Father’s Day is next weekend and already the quotes and blog posts and articles are filling up my news feeds about the single moms who are “also dads.” I can’t stand this, really I can’t. As a single mother of 4 children and 3 of those children who have no contact with their father I can tell you…I am NOT a father. I am their mother. And I feel the void of them not having a father almost as badly as they must.
No matter what the situation is, a mother is not a father and likewise, a father cannot be a mother. It takes a man and a woman to create a child for a reason: children need both a mother and a father to meet their needs. Now before you jump in here and say “but, a child raised without one parent or the other can still be healthy”…you’re absolutely right, I’m not arguing that. But to make that happen takes a lot of work, which often doesn’t happen. We have a world full of broken people that likely were broken at a very early age by those who were supposed to love them the most.
I wish that there was something I could do, maybe if I tried a little harder, that could help fill the void of a missing father (figure) for my children. But I can’t. I can only give them “mom” because that’s all that I am. I’m a woman - I look like a woman, I sound like a woman, I think like a woman. And we all know that women and men are very different creatures. I will never be able to give my son or daughters a man’s perspective. Ever. I’m not a dude.
There are so many problems that arise when we adopt this thought that single parents do the job of both parents. It’s true, we do a lot of work. And the less involved the other parent is, the more challenging it is on the primary parent. No matter how much burden a single parent carries they are still only mother or father, not both.
It’s hard. It’s really, really hard being a single parent. I’m not about to take that away from any single parent. Trust me, if anyone knows, I do. But we do our children a huge disservice when we think we can take on the role of both parents. My mom can never give me what I get from my dad. Never. And I will never be able to father my children. When we deny this reality, we can get into a position where we think that the child doesn’t need the other parent.
Let me explain - it happens all the time in divorce/separations. One parent will decide that the other parent doesn’t deserve to see the child as much as they do. So they will fight to take time away from the other parent. While this is hurtful to the other parent, it is more detrimental to the child who is being robbed of his/her relationship with the other parent who he/she needs just as much. In our anger, bitterness and hurt, we use our children as pawn to hurt the other parent. This needs to stop.
Realizing that your child needs the other parent just as much as they need you is so important to the emotional and mental health of your child. If we were designed to need only one parent, it wouldn’t require both a man and a woman to procreate. The bottom line is, we do need both. In some situations (as in our family) that isn’t possible as one parent is not healthy or fit to parent and it is better for the children not to have contact with that parent. But if the parent is not of harm to the child and wants to be involved then by all means, encourage that. Put your personal agenda aside. Work together to give your child what they need to be healthy. Your child didn’t ask for this. The least you can do is suck it up so that you are doing the right thing for your child by encouraging a healthy relationship with both parents.
I don’t want anyone to wish my a happy Father’s Day. I’m not a father. I wish nothing more than for my children to have a healthy father figure in their life.