I saw a meme this morning of the Jerry Springer Show, with the text “ladies remember, this Sunday, you are NOT the father”.
Every year, the world is in the same position and having the same conversation about how moms should not be celebrated, or celebrate themselves on a day that has nothing to do with them. But does it not?
Our fatherlessness statistics as a nation are shocking and with so many moms having to step up for their kids in the absence of their father, moms just want to be recognised.
However, we have become the nation that holds a stance that we don’t need fathers and mothers can take up their role and wear dad’s shoes. This a problematic stance, because every child needs a father.
The role of a father cannot be replaced even by the strongest and most involved single mother.
I know individuals who have grown up in the absence of their fathers and have turned out to be wholesome adults. Heck, I grew up without my father holding my hand through life and I did not turn out bad. Growing up without him, though, has reminded me how important it is to ensure my children do not experience the same as I did.
The other day, I watched my three-year-old daughter seeking affirmation from her father while wearing her favourite red dress. She did not come to me because she knows I will say she looks beautiful. She was seeking affirmation from a male figure; her father. She got it and immediately had this gush on her face that would have never happened should she have not received it from him.
ALSO SEE: The cycle of fatherlessness
Fathers are the pillars that play a significant role in the development of children. The emotional security, guidance and protection they offer can be often overlooked, especially if they choose not to be present.
The emotional insecurities that girls with absent fathers grow up with should be a reminder of how Father’s Day cannot be about mom.
The wounds that boys with absent fathers have to heal from, even in the presence of strong mothers, should continue emphasising the importance of Father’s Day for fathers.
We are a generation of adults who suffered the cycle of fatherlessness due to our history. Apartheid changed the dynamics of many black households. Families were separated, so fathers worked in different locations and started new families. That cycle has trickled into numerous generations, but the buck can stop at some point.
So, to every single mom navigating motherhood in the absence of the child’s father, you are doing an incredible job. You are strong and your children know that and love you for it. I hope you had a double celebration on Mother’s Day because you deserve it.
But on Father’s Day, if the dad is not there, let you and your kids experience the hurt that comes with the day. It comes with all sorts of mixed emotions. From guilt to resentment, but still grateful for the gift of being a mother.
In the absence of a biological father, let the kids celebrate the father figures in their lives and pay tribute to them for chipping in however they can. Their teacher, uncle, pastor or grandfather.
Fatherhood goes beyond biology and we can teach this to our children after acknowledging the importance of this role in the lives of our children.