♣ The Toughest Jobs are often the most Thankless…♣
“Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded … that family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation. They are teachers and coaches. They are mentors and role models. They are examples of success and the men who constantly push us toward it.”
— President Barack Obama
DETROIT (JSC) — On Father’s Day 2010, I wrote what became one of my most controversial blogs ever. It was written due in large part to my irritation and disgust at how Father’s Day was being overrun by bitterness from single mothers demanding special “recognition” on Father’s Day as well as their incessant whining about “deadbeat dads” and constantly diminishing of the role of fathers, MEN, in their kid’s lives. When I wrote that blog (which you will see in its updated entirety below the page break), I expectedly got a lot of angry blowback from “offended” single moms who tried in vain to insist that they are on equal footing as fathers and that I’m just “sexist” and “angry” and blah, blah, blah…basically trying to do what they always do to men who dare to defend themselves: Shout them down. Since then, there has been much more noise made by not only Fathers, but married women and other single mothers over stopping this disrespect of Father’s Day. I’ve even had a few single and formerly single moms admit to me off record that I was right. While I have no kids of my own, I’m a man who is grateful to have my dad around. That blog was as much about defending his honor as anything else. I will not “agree to disagree” about this. Fathers are as important (and in a lot of cases, MORE important) than Mothers. A few things have changed since 2010, but the message will not. Thanks again and Let’s Go.
The story of my dad is a bit of a microcosm of fatherhood. My dad is a retired Detroit Police officer; worked for DPD for over 30 years. If there were ever a more thankless job, it would be that of a Detroit Police Officer. Being a dad, especially a Black one, may be the most thankless gig on the planet. Being in the position my dad was in, could’ve been far more difficult. My father is technically my stepfather. I have never called him that once, and never will. The man has done more for me in 30 years than anyone aside from my Mother.
I have previously mentioned this, but a quick reset, my biological father (the only time that F word will be associated with him), abruptly left my mother and I in early 1981 after they divorced. I have only seen the man twice since then and neither occasion was particularly pleasant. My mother remarried in 1983. Since I was too young to have any recollection of him, I never once thought about him as my dad. My mother helped this by not badmouthing him, or making much mention of him in general.
My mother was always open to my biological having a relationship with me. He chose to disappear. So I grew up knowing Robert Smith as my father, and I can’t say that was too bad of a deal at all. The man taught me how to fight, how to deal with tough times, how to hook up stereo and video equipment, how to deal with bullies, how a man’s only as good as his word, and how you’re not gonna accomplish anything in life w/out HARD WORK. As much as I love my Mother, those are things that she couldn’t have taught me, and has admitted as much.
The reason I’m writing this, as much as I didn’t even want to waste time on this subject matter, is that I have grown very tired of Fathers and Father’s Day being disrespected. The primary offenders: Single Mothers. At some point in the last 10 years, there seems to be this movement by single mothers insisting that they be “Recognized” on Father’s Day. You see it in the passive-aggressive shade thrown on Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else:
“Happy Father’s Day to all the Real Dads and to the Single Moms doing Both Jobs“
“Happy Father’s Day to all the Single Mothers who have shown that you don’t need to have a Penis to be a father!” (or something to that effect).
I find this equal parts offensive and insulting. First and foremost, You never hear crap like this said on Mother’s Day. EVER. Imagine how many panties would (rightfully) be in a bunch if some jack ass Single Father said:
“Happy Mother’s Day to all the Dads holding it down playing both roles! You don’t need a vagina to be a mom!”
You see how ridiculous that looks. The next man to say something like that will be the first and would absolutely deserve any and all wrath he incurs from the masses. Seriously, imagine how that looks to a man who busts his ass everyday for his kids. Imagine the arrogance that shows. I have had an issue for years with Single Moms and their, at times, sense of entitlement. As if being a single mother makes you any better, stronger, more resilient, or tougher than my Mother — married for 30 years — or any other woman who is married with kids. As if you’re any better than the single mom who does get support from the father of her child. A few years ago when Fantasia said in one of her songs — the aptly named “Baby Mama” — that she “wishes there was a day for single mothers trying to make a way,” I remember screaming in the studio at 96.5 “They already have one. It’s called MOTHER’S DAY!”
