Why I'll still celebrate Father's Day as a single mom

Jun 19, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. ET
Image: Getty Images/Royalty Free/

I'll be the first to admit that I don't believe in giving dads a pass when it comes to parenting. But that doesn't mean I think dads should be robbed of their Father's Day glory.

As a single mom, I'm the target audience of this heart-tugging viral video. It busted me up a little to see adult children tear up over all the amazing things their mothers did for them, but I found myself bristling at the idea of saying "Happy Father's Day, Mom."

For one thing, this campaign played right into the crowd of naysayers who love to insist that single moms are always looking for a pat on the back (or a handout). These people make me crazy. I don't like feeding their misogynistic demonization of single moms. They didn't see this message as heartwarming; they saw it as yet another case of single moms eroding the very fabric of society. Excuse me while I roll my eyes until they hurt. I don't love the message, but I don't think it's about bratty single moms trying to steal all the parenting thunder.

Even if those troll-ish individuals were removed from the picture, I'd still balk at the "Father's Day for moms" message.

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Of course there are plenty of women who bust their butts day in and day out to raise their kids without help from a man. But they're not acting as "mother and father" to their children. Those single moms are mothers. Full stop. And mothers are capable of talking about boy parts and playing sports and being tough and supporting their children. Calling a woman "father" for doing the job of both parents plays into gender stereotypes and expectations. It insinuates that the role of "mother" isn't quite enough to raise a child. It insinuates that men have power and women are just there to nurture.

Nope. Not buying it.

My heart breaks for women who raise their children entirely on their own, with no visitation or child support. These women deserve to be honored and celebrated on Mother's Day, and every damn day of the year. But we don't have to call them "father" to acknowledge that they're parenting with the weight of the world on their shoulders. We don't have to say "Happy Father's Day" to praise them for doing an incredible job.

There are many great fathers out there. Let them have their day.

I won't lie. I don't really enjoy Father's Day. It's a reminder to me that my family isn't the traditional family I wanted it to be when I had kids as a married woman. But that doesn't mean I want pity that day, or that I expect others to acknowledge my Father's Day angst — or celebrate me on Father's Day. Because here's the thing. I'm perfectly capable of celebrating myself. I'm an awesome mom. I raise my sons with strength and an open mind and a willingness to adapt to their individual needs.

I'll be enjoying a pedicure this Father's Day like the boss bitch I am.

Happy Father's Day, guys.

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