Single Dad Perspective: Don’t Wish Me A “Happy Mother’s Day”
This is my daughter’s second Mother’s Day, motherless. I like to think that I hold it down when it comes to taking care of her. She’s definitely brought out the softer side of me. I smile more, I’m more affectionate, and actually show emotion which says a lot because I’m pretty nonchalant by nature. Because I’m her only living parent I am her nurturer and and am really engulfed in all things of a little girl world. All of this means that on the second Sunday of May I get phone calls, texts, posts and messages wishing me a “Happy Mother’s Day, Chad for being mom and dad to Cydney,” or some variation of this.
I almost always respond back with a “Thank You” because I appreciate the sentiment. If we’re really good friends that won’t be offended by my being blunt I quip “Thanks, but I’m not a mother.”
That’s how I feel. I’m a father and I do nothing more than being that.
I’m not wired to be a mom, so I don’t even try. A mom is the hardest job and I am not built to be one. I try as much as possible to compensate by being a little more nurturing and such but really I just treat Cydney as a Daddy’s Girl. I do mostly what I would have done had her mother been here and there were two of us raising her.
To be honest, I can’t really explain individual qualities that make being a father different from a mother. I can think of all of the times I got in trouble, I was way more afraid of my mother than my dad. Moms hold it down being the primary nurturer, first line of defense against all harm who takes no days off – all the while being one of your best friends in the world.
For the most part, that’s me all day, everyday. I just do it differently. No matter how hard I try, it just doesn’t have that same flair and finesse like when moms do it.
I think my qualm with being wished a Happy Mother’s Day is this: I’ve never heard a single father say “I am/have to be mom and dad.” I’ve heard many mothers or children of single mothers say that.
I hate that phrase.
I think the ideology comes from mothers having a “I can do ANYTHING” attitude including being a dad, while a father doesn’t. For the record, no, you can’t be a father to your child. I am one of you all in the single parent community who straps up their boots and does everything one can do for their young; but no. If you’re the mother to a son no matter how hard you try you can’t fully teach him how to become a man. Whether right or wrong, he learns that from those around him. The same goes for a single father raising a little girl. Luckily, I have good women around me that are willing to help me understand those things I just won’t get because I’ve never been a girl or a woman.
I understand and appreciate the sentiment. Last year my daughter kept saying “Happy Mother’s Day” to me all day and it actually made me smile. She recognizes that in some way I am her one parent and I hold it down for her. But to my mothers, friends, family, peers, twitter/blog followers, and everyone else: my day is in June.