A couple of days ago I was skimming through one of my favorite blogs Witches Brew when I happened upon this photo they posted.
I had seen all kinds of father’s day cards for sale before that are intended for men who were stepfathers or “like” fathers, but this was the first time I had actually seen a card for MOTHERS on Father’s Day. I had known some people who gave their mother’s cards on Father’s Day — but I had never actually seen one marketed that way until now. And I get it.
There are mothers, like my own, who held it down when the father wasn’t around. My mother sometimes had three jobs while my sister and I were growing up in order to make sure we had everything that we needed…and wanted…because she didn’t want us to feel like we deserved anything less. I always told my mother how much she was love and appreciated for all of her hard work and sacrifices, but I struggled to remember if I ever told her Happy Mother’s Day…on Father’s Day. I don’t think I ever did.
I guess it’s because I understood that even though she was our sole provider, I also knew that she wasn’t a man. I knew that no matter how hard she may have tried to shield us from the fact that we were being raised by one parent, I knew there was some things I’d never be able to understand from my mother that a father could teach me. Your father is supposed to be the first example of what a man should be in a young girl’s life, and although I was surrounded by good men in my family, they were not my present daily to teach me how men think, how I should respond to them, what their roles were in a family and what my worth was in regard to how I should allow a man to treat me.
Thank God I had a strong mother who was able to instill certain principles in me that allowed me to see that I deserved to be treated well – by people in general – not just men. She explained her mistakes to me when it came to men so that I wouldn’t repeat them. And when I stumbled and fell in those areas, she was always there to pick me up, dust me off and tell me that everything was going to be alright. You might say that is what a father is supposed to do when his daughter gets her heart broken, but my mother was there…and that’s alright. But do I look at my mother as a “father” as well? No, I just view her as an extraordinary mother – a super woman to the 9th degree.
Now that I have a great relationship with my father that has developed in my adult years, I am fully aware of all that I missed out on in my youth…and my mother can’t completely fill that void. Now, my father and I have discussions about relationships where he offers a male point of view, something I was missing growing up which makes is very clear to me that no matter how hard she may try – a woman can’t be both Mother AND Father. Does that mean she can’t do a great job raising amazing children all by herself? Of course not, because my mother most certainly has.
But a woman can’t physically, emotionally and mentally encompass all that men are, so to say she can be a “father” just doesn’t make sense to me. That said, I understand the sentiment of wishing a single mother who is raising a child alone a “happy father’s day.” Hallmark wouldn’t make a card like that if there wasn’t a demand for it, and far be it from to tell people how they should celebrate and appreciate the people in their lives. For me though, rather than wishing my mom a happy father’s day, I simply bought her an extra card or two since one never seemed to do her justice – and then pamper all day long. And on Father’s Day, I celebrate all the men in my life who were amazing role models and providers for children – biological or not – and that includes my own father who is striving to be a better father every day. Leave room for him and maybe he can step into that role.
It’s never too late, so save that date for him.