Guest Post: Happy Father’s Day, Everybody!

Literally.  Happy Father’s Day to everybody.

Twitter is a blessing and a curse. On the upside, it’s an amazing platform for the mingling of new ideas, a hub of creativity, and a great way to kill time and avoid all your offline responsibilities. At worst, it’s a microphone for the small minded, who have loud fingers and unlimited access to

Mind you, I’m a bit biased. I have some rather unpopular ideas about parenthood, many informed by my time spent in a single-parent home. These ideas are as follows:

1. Mother and father are pretty much biological terms. Anyone can be a mother. Anyone can be a father.

2. Women can raise good men, and men can raise good women. This is because being a good man or woman means only being a decent, upstanding person, regardless of sex or gender.

3. If we abolished Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and replaced them both with Parent’s Day, that would be just swell. It would be more inclusive of all the different types of mothers and fathers out there.

I dread Father’s Day on Twitter every year because there’s always a huge outcry against people who dare take the opportunity to thank their single mothers for playing both roles. People who do that are almost unwaveringly seen as “bitter” rather than appreciative. Apparently, appreciating women on Father’s Day cheapens the importance of the day and weakens its sanctity (gee, where have we heard that rhetoric and language before?). You don’t see anyone wishing single dads a Happy Mother’s Day, they argue (which is actuallycompletelyuntrue — it just doesn’t happen en masse because there are far more single mothers than there are single fathers).

Parenthood transcends sex and gender. Sometimes the people who play the role of father in our lives are women. Sometimes our mothers used to be our fathers. Sometimes our aunts and cousins are better mothers to us than our birth mothers ever were.

Moms and dads don’t always look the way you want them to look; sometimes people’s definitions of motherhood and fatherhood may make you uneasy because they challenge your own. In that case, it’s not the job of those of us who love our unconventional parents to curve our adulation to make your more comfortable. It’s your job to let people be who they are and love how they want, across the board.

What is important isn’t that the terms of parenthood are rightly prescribed and assigned; it is that those charged with the duty of parenthood are deserving of any congratulation at all. In a perfect world, we’d all be too busy celebrating the fathers in our lives — whatever form they may take — to worry about how everyone else is celebrating theirs.

Brokey McPoverty is a writer and humorist whose work can be seen at The Root, The Huffington PostPostBourgie, and Uptown Magazine, among other publications. You may also follow her on Twitter at @brokeymcpoverty.

5 thoughts on “Guest Post: Happy Father’s Day, Everybody!

  1. Like a lot of things that generate outrage on Twitter, this is–and always has been–one of those things we should simply stop talking about. And/or arguing over.

    If you have a man in your life who serves as a father, celebrate the dude. If you do not, then celebrate whomever you deem fit to celebrate.

    The point is: celebrate, motherfuckers.

    It ain’t that hard. Bottle up your butt and put your hurt on pause. For a day. Or just a couple hours. Every single moment of life don’t have to be about you, fam. Dag.

    Also, what she said.

  2. am i to understand that wishing women happy fathers days is an attempt at gender equality? as a mother who’s been wished a few, it never seemed as tho that was the intent. i recognize the recognition, it’s just that motherhood is not interchangeable with fatherhood as men are not biologically inter- well, you see where i’m going.

  3. This an excellent post. I receive it and I am hearing it. I respect people that honor their mothers on Father’s Day and their fathers on Mother’s Day. It is their choice and I don’t think it distracts from the purpose of those days.

    However, I often struggle with the notion that motherhood and fatherhood are interchangeable terms, thus mothers can be fathers and fathers can be mothers. I believe mothers and fathers contribute differently (equally-beneficial, but differently) to the upbringing of their children.

    I’ll admit I’m biased. I was raised in a two-parent household where both parents were not only physically present, but also connected emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Each parent offered something different and still do. That may not be attributed to gender, but I think it’s something to consider.

    Again, great piece. And love to Stacia for facilitating this excellent series on fatherhood.

  4. um…mz, arc it was idea #1 that precipitated my question. anyone cannot be a mother or a father if we’re honing in on biology. i cannot, as a woman be a father. my son’s father cannot become me -thru biology or any other means. if people are wishing to filter thru their emotions or view points re: their fatherlessness or lack of support as co-parents -feel what you feel. it’s your row to hoe. but let’s call it for what it is. hurt. disappointment, anger.

    i am not looking to usurp another person’s right to honor their honorable. but we are not being inundated with folk who are well wishing sans resentment. the happy fathers days directed toward women are most often with an not often veiled ire directed at particular men or a man, but being guised as sincere kudos. and perhaps they could be, but if the collective is to let those folks have their say, then it brings the backlash of others within their right in the form of admonishment.

    you have people who aren’t parents “weighing in”. you have men berating women for making their “choice” in a mate and having to deal with it. you have all these “REAL father” hurt the other 364 days of the year so that when fathers day rolls around you would have that same collective upholding your truths where you don’t have to combust on this one day.

    today has been so trying for me. i’ve felt as tho i’ve had to damage control over the sanctity of fatherhood, amongst men and women, because the love is being overshadowed. if you’ve never had a father around, nor a father figure, if your children aren’t being parented by their fathers, what MUST you say on this day that will affect the outcome of your living? because you’ve chosen to redirect the conversation based upon your experiences let’s have it. it’s just going to take more than bullet points and suppositions to have fathers day be a day where people other than males -men- are regaled.

    but thanks, ms. arc for asking me to read what i’m clearly seeing.

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