If you do I swear to beans I will punch you in the throat …
By now you know that I hate Mother’s Day and there is only one other made up holiday that irks me just as much as that flower giving, card spewing, brunch buying fiasco: Father’s Day.
It is not only a ridiculously manufactured day of shame just like Mother’s Day created so that we’ll all buy shit that we don’t need, it is also awkward and rude. Every year the infamous Sunday rolls around and someone inevitably texts or posts, “Happy Father’s Day to all the women out here doing it for both!” If I see that shit on my wall I’m deleting it and sending you a very strongly worded letter with the beginning line consisting of a picture with my middle finger.
But Morgan, you say, you’re a single mom, the epitome of strength and sacrifice in our community! Why wouldn’t you want to be recognized for all that you do?! Well, here’s one astute observation from Captain Obvious: I am not a father! Last time I checked between my legs I still possessed a vagina (which I love very much) so I’m pretty sure I’m not the man who provided the sperm to create Miles. It’s very simple people. I’m not his dad so don’t recognize me like I am. And there are a few other reasons why it makes me start drop kicking strangers to receive salutations on this random June Sunday . . .
My son has a father. Yup. He has a dad who loves him and does his best to be in his life. Even if you don’t see him, he’s still there (kinda like my student loan debt which I keep tryna ignore but just keeps coming back!) We may not live in the same area but we have been working together for quite some time to ensure that our son enjoys time with us both. Neither of us is perfect but that is exactly what co-parenting is: two imperfect people learning to communicate and raise a child. It is two people putting their egos aside to create an environment in which a child can feel love from both parents. It takes time, commitment, humility and just plain old hard work. I thank God often that my son’s father and I have grown to this state of maturity and I praise Him for the fact that my son has a father who is willing to work with me in co-parenting effectively. You WILL NOT take that away from him. Not on my watch.
With that being said, there is a huge difference between absent dads and abroad dads. Let me explain: there are many dads who are doing the best they can in a situation that is not ideal. Everyone can agree that the best possible situation for a child is two loving, healthy, happy parents in the household. But this situation does not always occur. Many obstacles can get in the way of two people staying together and result in mother and/or father living outside of the home. I also do not support staying together for the kids; it just seems to create misery and toxicity. There are many men who may not live with their children but work to make sure their children know them and they create homes for their kids wherever they are. These dads can be considered abroad dads.Wishing me a happy Father’s Day assumes that my son’s father is a deadbeat dad who is not present in his life when the truth is he is an abroad father who makes his presence clear in my son’s life. Don’t assume anything (remember what assumptions make out of you?) The situation is not perfect, but it is far from being one where a father does not care for his son and takes no responsibility for his upbringing. This inference is just wrong, ignorant and again, makes me want to hurt you.
Wishing me a happy Father’s Day also affects the ways in which I am perceived as a single mom and a single woman; wishing me a Happy Father’s Day perpetuates stereotypes. Look, I’ve already gotten blamed for the downfall of the black community as a single mom. I’m not tryna take on anymore burden or become the embodiment of the strong-black-woman-who-don’t-take-no-shit-or-help. Again, I possess a glorious vagina. However marvelous that may be, I am not a man and cannot take the place of one. I am in no way saying that single mothers cannot raise children, even boys, in healthy, happy and supportive homes. They can. But the role of fatherhood is just as important to a child’s upbringing and this fact cannot be ignored. It also implies two things that I do not want to be a part of:
1) It assumes a choice in the matter. Though I have read all the blog posts and memes that proclaim it is my own fault for being a single mom, I am in large disagreement with this assertion. I do not believe many women choose this situation. I did not choose to be primary caregiver and financial supporter of a growing human being. What I chose was a sexual relationship with a man that may or may not have included condoms at all times (I can admit that because many of you judging me chose the same thing, there’s just no evidence to prove it.) I also chose to continue the pregnancy and raise a child. But I did not willingly jump into a situation where I knew I would end up a single mother. Nope, nuh unh, fuck outta here Bob. So stop giving me shout outs for something I did not want in the first place.
2) The uplifting of my role as “mom” and “dad” supports the continued perceptions of perpetual Black woman singlehood. You salute me because you assume I do it alone which is in part not true and in total a constant reminder of an undesirable situation. It is also posited in the idea that this is the norm and will always be the norm for me and others like me. Love is real AND families are real. Both exist in the Black community. I know plenty of Black people who did things the “right way” (though there is no “right” or “wrong” only the paths we have to walk for ourselves). When you wish me Happy Father’s Day, you place me in eternal aloneness and also center me in that strong Black woman stereotype that keeps me in the demographic who is more often overlooked when it comes to help from others in all aspects of life including health, mental health, financial strain, housing and especially relationships. Applauding me for being both “mom” and “dad” is applauding me for being a statistic and not doing anything to change said statistic. It is glorifying a duality that I can never actually possess because I cannot be both man and woman. It is also rooting our ideology as a community in the notion that this state of raising children is okay. Though I applaud every woman who steps up to the plate and does a damn good job of raising their children, I do not want to continue to make this our goal. And if you don’t believe that we have a problem with perceptions of Black motherhood ask a classroom of Black teenagers. I have. I can tell you it is not only disheartening but disturbing to hear girls as young as 15 aspire to raise children by themselves and claim they cannot imagine a man who would stay and be involved in the parenting situation. We have to do better.
So STOP WISHING ME HAPPY FATHER’S DAY DAMNIT!!! It’s not like anybody gets me good gifts. I would most certainly take a membership to the Beer of the Month club and add to my prominent beer belly but you people are all talk and no action. If you really want to wish someone Happy Father’s Day, send my baby daddy well wishes. Or, if you don’t really feel like stalking someone you are not acquainted with try these on for size …
Dads we can wish Happy Father’s Day to:
Real Dads There are still fathers (like my own) who are married to or living near the mother of their children so that they can do their best to provide solid homes for their families. Drop these dads a note. Heck, send them some flowers to let them know you appreciate their hard work.
Co-parenting and Abroad Dads Again, all dads aren’t at home but that doesn’t mean they aren’t involved. Many men make it their duty to give love from near and far so send them a pigeon with a little card attached to the foot to let them know you see their struggles and triumphs.
Future Dads Maybe if we started encouraging fathers and fatherhood early on we would see more men making strides to be active in their child’s lives. So text a man who has expressed his desire to be a father and encourage him by telling him what traits will make him a great dad one day.
Let’s spread the love to dads everywhere this year. Don’t be shy and don’t be stingy; take a dad out and get him sloppy drunk. I’m 100% sure he’ll appreciate you for it.