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The Day I Made Father’s Day Controversial

 

 

This Sunday was Father’s Day; you might have noticed. We don’t really celebrate Father’s Day in this house; S doesn’t have a father in her life, and my dad died almost eleven years ago. That said, I’m a big fan of the concept of the Double Parent and the idea that I’m a double, rather than a single parent. I play both parenting roles in this house.

With that in mind, I made a post for Facebook saying “Happy Father’s Day to all the single mothers who are both parents, all year long.” My intention with this post was to acknowledge the fact that many children of single mothers don’t have a father in their lives. Their mothers are “double parents” rather than single parents, taking on both the traditional role of the mother as well as the father.

Happy Father's Day

I put the post on Facebook, and then carried on with my day. When we came home, I was pleased to see the post had reached more people than expected. There were mostly positive comments on it, with people tagging their friends who were presumably also single mothers. I felt pleased my post was resonating with so many people. Hey, I might even get a couple of page likes from this!

Later in the day, I found a couple of negative comments from people saying I shouldn’t be trying to hijack Father’s Day or take it away from the good dads out there. I replied saying I wasn’t trying to take anything away from dads who were celebrating their day; I was just trying to add single mothers who play both roles to the list of people who should be celebrating. I wasn’t trying to court controversy; if I was, I would have written a post about how a lot of dads don’t deserve to celebrate Father’s Day when they’re a waste of oxygen the rest of the year round. Something like this:

Father's Day Deadbeat Dads

Those parents (regardless of sex/gender) who are living up to the title of good parent won’t be offended by this. It’s…

Posted by The Double Parent on Sunday, 15 June 2014

 

But I didn’t; I posted something I thought was positive and uplifting.

Apparently, others disagreed. It was “utterly, utterly stupid.” One man said he sensed a lot of anger. There was “why do women always get involved in men’s stuff” (I was tempted to reply with “oh, like voting and being the main wage earner?”) I was told “no mother could ever replace a father; get real” (just you watch me, buddy) and there was, of course, the obligatory “I don’t want to be a dick about this, but…”  – and we all know what follows an opener like that.

A lot of the negative comments were from women, which was surprising to be honest. I suppose I thought other people might feel the same way as me on this, and I started to feel a bit down. I considered deleting the post… and then I gave myself a metaphorical slap. At the time of writing, that post has reached over 196,000 people. It’s been shared over 1400 times, been liked over 3000 times, and has dozens of comments – the majority of which are positive. I also have more than 70 new likes on my page, which has never happened before. And realistically, even a negative comment from a narrow minded idiot means that my post will show on that person’s friends’ timeline – and some of them might like what I have to say.

This Mother’s Day, I invited my mother round for roast dinner. I cooked everything; she rocked up at the time I’d told her dinner would be served, and not a minute earlier. I served the dinner and sat next to S, who was feeling tired and grouchy and spent most of the meal trying to lay on my lap, so I didn’t get much dinner. Half an hour after we’d finished eating, my mother left and I washed up what felt like every plate and bowl in the house. Nobody took my daughter to the shop to buy me a card or flowers or chocolates; the fact I was “celebrating” Mother’s Day was overshadowed by the fact my mother wanted her roast dinner and as such, I didn’t have much of a day. A lot of single mothers have days like that; relatives often don’t think to take our kids out to buy silly gifts. On birthdays and Christmas, I effectively buy my own gift from S, but give my sister cash to take her shopping. That’s what celebrations are like when you’e a single mother: a half celebration where you pay for your own gift, if you get one at all.

So why shouldn’t single parents claim another celebration? Why shouldn’t we acknowledge the fact that single mothers often end up playing the role of father as much as mother to their children? Why shouldn’t I say to my fellow single mothers, hey, I know Father’s Day sucks if your kids’ father isn’t there to celebrate with them?

So yes, I accidentally turned Father’s Day into a controversy. But I didn’t take the post down, and I’m not sorry, and I’ll do the same next year. So there.

 

Vicky is a single mother, a blogger, a podcaster and a social media trainer. You can find her blogging, business and social media tips at VickyCharles.com.

15 Comments
  • Natasha

      REPLY

    Brilliant! You went viral, congratulations!!! ;-) haha I love that meme...I've seen it around a few times and totally agree with it. Although I don't think we necessarily have to celebrate father's day...I celebrate being a double parent everyday! Never thought of it like that..."double parent"...I like it! :) Natasha recently posted...24/52My Profile

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      Thanks Natasha, It's nice to see my post reached so many people but I'd rather not deal with the haters!

