Whenever Father’s Day rolls around I find myself appreciative, conflicted and then angry throughout the day (in that order) with all the mixed messages I see floating around social media and the innanet (aka messy internet). And this is the year I want to talk about it because it has become a giant elephant in the room.
Who is eligible to receive credit on Father’s Day?
Every year, the holiday starts off lovely and drama-free. I see so many beautiful photos and posts about how amazing fathers are and how the world would be incomplete without them. I fall in love with the messages and am so proud of my black men that I could cry! By noon, these lovely messages start to get drowned out by negative rhetoric about why this day should really be about mothers who have to over-compensate for absent fathers. And posts like “Happy Father’s Day to me” and it be accompanied by a photo of a mom with a slightly antagonistic expression.
Okaaaay…. I see where this is headed. By nighttime, we have reached full-debate territory about who really owns this day and if moms have the right to hijack it. Arguments follow, people get blocked. And that’s that. Another typical Father’s Day in the books!
So um yeah, can we not hijack Father’s Day this year?
Pretty Please? Father’s Day should only be about fathers. Period. And I totally understand mothers and single mothers that feel like the day really should be about them because they are the ones putting in ALL the work. I get you! I totally understand that there are herds and herds of mothers out here raising kids alone. Dealing (or not dealing) with fathers that don’t come around. Forced to deal with father’s that don’t offer adequate financial support.
It’s true. So many mothers are struggling, trying their best to overcompensate for everything (they believe) the fathers in their lives are not doing. And they are straight livid about the idea of honoring men that aren’t stepping up to the plate. Or perhaps, women that are facing the truth about their own fathers not being there for them. Giiiiirl, I FEEL YOU!
This Day Still Isn’t About Us!
(Insert hand-claps between syllables.) It’s not about us! As much as we are hurting, frustrated, bitter, revengeful and downright TIED (tired), it’s still not about our grievances or our step-up game. We had our Mother’s Day holiday, and we shined in all our glory. We sat proudly in church with our pink corsages, honoring all the mothers of the congregation. We strutted through IG timelines in our fancy apparel (you all looked stunning by the way) and family-posed pics. We nearly broke the internet with our motherly loveliness! We got our compliments, we said our thank-yous. And now, our national recognition day is over. OVA.
Moms. This year, let’s gracefully step aside and let Father’s Day be about fathers, regardless of our own father/daddy situations. As moms, we are secure in where we stand and what our provider role represents. For all of the amazing fathers out there worthy of praise, please let them have their day in peace! It is their ONE day a year to be uplifted, encouraged, and deemed national heroes (although one day is clearly not enough, but we have to start somewhere). What Father’s Day isn’t is a day we deem necessary to insult fathers, push them out the way, emasculate men and claim the day as our own.
There are so many fathers out there killing the game
They are all around; I know too many to name! They deserve their due and I’m here for every minute of it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) black fathers score the same or higher as their white and Latino counterparts in several key areas, including playing, reading, and helping their children with homework. There are so many great fathers out there that are indeed stepping up to the plate and leading their families in many aspects of their lives. So can we focus on them?
Just a few more housekeeping items about Father’s Day:
- Women are not fathers. Yes, we may overcompensate and try our best to fill the voids of absent fathers. BUT. We are not men, will never be men, can’t replace men if we tried. As much as we like to think that we can be both a mother and father to our children, it’s simply just not true. I have a bunch of skills, but none of them will ever be “morph into a man.” Men bring a unique flavor to the table that we can never duplicate. My verdict: access denied. We aren’t eligible to receive credit for being a father.
- Uplifting men is critically beneficial. For both fathers and children. So here’s the thing. We are all a work in progress, mothers and fathers alike. Neither of us are perfect (Lawd knows I ain’t! But I digress…)Positive rhetoric on Father’s Day encourages men to step deeper into their parental roles. People can do amazing things when they feel appreciated and acknowledged. It matters deeply that our children see black men in a positive light. We play a significant role in the messages they see and hear. Make young boys feel good about their own futures as men. My verdict: End the public male-bashing.
- It’s not “Air Out Dirty Laundry Day.” I know there are a few fathers out there that aren’t doing what they are supposed to do and a whole lot of laundry that needs laundering. HOWEVER. Public humiliation is unbecoming. It’s not the time to unleash family secrets and ruin the moment for all the dads out there trying to soak up the positivity. And chances are, if said dad isn’t doing what he’s supposed to be doing, everyone already knows it anyway. My verdict: sometimes silence is the loudest message of all.
- This day doesn’t take away from what moms do. In no way does Father’s Day strip away our motherhood dignity. This one lil holiday is not coming for us or our accomplishments! There is no holiday that can dismantle the foundation moms build because we will parent with or without recognition. My verdict: we are already amazing, there is no need for us to hijack this day.
- Let’s all help to change the narrative. The story circulating across the country isn’t always positive. America sees black families as divisive. Unruly. Inherently toxic. And in utter turmoil. The black family is under attack, always has been. It is up to US to push a new agenda. If we don’t like the story being told, we have to change the conversation. And we can all be authors contributing to a new narrative. So you must ask yourself, “what will I say?” My verdict: let’s collectively re-write our story and make it a positive one.
So I leave you with this:
Amazing moms: Please be mindful and consider giving fathers back their day.
Amazing dads: Happy Father’s Day to you all! This is your day. Keep it up! Continue to promote positive images and messages. And most importantly, be encouraged. There are more of you out there than you think. Shine in all your glory!
If you are proud of fathers and want to give them a shout out, share this blog. Keep the positive images rolling on Father’s Day!
This article was first published on Sassy Plum