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Is It Fair To Celebrate Mothers On Father’s Day?

Considering the fact that Mother’s Day was just a couple of weeks ago…

BY Naledi K

Jun 15, 2021, 02:01 PM

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Father’s Day has never been a big deal for me. I never knew my father. I know… most of us haven’t. My story is not unique, I’m just part of the “My mother is both my mother and father” squad and honestly, there’s so many of us that if we wanted we could form a very powerful political party…

It wasn’t until my late teens that I figured out that you could use the day to celebrate other people’s fathers that have played some fatherly role in your life. Even then, Father’s Day was never truly personal for me and so most years I toggled between celebrating my uncles or giving my mother the “father” title. Surely she deserved the title since she “played” the role of father and did the duties society has come to expect from a father. Mama was the breadwinner, the provider, the protector, the family’s stronghold etc. All in addition to being the ultimate superwoman, the nurturer, the doting caretaker and every other role only a mother can be for her children.

In recent years - and with the rise of social media - I’ve realised that there are a lot of people like me and equally a lot of people who, unlike me, had fully present, loving fathers in their lives. It’s funny because, in my community, I knew more kids like me, those that didn't have to draw Father’s Day cards in class… than the other squad. In primary school, we all really bonded over painting the Mother’s Day cards, you know… because most of us had mothers as opposed to fathers. 
"It’s also important to note that the absence of a parent, that is caused by death, is and feels different - and that that is not the type of absence I’m talking about in this particular piece."
Anyway, as I grew older I realised that on Father’s Day, mixed in with all the messages from the “I am my father’s daughter/son” squad, there was a great number of messages from people begging the “fatherless” children to find a seat and sit down and not rain on their parade. These people would take to their various social media to ask the “fatherless” children and adults not to turn Father’s Day into a day to be bitter and bash their absent fathers. While others begged the “stranded” women not to use the day to further disgrace their baby daddies that have been reduced to mere “sperm donors” in their lives.

I realised that these people - the ones with true, amazing fathers to celebrate  - were genuinely gutted that their father’s praises often find themselves buried under the enormous weight of sadness, bitterness, frustration, and absolute anger that most of us “fatherless” children carry. And, I understand to some degree. 

If I had a personal hero to celebrate and on his “chosen” calendar day for celebrating the focus was anywhere but on him, I would also be upset. From what I’ve seen and the testimonies I have found myself reading on the TL of people sharing their random “Daddy loves me” tweets and expressing their gratitude for their fathers, it really must be nice to have a daddy. It looks wonderful and wholesome - and even if that’s not all it is, it looks like an experience worth having. Understandably, they deserve a day dedicated to them for doing their best in a gig that many other men run from.
"So yes, it isn’t fair that Father’s Day is “ruined” by the rest of us sad souls." 
However, life isn’t fair altogether because if we get started on the unfairness of things, it is an even bigger unfair phenomenon that children all over the world don’t have father’s to celebrate. It is unfair that grown men, capable of making babies, can abandon them without a dent in their consciousness. That they can go on to live their lives without regret and even go on to be “amazing” fathers to other children made later in their lives. Totally unfair.

The members of the “Fatherless Nation” squad have a right to be triggered by that unfairness and to express it however they wish. A great number of us go into unhealthy rants on social media - as opposed to seeing a therapist - but a greater number uses this opportunity to redirect their mind to focus on what or rather who they had in their “father’s place”.

So people thank their teachers, their uncles, their local businessmen and philanthropists or … wait for it, their mothers! 

As I said, it isn’t fair that women are expected to take on the responsibilities of a father but most of them do it and they do it so well that they really do deserve praise for it. 

So yeah, it’s father’s day but for some of us, our mothers are our fathers. Let’s just agree to disagree on this one… besides didn’t you know that every day is Mother’s Day?