Happy Father’s Day, Single Moms

160 Comments
solo-mom Mother and child via Shutterstock

The other day as I was picking up my son from preschool, a little girl from his class tugged on my sweater and asked, in front of my son Eddie, “Where is Eddie’s daddy?” Without missing a beat, I smiled and matter-of-factly gave what has become my standard reply, “He doesn’t have a daddy.” The little girl stood, processing this impossible factoid, and before I could snag Eddie’s lunchbox from his cubby and dash away from the impending stream of potentially awkward questions, the young Barbara Walters asked, “Did his daddy DIE?”

“No,” I responded. “Eddie just doesn’t have a daddy. Some families have mommies and daddies, and some have just mommies, or just daddies, or maybe just grandparents. Eddie has a mommy and a sister, and that’s his family.”

This statement rendered me a total oddity of nature in the eyes of this 5-year-old girl, who had, as I was discovering much to my chagrin, been fully educated on all things bee and bird related. She smooshed up her face in confusion and began to ask, “But…”

And then my son interrupted.

“I twied a new food today, Mom! C’we go to Tahget?” he asked, totally unaffected. Yes. Yes, we can go to Target and get you a prize for trying diced pears today, little dude. Nice work. High five.

See, my son gets it. At least for now, he gets it. He doesn’t question his slightly unorthodox family unit, or the fact that though I bear little to no resemblance to the Virgin Mary, he was apparently borne of immaculate conception. I’ve told him simply and lovingly since he was old enough to inquire, that he just doesn’t have a dad, and he’s ok with that explanation. In fact, he’s better than ok. My son is happy. He’s delightfully happy, funny, smart as a whip, gentle, adorable, sweet, quick to laugh, empathetic. He loves monster trucks and cars of all kinds, video games, kicking a soccer ball, playing with friends. He’s a hugger, a kisser, and an all-around wonderful little person. He’s five years old. And he’s never met his ‘dad.’

The ‘why’ is not important now. It’s part of my history. It’s not something I dwell upon, fret about, wish were different, or feel victimized about. In fact, I am truly happy being a solo parent and genuinely believe that my decision to raise him alone was the best one I could have made for my son and for myself, given the circumstances. I’m not a fan of the term ‘blessed,’ but I consider myself so. Yes, working fulltime and raising children alone is at times exhausting – and yes, sometimes financially stressful – but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Except that maybe I’d not be turning prematurely gray, but hey. They make great boxed hair color these days. In non-drip foam!

As Father’s Day quickly approaches, I’m gearing up for the time of year when, in my family, we celebrate my dad, my beloved late grandfather (for whom my son is named, in part), my brother-in-law, and myself. Yes, I’m a mom but I’m also Eddie’s ‘dad’ in many ways, though he doesn’t likely look at me that way, and I have no current plans to purchase myself a jockstrap or grow a goatee. In spirit, however, and in an effort to raise a well-rounded kid who lacks a strong male role model in his everyday life, I’m both mother and father. I’m nurturer and I’m teacher. I’m “let’s bake a cake together” mom and “let’s go to the Monster Truck jamboree” dad. I taught my son to use his manners, and I taught him to pee standing up. I take him to the doctor, hold and hug him as he gets his yearly shots… and encourage him to be brave and shake it off when he falls off his bike. Yes, it’s a bit like having a split personality, but much more gratifying (and much less creepy).

That said, every year as we close in on this national holiday, I have ‘the talk’ with Eddie’s teacher, as they change from year to year. There will be class projects, see. The kids will make something special to take home to dad. Dads are invited to join the kids at school for a morning breakfast. I’ll explain to his teacher that I’ll be attending that breakfast, thank-you-very-much, and that perhaps my son can make his craft projects for his grandpa or his uncle or for me. Then, if I’m lucky, I’ll be the proud new recipient of a macramé tie that I’ll display at home on the bookshelf. It’ll go right next to the adorably painted-shut purple wooden jewelry box he made me for Mother’s Day.

