So yesterday, Sunday 15th June, marked ‘Father’s Day’ in the UK . Following in the modern commercial Card Co generated tradition of ‘Mothering Sunday’ (originally a celebration of the Church) which I for one, pay much homage to these celebratory occasions of our old folks – taking the time to say ‘Thanks’, chuck a card in the post & raise a glass in their honour. Nobody ever claimed being a parent is easy & it’s the least us kids can do, eh?
Now, here’s the problem. As a whole, the UK is awash with the absentee Father or even a Father-figure in many homes; ‘Dad’ has become a dirty word. Just switch on many Daytime TV shows or eavesdrop at the school gates. The Guardian & ONS recent reports confirm that of the estimated 3 Million (& rising) single parent households the vast majority are single Mothers. Their en masse plight & struggle is well documented – as it should be, but what about the Dads out there? Because, hey not all men are b******s, ok?
I utterly respect how truly crappy it must feel for those whom this day does nothing but highlight a gaping hole in their family unit. A reminder of pain & often suffering or abuse. All I’m simply saying is that let the men have their day, please, because I know from personal experience they really don’t get much recognition- if at all. Particularly my (personal) Facebook account was an indulgent feed of single Mums seemingly furious that this day be celebrated at all. When I asked friends & family for quotes the results were quite shocking.
“Our local schools do gift stalls for Mother’s Day but not for Father’s – just in case it offends the children who just have their Mums”
“This was the first year in many that kids made cards at school to take home”
“I know many Dads who are currently battling the Court Systems but you don’t really hear them talk about it”
To me, Feminism simply means equality. Therefore in order to have equality a shift also needs to be happen in the opposite direction. These are purely facts & perhaps, hopefully something to consider. My point is also heavily weighted in experience. Sometimes Mothers are the ones who neglect. Sometimes Mothers completely abandon. Sometimes Mothers are abusive & cruel, too. I’m not going to dwindle on that individual darkness; I am now incredibly privileged to have the most incredible Mum in my Step Mother (she’s been ‘Mum’ to me for over a decade, is my Dad’s soulmate & was responsible for restoring that word’s meaning in my life – it was my dirty word!).
Instead, I want to say a public ‘THANK YOU’ to my Dad. A man who always put his children first, sacrificing a great deal & saving me (& us) from what was a living Hell. He was always my best friend from day one, doing double duty on the traditional motherly roles whilst grafting away. My countless happy memories of him obliterating the sadness & hardships we endured, shadows of which still haunt us to this day. We fought the biased system. We survived.
He was my first love & will always be my hero.
I also read about ‘Fathers Empowering Daughters’ on ELLE UK which is a groundbreaking initiative by G(irls)20 to encourage the next generation of female leaders. I’m going to attempt my own video & share the message on social media.
Other potentially useful resources on the gender gap, parenting & single Fathers: