger, they might be doing it, too. Well, maybe not, since way more single fathers live with a partner – 41% to a single mom’s 16. Single fathers also have higher incomes than single moms and are way less likely to be living at or below the poverty line – 24% versus 43%. This isn’t to say that men don’t deserve to be honored on Father’s Day, just as women deserve to be honored on Mother’s Day. This is to say – why do we care? Is it really so terrible for a woman who works her ass fulfilling both parental roles for her child to claim right to the day? I don’t think so.
I’m not a single parent, but I’m currently playing one while the father of my children is working out of state. I work, manage a household, keep everything clean, cook, shop, take out the trash, discipline, kill insects, wake up to investigate strange sounds in the night – and fulfill all the needs my kids have – solo. I promise you if I had to do this full time, I’d probably be claiming a right to that holiday, too. Because it’s fucking hard as hell.
I also think that kids without fathers like to thank their moms on Mother’s Day so they don’t feel left out of a major Hallmark holiday. Probably the same motivation that has some brides asking their moms to walk them down the aisle, instead of choosing a male stand-in. There are so many dynamics that people don’t even consider when things like this come up. Basically – single moms have it hard enough. So when I saw a few memes on Facebook yesterday that celebrated moms on Father’s Day – I had no problem with it. And I would have not problem with men parenting solo making the same harmless jokes on Mother’s Day.
Basically – single parents have it hard enough and they are doing both jobs. If they want to accept compliments on a holiday whose sole purpose is to celebrate fathers – and they do fill that role – I say, if the shoe fits, who cares?