So, this is dedicated to my fellow fabulous single moms. And plenty of not-exactly-solo-but-very-hardworking moms who oftentimes do their fair share of ‘fathering.’ For that matter, there are plenty of solo dads raising kids alone who deserve to be presented with a Mother’s Day jewelry box and half a Costco muffin while sitting in a too-small chair in their kid’s classroom, too. Maybe it’s time to do away with Mother’s and Father’s Days entirely, and just morph them into Parent’s Day, but hold it twice a year so we don’t lose out on a perfectly good Eggs Benedict brunch.

Comments

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  1. 9

    Charlotte says

    Thank you for writing this. My son’s bio father has chosen not to be a part of his life. DS only ever mentions it around Father’s Day anymore. My parents are a tremendous help, and my son’s school finally got with the program, having the kids make F day gifts for the person of their choosing. It’s hard sometimes, but it is so worth it!

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  2. 10

    Lauren says

    This gave me goosebumps and almost made me tear up. I am both mom and dad and give the same explanations and feel the same way. Its nice to know I am not the only one. Loved this! <3

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  3. 11

    says

    Thank you for this… Reminding me of what to truly be grateful for as I raise my colicky 8week old son on my own… I raise a glass of breastmilk to all the single mommas who love their kids like they are two parents!

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  4. 12

    says

    I love this! I always hate the Donuts for Dads at our school because we are in a military city. The dads are deployed a lot and it just breaks my heart that those kids don’t get to come unless their brave mamas say “screw it” and bring them or they by chance are living in a city with a grandparent or other family member present.

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  5. 14

    says

    I love the article but i am a single mom and don’t agree completely. Yes, I play dad but I am ALWAYS a MOTHER first a foremost. Leave the Fathers Day for the real DADS. They don’t need us women creeping on their day.

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    • 15

      says

      I went to Donuts with dad with my four small children this morning. I get leaving the actual Day to the fathers but for things like that I personally go in his place because my children would like to participate in the activity and I dont want them to have to miss out on anything just because he is not there.

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    • 17

      says

      I agree. I play dad to my 6 year old, hes dad doesnt “exist” but I am a mother. I play dad, That does not make me a dad. Stephanie, I love that youre kids are still involved in the activites. I just dont feel its right for woman to have MOTHERS day and also FATHERS day when the reverse in not true, We play dads but we will never be able to completely fill that role that dads play in their sons life. There will times my son NEEDS his father and that I will just fall short bc as a mother I am not equipped to deal with it. I believe anything a man can do we can do better, except play father. It just how I feel.

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    • 18

      says

      Thank you Amanda Lynn. I agree with you but wasn’t sure how to word what I was trying to say in a sensitive manner but you did so perfectly. And I was a single mom for the first part of my oldest son’s life. I totally agree that mom’s should be able to step in dad roles like “breakfast with dad” at school, etc. also so no disrespect there! But I do agree with you Amanda.

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    • 19

      says

      You women are fucking full of your goddamn selves. You’d shit yourself if we said “happy mothers day” single dads. Don’t be double standard little cunts. You have a fucking day for yourself. Get the fuck over it if the guy left. Don’t let him nut in you. Not hard. You put yourself in the situation.

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      • 21

        liser says

        I didn’t “put myself” into any situation. My husband became an relapsed alcoholic and was abusive. So I took my kids and left. While I was pregnant. I didn’t do anything wrong. He is barely around and can’t be trusted to be alone with my children. I’m fortunate to be active in my church and the kids have a nearby grandpa and uncle so there are plenty of good male role models. But in my home, I am responsible for EVERYTHING- every boo boo, every soccer practice, every puke in the middle of the night, every dinner, every piece of laundry, every attempt at learning to ride a bike… in short, I am mom AND dad. I’m not trying to take away Father’s day from my ex-husband. But he gave his semen and gives $45 a week in child support for these kids. I have done and will continue to do everything for them. So if I want to attend Donuts with Dad or don’t think he deserves much more than a card this Sunday then so be it. I don’t know any single dads. If I did I would give them mega kudos and say Happy Mother’s Day!

