Every third Sunday in June is Father’s Day. It is a time of celebration for some. For others, it is a time of reflection. However you spend the day, it is interesting that Mother’s Day and Father’s Day share very little in common save for the idea that it is a time set aside to celebrate parents individually.
Depending on your situation, it is in some cases ironic how differently we approach the days. For a lot of us, Mother’s Day is full of festivities. Mom is everything. If you have a wife or girlfriend who is the mother of your children, you make sure your kids (which essentially means you) go all out.
But what about you? Do you do the same thing for your father? What about your kids (if you have any)? Do they go all out for you like they do for their mother? Maybe. Maybe not. But as a man, it doesn’t matter all that much – so you’re thankful for the tie you won’t wear or yet another silly t-shirt that your kids thought was so funny they had to buy it for you.
Most men who do the work of being a father understand that being a dad is the most thankless and rewarding job you will ever have in your life. It is the job of unlimited expectations that has no promises of a raise. Your kids don’t thank you for paying the mortgage or the rent and you don’t pay it in order to gain some long lost public approval you’ve been seeking your entire life. You do it because that’s the job – the responsibility of being responsible for someone else who is basically completely dependent upon you for their livelihood. The most in gratitude you can expect to receive is the occasional “Thank You” or if you’re lucky “I Love You, Dad. You’re the best”.
While moms and being a mother in general get a great deal of fanfare on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day doesn’t receive nearly the acclaim. But why? Is it because the role of the father has been greatly diminished? Or is it because of absenteeism? Whatever the cause, Fathers: Fact or Myth will attempt to delve into these issues as we ponder the real reason for Father’s Day.
FACT: Father’s Day will never be as big as Mother’s Day
This fact is indisputable. Don’t believe me. Try going out to eat on Mother’s Day without a reservation. You will wait. Try going out to eat on Father’s Day. In a lot of cases, you don’t need a reservation. In some extreme cases, there is no line, no wait. Mother’s Day is Thanksgiving. You will be off. You will eat well. You will be thankful. Father’s Day is like Columbus Day. You might be off. You might not. If you are off, do you really celebrate like that? Basically, get over it if you’re sensitive about Father’s Day not getting the same treatment as Mother’s Day. It will never change.
MYTH: It is easier to forgive Mom for her mistakes than it is to forgive Dad for his
If you had an absentee father or a father who popped in and out of your life, you may understand the struggle with forgiving him for that. It isn’t that you don’t want to forgive him nor is it that you don’t want him to be a part of your life. It is about how many chances you give him after he continues to exhibit the same behavior that drove a wedge between you and him. If he apologizes about the behavior but continues to do it – that wears thin real quick. The issue isn’t that he is not your mom. When mom realizes that she made a mistake with something in regard to you – she makes it up to you. You would be cool forgiving him if his apologies where followed up with consistent action.
FACT/MYTH: The Child Support System has made it easy for Dads to shuck the responsibility of being a Father
This is an ongoing debate that won’t be solved anytime soon. Yes, children need to be taken care of and money is a necessary evil in that process. Sending a check monthly on time regardless of the amount does not make you a father. It makes you a limited financial provider. That has never been and will never be enough. It is cop out to place complete blame solely on a system. All parties involved in minimizing the role of the father are to blame. The father who doesn’t make being a dad the priority of his existence is to blame. The mother who goes out her way to make life difficult for a relationship between a father and the child is to blame. The two parents of the child who refuse to be mature for the sake of the child are to blame. The Child Support system is just that – a system. It is not supposed to be the way of life society has allowed it to become.
FACT: Father’s Day is not Mother’s Day Part II for single mothers
There is not a more difficult job on this earth than that of being a parent. Being a single parent is like working that difficult job with no help, overtime or additional benefits. Single mothers have it rough by having to fill in certain gaps with the absence of your child’s father but it doesn’t mean you get Father’s Day as an additional shout out. You are not a father. Unless your child starts calling you “Daddy”, Mother’s Day is your day.
MYTH: Fathers who do the daily work of being a Dad should get special attention
This is an absolute farce. Nowhere does it say that just because there are numerous guys who aren’t doing the job of being dad that those who are should be praised. I get it. Fathers have become the exception not the rule. Who cares? You don’t get praised for doing what you are supposed to do. Men who do the job hate it because to them, they are just doing what they were supposed to do – be there and take care of their children.
FACT: You don’t get multiple chances at the first impression you make as a dad
Being a father is a much about a mentality as it presence. You don’t become a dad when your baby is born. You don’t become a dad when you have a baby on the way. You don’t even become a dad if you get a call out of the blue from someone claiming that you are the father of a child. You start the process of becoming a dad the moment you start to think about what kind of father of you want to be for your children. You embrace the process earlier than later because the selflessness required in being the best father possible starts as soon as you conjure up the thought.
MYTH: Men get to grade themselves as fathers
Wrong. You do not get that privilege. Your children are the ultimate test, teachers and graders of how you are as a father. The grade you receive from them is paramount to the kind of relationships you’ll have with your children long term. But you don’t get to call yourself a good dad – anymore than they get to call themselves good children.
So is Father’s Day an every father holiday? No it is not. It is about briefly acknowledging the role that fathers play in our lives as children. Whether or not that role is as a star, supporting or as an extra – you role will be considered. But it is up to you and you only to determine the narrative that is spoken when your children talk about you. If you don’t get so much as a phone call on Father’s Day, it says a lot about what kind of father you are/were. But if your children make a bigger about Father’s Day than you – it says much more about you because they are saying it.
Think about it…..