Should single mothers celebrate Father’s Day?
Some say yes; others say no. Most, I should imagine, don’t much care. Yesterday an article by me, entitled Why I’m celebrating MYSELF on Father’s Day (and all of my fellow single mums should be too) was published on Good To Know. I think I made my feelings quite clear in that article, but thought I would follow it up here. As it turns out, I find that I actually feel quite strongly about this – I didn’t know I did really, until they asked me to write that article.
A couple of years ago on Father’s Day, I posted a graphic on Facebook:
It sparked a little controversy, and I ended up writing a blog post entitled “The Day I Made Father’s Day Controversial.” Lots of people, male and female, felt that single mothers shouldn’t celebrate Father’s Day, that somehow, not content with having Mother’s Day, I wanted to muscle in on other people’s celebration too. At first I thought perhaps I should take the post down; I hadn’t set out to deliberately offend anyone, merely to offer some solidarity to my fellow single mums.
Then I had a re-think and here’s what I came up with: single mothers do a bloody good job. We cook; we clean; we earn the money; we run the errands; we do the DIY; we play with the toys; we give the cuddles; we mow the lawn; we go to the school plays and concerts; we attend the birthday parties; we drop and pick up for the extracurricular activities. We do all of it. When there are two parents, they share the load. Even if the other parent doesn’t contribute much, they are at least there if you need to pop to the shop for something, and they contribute financially. They’re someone you can talk to about your day, or ask a second opinion of when you’re not sure whether you need to call an ambulance at 2am.
Not only does Twunty not contribute financially, I found out recently that he lied to the CSA (or whatever they’re calling themselves these days), saying he was paying maintenance to someone else when he wasn’t, so that he wouldn’t have to pay the measly £20 a month I was getting (when his boss bothered to send the payment). This is the level we are dealing with here: he begrudges my daughter £20 a month. (You can read more about why I cancelled my maintenance claim here)
S is five years old, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I have left her overnight. The last time I went out in the evening was in December, and that was the first time in about 6 months. I am the person who takes her to and from school every single day (except one day a week when a friend collects her for me). I am the person who stayed up all night with her watching My Little Pony and Fireman Sam when she had chicken pox so badly she couldn’t stay still. I am the one who buys the food and prepares her meals. I am the one who buys her clothes and reads her school books with her and attends school concerts. I am the person who will have to rush to book a parents evening appointment next month so that I can see her teacher straight after school and not have to drag her up the hill to school later in the evening because there is nobody to leave her with at home.
My mother helps out occasionally, under duress, with a lot of huffing and puffing. My sister now works nights and has her own life so we rarely see her. When she does come round it feels a bit rude on my part to suddenly rush out the door for five minutes’ peace. I have a few friends upon whom I could call in an emergency – but I don’t want to wear out their good will on such frivolous things as going to the cinema or going for a walk. For the most part, 99% of the time, it is just S and I.
And so yes, you can bet your arse I will jump at any chance to have a little celebration, a little break from the norm, a little pat on the back for each of us. When I say we “celebrate” Father’s Day what I really mean is that S and I have a special day together with just the two of us. My dad died 12 years ago, and I don’t think S would enjoy catching a bus to the cemetery, so we spend the day together having fun. Since S is fairly knackered at the moment, our Father’s Day will probably be a PJ day with added paddling pool.
Should single mothers celebrate Father’s Day?
The real question here is why do you care what someone else does with their day? Unless I’m holding a big parade complete with drums and dancing that goes directly through your back garden, what business is it of yours what I do, what any of us does?
Single mothers have a tough job. I love being a single parent, and I definitely wouldn’t have it any other way. The sperm donor will never in a month of Sundays be a part of our lives in that way, and other men are not exactly lining the streets to replace him. For now it is just S and I, and I am happy with that – but it is sometimes hard. It’s relentless in that my time is never, ever my own. I can never just decide to pop to the shop, or accept an invitation to go anywhere or do anything. There is nobody else whose job it is to care for my child and so any time taken for myself becomes a favour from someone else. I can never say it’s your turn; it is always my turn. And I don’t mind that – but I do think that if I want to have Father’s Day as well as Mother’s Day then I am entitled to that.