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        • 22

          kmpc says

          This comment could have been written by me, except for the $45 a week – I don’t even get that. With 3 kids and 2 jobs, I’m doing everything on my own for them. Maybe not correctly, but the best I can. I didn’t plan for him to become an alcoholic who refuses to get help or hold a job. I stuck it out as long as i could, but 4 years ago I finally woke and realized this wasn’t healthy for the kids or me. I didn’t “put” myself in that situation – I saved us from it.
          I showed the kids it’s ok to step away. I showed them strength. I showed them courage.
          Happy Fathers Day to me – and to all of you. Most of us make better dads than the sperm donors who made our beautiful kids, so yeah – have your donuts! You earned it!

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          • 23

            Swaggasaurus says

            Well while I can certainly understand the frustration with the original remark, and to address it, as a single father of two children, one who is 6 years old and non-verbal autistic, I can say that I was wished a Happy Mother’s Day by many of my friends, which was comical to me.

            To address the “Mom’s typically make better father’s anyway” remark however, Mom is sort of in their lives, but she’s still a deadbeat, I’ve had full custody for over a year and haven’t seen a penny. In fact, before we separated she ran me 25k in debt within a year, and collected Alimony for 6 months AFTER she left and I had the kids. On top of that she falsely collected SSI for my daughter that whole time too. Soooo no there are absolutely worthless mothers out there as well, she sees her kids supervised every Saturday and usually files a DCF complaint after because of the supposed horrendous physical abuse I dish out to my kids on a daily basis. Luckily DCF knows she’s a worthless cunt, honestly at this point I couldn’t care less if she OD on whatever she’s taking these days, but I digress. Just wanted to make a statement that one, it does go both ways, it’s just more common for fathers to abandon their children, and two, that mothers aren’t some superhuman gods when it comes to being a parent.

            PS: I know quite a few amazing fathers, some of them have fought for custody of their children but were not granted it, just because single moms are more common, doesn’t mean that all fathers without custody are shitbags, it’s mostly due to stereotyping.

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      • 25

        Jim says

        Excellent Comment Trevor. The self-absorbed vanity and extreme narcissism of modern women (especially divorced or unwed “single moms”) knows no bounds.

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      • 26

        PL says

        I am a single mother. I didn’t put myself in this situation. My son’s father left because he didn’t want a special needs child. He abandoned us, took all the money out of the account when he left and left us nearly homeless. We haven’t seen or heard from him since. And because I know so many amazing single dads, I wish them a Happy Mother’s Day every year. Those closest to me, I even take out for breakfast or out for a coffee. So shut your pie hole.
        .

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    • 32

      says

      Hey Treavor T-Rex Leposki I am so not judging your opinion. I kind of agree with the part about women having a shit fit if we told single dads Happy Mother’s Day. Some would, to be sure. But not all of us. But calling women cunts undermines you’re stated your opinion on this. Not all women think this way. But it’s rather difficult to point that out to you after being called that in a rant against all women.

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    • 34

      Moms says

      There are many situations with fathers and mothers do deserve to get acknowledrg for beeing two parents for there kid(s) I love the idea of father day cards for moms

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  6. 35

    says

    I never had a dad; one year I found a “Happy Fathers Day, Mom!” card and gave it to her. She smiled and cried for 3 hours. Yes I was grown, but just the recognition of her doing both was overwhelming for her.

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    • 39

      Melissa says

      Me too! I am not a single mom and I’m still happily married (14 yrs.) to my 3 kiddos’ dad. We share all responsibilities raising our kids so why can’t we just have 2 “Parent’s Day” every year instead of singling the days out?! I completely agree that single parents, either mom or dad, have every right to be acknowledged and celebrated on BOTH days JUST like parents that are still involved in their kids’ lives!
      Should we start a petition?! 😊
      So I say to you ALL…Happy Father’s Day dads AND single mommas!!! And Happy (belated) Mother’s Day moms AND single dads!!!