  • Thismummylark

      REPLY

    As a single mum i kinda dreaded the day....seeing my facebook feed and all these amazing dads etc it feels isolating ...your not included and neithers your child ....so yeah single mums should get some recognition for the absense of the fathers for that day too. Ignore the haters x Thismummylark recently posted...Fathers day....for single mums :pMy Profile

  • Patrice M Foster

      REPLY

    You did it again speak the truth single mother struggle daily an no one care. I would repost every year on mothers & Father's Day. Patrice M Foster recently posted...3 books about depression you should readMy Profile

  • Morna

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    I don't believe in Father's Day of Mother's Day (or valentines for that matter) but I do agree with being the best parent you can every single day. It sounds like you do a fab job - I saw your post and it made me stop and think for a minute about how it must feel to be a single mum on Father's Day. I think the people who didn't like it are narrow minded fools and I'm glad you didn't take notice of them. Xx Morna recently posted...Top 5 TV dadsMy Profile

  • Ellie

      REPLY

    I love the 'double parent' concept. I am the child of a double parent, a wonderful mum who has never made me feel like I lacked a father. Of course you shouldn't take the old post down, we are all entitled to our opinions, not to mention yours is the right one... :D

  • Mothers 4 Justice

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    Good for you! Frankly, I'm sick to death of the bloated importance attributed to Fathers, while Mother's are treated as the "parent who doesn't matter." Motherhood = nine months pregnancy, agonising life risking childbirth, 24/7 breastfeeding and nappy changing etc., while barely being able to walk. I could go on, but you know the rest. Fathers are put on a pedastool and given the red carpet treatment for having done nothing other than ejaculating, which is no different to the Mother supplying a fertile egg and a womb. The Mother is the parent who did the most and had it the hardest from the start, but is the parent constantly put down, criticised and cut out of the picture, while Fathers are hero worshipped despite having done very little to deserve it. We don't see single/divorced/re-married Fathers with children with different Mothers berated like single/divorced/re-married Mothers are. We don't see Fathers in their twenties or early thirties being called "young Dads" and assumed to be lousy parents like Mothers in the same age demographic are. Working Mums are accused of neglecting their children, but working Dads are praised and called "bread winners." Stay at home Mums are accused of being lazy, but stay at home Dads are praised and called good parents. That's just a few examples. So, good for you for standing up for the real parents and know that you're not alone. xx

  • Mothers 4 Justice

      REPLY

    Good for you. Frankly, I'm sick to death of the bloated importance attributed to Fathers, while Mother's are treated as the "parent who doesn't matter." Motherhood = nine months pregnancy, agonising life risking childbirth, 24/7 breastfeeding and nappy changing etc., while barely being able to walk. I could go on, but you know the rest. Fathers are put on a pedastool and given the red carpet treatment for having done nothing other than ejaculating, which is no different to the Mother supplying a fertile egg and a womb. The Mother is the parent who did the most and had it the hardest from the start, but is the parent constantly put down, criticised and cut out of the picture, while Fathers are hero worshipped despite having done very little to deserve it. We don't see single/divorced/re-married Fathers with children with different Mothers berated like single/divorced/re-married Mothers are. We don't see Fathers in their twenties or early thirties being called "young Dads" and assumed to be lousy parents like Mothers in the same age demographic are. Working Mums are accused of neglecting their children, but working Dads are praised and called "bread winners." Stay at home Mums are accused of being lazy, but stay at home Dads are praised and called good parents. That's just a few examples. So, good for you and know that you're not alone. xx

  • Absolutely Prabulous

      REPLY

    Oh Vicky I just love you for writing this post. Every cell of my being agrees with this. The haters helped you anyway lol. People's ignorance, narrow mindedness and total inability to shut up and ABSORB the meaning and intent of what a writer is saying just beggars belief. So glad you didn't take the post down.

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      Thank you! What a lovely comment x

  • Jenny Eaves

      REPLY

    A great post, completely agree that single mums do double the work and deserve to celebrate Father's Day too. Why shouldn't you wish double parents Happy Father's Day! :) xx Jenny Eaves recently posted...Cloud ShelvesMy Profile

  • leandra

      REPLY

    Gosh isn't it amazing how some of the most bizarre things come out of seemingly nothing. Personally I loved it and I shared it and I know many of my friends shared it too!! Why shouldn't you 'celebrate' if you are doing the role? I'm astounded that women complained, sometimes I really don't understand. I hope you had a fantastic day and to be honest you've made me far more aware of how Single mothers feel on Mothers Day, something that I had never considered before. Keep doing what you are doing! Love that you went viral xx leandra recently posted...|FOOD|Chocolate fondantsMy Profile

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      Thanks Leandra! I was so surprised that people seemed to like it - even more surprised when people didn't, and felt the need to shout about it! Thank you for your kind comment xx

  • Tim

      REPLY

    You absolutely shouldn't take the post down. Any opinion other than the most bland vanilla variety is going to cause some disagreement, and if people can't disagree politely and rationally then their argument isn't a particularly strong one. There are, sadly, always some idiots out there, best ignored. On a separate note, I hadn't come across the term 'double parent'. I think that sums it up very well. Twice the challenge, but in some ways twice the opportunity too. While I'm not against the general principle of Father's/Mother's/Valentine's Day, I am against the way that commercial interests have built it up to being one big day festooned with presents and grand gestures. It's nice to recognise a parent's contribution, but I'd rather my kids were respectful 365 days a year than buy me a present for being their dad (a job I do not require anything more than a hug for) one day a year. Tim recently posted...A new chapter begins (literally)My Profile

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      I agree about Father's Day, Mother's Day etc - it's all a big con. It's hard to ignore when it's being shoved down your throat though and when you're alone all three holidays you've mentioned can be tough. I considered taking the post down but then I thought actually, it seems to have resonated with so many people. I like your comment about it being twice the opportunity too. I feel like I get twice as many hugs from S because she doesn't have someone else here to give them to!

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