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Memo for 2013: Please Do Not Wish Single Moms (especially me) a “Happy Father’s Day”

I’ve said this before and it bears repeating: Please don’t wish me a Happy Father’s Day. Mothers are not fathers. We could never be fathers and the more we act as if fathers are replaceable the more damage we do to our families and to the psyche of our children.

Last year, I was sitting in the barbershop with my son on Father’s Day weekend. Another mom walked in with her son. As the barber shop filled with men coming in and out  exchanging happy  Father’s Day handshakes and hugs, I was feeling all warm and fuzzy at this display of black male affection and brotherhood when one of the barbers turned to us moms seated on the couch and said, “and with all due respect, Happy Father’s Day to you all too.”

Cue needle scratching across the record.

Did he just wish me a Happy Father’s Day? I guess sitting in the barbershop with your son on father’s day weekend is code language for “my children don’t have a father.”

I was offended, though I know he meant well. Then there was some chatter about single moms holding it down and men needing to step up.

But my back was already fully arched and I wanted to defend myself and my children by saying, “their father is in London” –my usual default answer when I catch someone about to label my children.

I wanted (needed) to let this complete stranger know their father is not deadbeat, just distant and if he was in the country I wouldn’t be sitting there. So I did.

But more importantly, I wanted him to know that my job as a mother is not to do a Father’s job. I could never do that.

Later, throughout Father’s Day, I received several text messages  wishing me a Happy Father’s Day. WTH?

Why are we doing people?

Just so we’re clear for the future: please do not wish me a happy father’s day. It’s enough pressure to mother on my own, I can’t add father to the list.

I’m sure when well-intentioned folks say this they mean this in the twisted traditional sense that a father’s” job” is to provide for his family and most single moms have to do the providing by themselves.

I get that.

Because outside of that I can’t do a father’s job. Sure I play sports and wrestle with my son, but I would have done that anyway.  Yes, I talk to him about manners, being a gentleman (he’s my little Desperaux), being a man of character, and how to treat girls, but I would have done that anyway.

But the real stuff of fatherhood– I mean the real, real stuff of fatherhood–the modeling, the way of “being” a man, the balancing of perspectives, the man cues — I could never do that.

Besides, would you ever wish a single dad a happy mother’s day??

Probably not because we know that no matter how well he holds it down, there is something about a mother’s love that can never be replaced.

And so it is with fathers.

And the sooner we stop acting like fathers are so easily replaceable the sooner we can all get back to building strong families. Together!

And we need to stop sending subliminal messaging to our children that fathers are not necessary and can be replaced by mothers.  This is a lie and dangerous territory.

So please don’t wish me a happy father’s day. For one, my children have a father. He’s not perfect, but my kids love him.

And most importantly, being the best MOTHER I can be is really all I can handle.

In motherhood,


7 Responses to “Memo for 2013: Please Do Not Wish Single Moms (especially me) a “Happy Father’s Day””
  1. tanyetta says:

    I agree! Children need their fathers and fathers deserve the recgnition of their role in the lives of their children and the family unit.

  2. Alvin says:

    Thank you… I had a rough weekend trying to breakdown the same exact things you mentioned to other sistas.. but they fought me tooth and nail…

  3. yummommy says:

    So glad that another gets this. When I was a single mom I understood that I was just that- a mom. I can’t be a dad because I cannot do what my kids’ father does which is being himself. Only he can interact with them the way he does. So, what we have to pick up the slack. What else are we going to do? Let our children suffer because their fathers aren’t with us? I think not.

  4. Crystal says:

    I see your point but as a single mother I must accept both roles, it is what it is. Yes I’m a mom a preacher, the referee, the doctor. But I don’t have a PHd in any of these but the roles must be taken in order for my children to live a fulfilling lifestyle. I get it, I really do I can see it being offensive if total strangers don’t know you or your circumstance. However my family/friends know my struggle and I see it as what it is I’m all these things and then some. I did enjoy the article, kudos!
    …Love & Blessings

    • Kimberly says:

      Hi Crystal. I so appreciate your comments and sharing in the conversation. And I also thin there’s a difference between the many “hats” a single mom wears–and there are many– and the role a father plays. We definitely hold it down wearing many hats and taking care of busines. . No question and we deserve all the recognition and kudos and big ups for that, but I believe the role of a father we can never really duplicate. … Much love and respect to you.

  5. Elaine says:

    i posted this exact comment on my FB page. I did not appreciate people wishing me a Happy Father’s Day. Just because you don’t see my son’s father doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist. It’s such a mixed up mentality in our community. i also find it disturbing that the very men we had a baby or God forbid (babies) with no we don’t give them credit. There are certain things I can’t give my son…a mother and father have different roles. God created it that way. Like you said I have enough on my plate being the mother please Lord don’t give me his responsibilities too.

    • Kimberly says:

      Yes! The assumption that he’s not around really stung. Truth be told, I have been in the barber shop with my son even when I was married or when he was with his father every simply because of our different threshold levels for Michael’s hair!! Lol!

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