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  7. 40

    says

    I wish it was harder for people to walk away from relationships in which they have created children, I have heard so many times, well its better for us to be apart than together because we fought all the time or (insert any reason here, )maybe we should think harder before bringing kids into these types of relationships, birth control is practically free and self restraint is old fashioned but there would be a lot less kids getting shuffled back and forth if men and women were a little less selfish and a lot more responsible, moms cant replace the dads, there will always be something missing, even for the ones who do the best job and put their kids first which are few and far between, (death of a spouse or the dad aside)

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    • 42

      says

      I was married for 10 years and with my ex for 4 years prior to getting married. Neither one of us went into it planning divorce. A stressful home life does not help children. My boys have made so many strides after the divorce, everyone is happier and healthier.

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    • 43

      says

      When you have the unfortunate reality of realizing after 81/2 years that your spouse would rather date online and meet up secretly for affairs – it is not a good place to stay and model that as ok for your children – being a mom is a tough job, doing it on your own is not what you typically plan – kudos to the moms who choose the harder path and make it work

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    • 44

      says

      People who decide not to “walk away” and remain married don’t automatically become involved parents. I’ve heard of many parents who are completely uninvolved with their children while living under the same roof.

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    • 46

      says

      Maybe the ability to step up to make the decision to bear the brunt of being both “mom and dad”, instead of forcing a stressful or unfortunate circumstance on your child is not a situation you can handle. Take your unorthodox comments elsewhere. Moms can most definitely stand tall in both roles and do an amazing job. It’s just NOT a good fit for all, like perhaps, you. Kudos to the single moms getting it done and having awesome kids b/c of it!

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    • 50

      says

      Ignorance is bliss, eh, Christabelle. At least my kids are happy now and don’t have to be scared of dad’s next outburst! They don’t even have to deal with any of his side since they disowned up 7yrs ago! From a PROUD divorced single momma of 3 VERY happy, functional, emotionally sound teenagers!!!

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    • 51

      Ajani says

      Well, I agree with your comment in so far as it means “I wish it were harder for men and women to DO the [hurtful, horrible, shattering thing that will lead to divorce].” Yes, I wish “how will this affect my children” was a thought that crossed my ex’s mind before he started cozying up to his coworker. I wish he’d thought “well, I might not be happy right now, but let’s see if there’s something we can do to bring back that spark, rather than throwing in the towel before even informing me that he was unhappy.” And similarly for others, I wish it were harder for their ex-partners to pick up that third drink, understanding where it could lead to; harder to resort to violence and insults, realizing the environment they’ll be creating. Yes, in those ways, I do agree with you.

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    • 52

      Melissa says

      I have never met anyone that gets married and has kids with the sole purpose of getting a divorce later down the road!! Your comment makes it sound like people put divorce and single parenting in their 5 year plan…seriously?!

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  8. 53

    Ericka says

    Yup. That’s me too. I’ll be more of a father than his bio-father could ever be. Thanks, I felt like I was reading my story. Happy Father’s Day!

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  9. 55

    says

    My children are 12 and 11. Their father has been unreliable for a long time now. Over the past few years, both my son and daughter, wish me a happy father’s day. It brings tears to my eyes and makes my heart swell. Even though they are young, they know that I am working my butt off doing both roles to the best of my ability, and they love me even more for it. Happy Father’s Day to all that are blessed to help raise amazing children.

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  10. 56

    Kate @ Did That Just Happen? says

    My son doesn’t have a father either, and when he was younger – pre-teen, he looked at me and said “Your dad name is Steve”.
    Uh, Okay.
    He went on “Since you are both mom and dad to me, I figure you should have a dad name too.”
    He’s probably totally forgotten about this, but I will never ever forget that I have a “dad” name.

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