Father’s Day around the world is meant to be a joyous day celebrating dads who sacrifice for their families and to acknowledge them for their positive role and influence in raising a family. For some families headed by a single mother, this can be a difficult day full of mixed emotions such as anger and grief, as it serves as a reminder of unpleasant past events. For four years since my divorce, my boys never heard from their father on Father’s Day. They would make projects at school for him, which I always participated in, whether it involved sending photos of my child with their dad or making monetary contributions for a gift. They would give their gifts to him whenever it was the next time they saw him. This year, my boys were adamant they would no longer make cards for him. It was getting to a point where they were building up so much anger and resentment towards him that I needed to step in and turn their negative experience into something positive.
Some single mothers celebrate Father’s Day because they view themselves as the father in the family, which they rightfully deserve another day to celebrate all of their efforts. But for me, I didn’t want the attention for this day. I want my boys to grow up with a positive attitude towards being a father as this is a role they will have for a majority of their life. They deserve the opportunity to have this be a fulfilling responsibility in their life and not to have their negative and unfortunate life experience dictate their future. I do not want them to have the self- belief that dads are not important, or that children only need their mothers.
From this Father’s Day, in my house it will be known as Future Father’s Day. We celebrated the boy’s role as big brothers and I reminded them of how proud I am of them and thankful for their support in making it this far. We reflected on the past few years, how difficult it has been and how everyone’s emotions have been on a roller coaster. But we needed a day to take a break from all that and the boys deserved to be spoiled in whichever way they wanted. They wanted to play football in the park, get pampered in the barbershop with the latest hairstyle lathered in gel, and eat their favourite meal of chicken wings and chips! Then we had ice cream and they got more football cards.
They had a wonderful day and when it was the evening, I had them pick up the phone and wish their dad a Happy Father’s Day. They were reluctant at first, but I encouraged them to just do it, and I said, “You will feel better, and so will he.” Their father was surprised to hear from them and that phone call made everyone happy at both ends. It takes a bit of maturity to turn something negative into a positive experience. Rather than dreading holidays which seemingly do not affect us as single mothers, we still should have some insights into the future of our children and as a mother of boys, it is important we set positive examples for them, especially in regards to their future roles as fathers.