By: Gloria Malone
As a single mom, who has been parenting her child on her own exclusively for five years now, I have gotten my share of well-meaning Happy Father’s Day wishes from people.
The first time it happened, I was confused: “I’m not her father, I’m her mother,” I thought to myself, but then I felt a sense of extra pride. Someone else thought I was doing such a great job mothering by myself that they wished me a Happy Father’s Day, in addition, to last month’s Mother’s Day.
I can not lie, the extra acknowledgement felt great.
With society constantly scapegoating single mothers for ‘society’s demise,’ and presidential candidates thinking shaming single- and teen- mothers is a good idea, it’s nice to get some extra acknowledgement on Father’s Day. The only issue is – I’m not a father.
I’m not a father. Im a single mother. A hard-working, often over-worked, over-tired, and proud single mom.
I am the one that tends to all the needs, wants, fears, hopes and dreams my daughter has, and I do so as her mother. The only mother she has known.
My daughter has a father who has chosen to not be as present in her life as I am. A conscious decision that I’ve accepted as his, not mine.
When that decision was made, I didn’t absorb his role, I simply continued mine.
I am not a father, because her father is absent. I’m her mother, because that’s the role I agreed to when I choose to have a child. It’s the role she needs me to be for her, and the role I enjoy occupying in her life.
All that being said, I am no one to tell single mothers how to feel and or want to celebrate holidays that celebrate the roles of parents. Single mothers are not a monolithic group. We are a group of individuals with varying experiences and roles.
Happy Father’s Day to all who celebrate and a special shout-out to all parents out there who fulfill their role as a parent in the most beautiful and fulfilling way possible.