When you’re a kid raised by a single mom, Father’s Day can be an awkward time for you. While everyone in your elementary school art class is making a Father’s Day card for their dad, it’s easy to feel left out. Things can get even more uncomfortable when other kids who know your family situation turn to you and ask who you’re making your card for since you don’t have a dad.
My art class go-to was to make a card for my mom. My father wasn’t in the picture before I was even born so she had to play the role of mom and dad for me my whole life. Even at a young age, I wanted her to be celebrated for her hard work. She didn’t mind me wishing her a Happy Father’s Day when the third Sunday in June rolled around. She herself would pick up the phone and call her single mom friends to wish them a Happy Father’s Day too. She and her friends still do this today to celebrate themselves and discuss how proud they are to see how well us children have turned out despite all the adversity we faced growing up.
Like many other single moms, my mom sacrificed a lot for me. She put me in private school from preschool through high school all on her own so I could get a good education. It certainly wasn’t easy at times, but we persevered. Her sacrifices eventually led to great rewards when I was awarded multiple scholarships and grants for college, and she didn’t have to pay a dime.
I know others who grew up in a single mom household who always wish their moms a Happy Father’s Day on social media since there’s always been a lack of moms-as-dads cards for Father’s Day. After all these years, companies like Hallmark are finally taking notice. Recently they started creating Father’s Day cards for moms who play both parts. (Sidenote: They also have Mother’s Day cards for dads who do the same.) In addition to moms, there are also cards for father figures, stepdads, and partners. It’s nice to see a major corporation like Hallmark acknowledging the diversity of the world we live in today and trying their best to make customers who don’t fit the nuclear family mold feel included.
But as per usual, every good deed is met with social media backlash these days. Recently I logged onto Facebook and saw people on my timeline complaining about how these new crop of cards are offensive to fathers who are there for their children and perpetuate the “men ain’t shit” stereotype. I was shocked by the shortsightedness of their comments. A few others who were raised by single moms or are single moms themselves commented that they were confused and disappointed to read their statements and would love to give or receive one of these cards.
If you have both parents in your life to fully support you, you’re lucky. We’re all entitled to our opinion, but don’t be that kid who makes others feel ashamed and awkward to live their truth. Don’t be that kid because what if you were that kid with only one parent who was always there to support you, only one parent to celebrate. If you wish to celebrate only women on Mother’s Day and only men on Father’s Day, that’s your prerogative; but let those of us who wish our moms a Happy Father’s Day or dads a Happy Mother’s Day celebrate whoever we wish to celebrate without your negative commentary taking us back to our elementary school art class days.