I used to feel a lot of anxiety wondering if my daughter was missing out because her dad isn’t involved on a regular basis. Will she be sad that she can’t celebrate the day with her dad? Will she be missing him? Will she be jealous of the other kids that are doing something with their dads? Will she be ashamed that her mum is the only mum at the Father’s Day morning tea at school? Am I enough for her? How will she grow into a well-rounded woman without her father being a regular presence in her life?
And for those with sons – is my son missing out by not having his dad involved? How will I teach him to be a man? Who is going to teach him to set up a camp site? How can I role model to him how to treat women?
The questions asked and over analysis that can be carried out is common, especially on the days surrounding Father’s Day.
But you know what? What I realised over time, and by watching my daughter grow, is that she is not missing out at all. My daughter isn’t sad, because this situation is her normal. She has lots of friends in the same boat as her, which helps too. She’s not jealous of other children because there is no normal family unit, and I have been drumming that into her her whole life. She’s not ashamed that her mum is the only mum at the Father’s Day morning tea, she is happy that I am there and she is proud of me. I am enough for her because she has one parent who is very involved in her life and her upbringing and I love her more than anything in the whole world. She has my full attention.
She is growing up to be a very kind, confident, curious, empathetic girl that I am beyond proud of. She knows that women can put air into the tyres of their own cars, we can change lightbulbs, we can use tools, and we are tough. She often runs around the house saying WE. CAN. DO IT!!!!! She knows that she should never settle for unhappiness. She has a calm, loving, healthy, happy and peaceful home. We are great friends, we are a team, and we talk about everything very openly. She knows about self-love and self-respect, and I will continue to have those conversations with her as she gets older.
And as for the single mums with sons, some of the greatest men I’ve met were raised by single mothers. In my experience they have all been kind, respectful, empathetic, sympathetic and domesticated people. And who said women can’t set up a camp site?
For me - what is nice to reflect on around Father’s Day is that the amazing little girl that my daughter is - I did that myself. I can take the credit for that. I have been a mother to her, and I have been a father figure to her. And I am in no way trying to take the focus off all the kick ass dads out there who deserve to be celebrated on Father’s Day. But I think the single mums doing double get to celebrate themselves too.
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Julia Hasche is a blogger, podcast host, mentor for single parents, and Founder of Single Mother Survival Guide (www.singlemothersurvivalguide