Today is Father’s Day, and my dad already called me so I could wish him a happy day. Actually, he called to discuss other things, but when I answered, I asked him if he was calling to wish me a happy Father’s Day. He laughed and said yes. I am one of the lucky people of the world who can say they have a great dad. So many people do not have that luxury, including my own children.
Mothers have Mother’s Day and fathers have Father’s Day, but what about single mothers? Should they celebrate both, as they often fill both roles? Should those mothers get a little extra recognition? It’s a heavy load, raising children on your own, without a tag-team partner, that daily support and backup. I was lucky, when my kids were younger, to have great male role models around for my kids, but over the years, I lost that outside support. I don’t know if it was better having it back then when they were so impressionable, or if it would be better now, when they are so hormonal and headstrong.
How and when did the breakdown of the traditional family occur? Does it have to do with the deterioration of the sense of male or paternal responsibility? I was visiting with a couple of teenage boys last night (friends of my daughter), and the topic of childbearing and rearing came up. The two boys agreed that it was great being guys because they didn’t carry the load that women do, the one of bearing and raising children. To them, raising children is a choice, not a responsibility. I couldn’t believe my ears, yet the statement is very reflective of our current society. Have you ever watched Sixteen and Pregnant on MTV? I don’t watch it, but I hear it when my daughter watches it. Most of the young men (boys) blow my mind. After their child is born, and sometimes before, they lose all interest and sense of responsibility for their own children. They make a conscious decision not to be involved with their offspring. When did this become, if not acceptable, a tolerated choice for men? Men who abandon their children should be shunned, at the very least, yet they are allowed to go on with their lives, to procreate with more women, and create more children to abandon.
One of my favorite lines from a movie is, ‘You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car – hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they’ll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father.‘ (Tod, from the movie Parenthood)
Some guys (like my own baby daddy) will say that it is better for their kids if they are not involved. What a load of horseshit. All that means is they are too lazy to get their shit together and try. Some men make a conscious decision to procreate, yet still decide to run out on their kids. Other guys make the choice to stick it out, but let their anger about their circumstances rule their lives, and then take it out on their partners and children in the form of abuse or neglect.
You can sing the nature vs. nurture song to me until you’re blue, but I’ll never buy it. People evolve and adapt, just like thousands of other species. That whole, it’s ingrained in men to reproduce as much as possible to populate the earth is bullshit. We see enough men choose to raise their children and be good fathers to know that is false, yet, it seems many men cling to that excuse for dear life, using it as a mantra rather than a theory of evolution, ignoring the fact that the human brain evolves to fit society, and instead, using the male physiology as their excuse.
So, on this 2011 Father’s Day, my hat’s off to all the great fathers of the world, to whom fatherhood is less of a responsibility and more of a calling. To my sisterhood of single mother’s in the world who fill the role of both mother and father, I bow to you, send you much love, and wish for your success.
*Please note that I am aware that there are also many single fathers out there who share in the difficulty of single parenthood, and I bow to them as well.