Don’t even get me started on the qualifier of “Real Dads” and “Dudes who take care of their business” that they like to throw in there. Men don’t throw that in there on Mother’s Day — and trust that there are scads of shitty moms all over the world. Let’s make this clear: Father’s Day is for FATHERS. It is assumed that we mean the good ones, and even some of the average ones! All Dads apply just like all moms, even the shitty ones, apply in May. Again, Single Moms: Father’s Day is not your day. Deal with it.
This notion that being a Single Mom is deserving of extra recognition is ludicrous on many levels. It also asserts that women who are married or in a long-term relationship with the father of their child have it easy and don’t have to work as hard. They don’t. In fact, not only do they have to deal with raising a child, most still have to maintain a job, many take care of paying bills, maintaining a house, and (oh, by the way) keeping a MARRIAGE together! If you think being married for 30 years is easy, then I’m gonna need you to split an atom for me. Couple that with the other major problem of this notion that being a Single Mom makes you both a Mother and a Father. That, my friends, is categorically FALSE.
For those of you who think that being a father is easy work, try teaching your son how to play baseball or basketball or football. Try teaching that kid what it is like to stare down and fight a bully. Try having burping or farting contests. Try teaching that kid how to approach and respect women as well as other men. Try teaching him how to ride a bike. Try explaining to that kid why his voice is getting deeper. Try teaching him how to hook up a stereo system w/out blowing out every fuse in your house. Try teaching that kid what being a man is about. You Can’t Do It! Ask any formerly single mother how much of a burden was lifted off her tired shoulders when that man came into her life and took over that open role as a father figure. And I dare you to call that woman weak for surrendering her “independence.” My mother gave me so much, but so did my father.
It was my dad who helped me understand that life ain’t fair. It was my dad who taught me that the only man that you will always be able to trust is yourself. It was my dad who introduced me to what good music is and, in turn, as we’ve gotten older I have broken him into the world of iTunes and given the gift of music back to him as he gave it to me. It was my dad who was at EVERY track meet, many times still in his Police Uniform. It was my dad who was the first to shake my hand after I walked off that stage after graduating from Renaissance in 1997. It was my dad who told me to “Be better than (Him)” when I grew up. It was my dad that introduced me to a lot of dirty jokes, practical jokes, and 4-letter words that I couldn’t (and still can’t) say in front of my mom. I owe that man a ton, and the older I have gotten, the more I have realized that fact. And I’ll be damned if I let an obnoxious woman with bitterness in her heart and poor decision making skills shit on my dad’s day or any other man that I know who busts his ass everyday to be a father to his child. Additionally, congrats to all the men who have become dads in the last year as well.
So in closing: Single Moms, I’m not dismissing your struggle. Quite the contrary, it must be BRUTAL doing it on solo status. Is it messed up that the father of your child is not around or your dad was a deadbeat? Yes. Extremely. That’s a discussion we can have 364 days out of the year. Either way, that doesn’t mean all men are deadbeats. Nor does it mean that you are a Father. You are not Fathers! Claiming that you are minimizes what Fathers bring to the lives of their kids and what their strengths are as men. Hell, your anger, bitterness, and vitriol actually proves my point. You think you can do both, but coming from a man who had both, let me tell you that you can’t do a very good job of it. So fall back, swallow your bitterness, and pride, and let Men have their One Official Day.
Once again, big ups to all the Fathers, Grandfathers, Stepfathers, Uncles, Big Brothers, Big Cousins, and all other Male Father Figures who play a positive role in the lives of kids on the daily. Today is your day and it belongs to YOU. The day I become a Dad will trump anything that has happened to me in life up to this point. That’s as Real As It Gets.
P.S.: To all you other Deadbeats Scared of Being Father Figures, You only get ½ a bar: Fuck Y’all N—-s!
Until Next Time, That’s The Way It Is. Saturday, June 15, 2013.
The 224th day since the Detroit Lions’ Last Victory
Take Care, God Bless, Always Dare to Be Different, and G.O.M.A.B. Σ