The Friday before Mothering Sunday is normally where schools put on some type of celebration assembly or concert dedicated to the mothering figures in their lives. As a mother it’s a lovely experience to see my children do something a little special with their class friends to show appreciation for the women in their lives who help raise them. Today is the Friday before Father’s day and it unfortunately for us is just another normal day. The men in my children’s life aren’t celebrated in the same way as the women. There is no assembly or concert. With all that is going on in society I feel it’s important to have true equality and not just a shift from one inequality to another and this begins with the messages we send our children.
I wonder if we are unwittingly sending a message that fathers still aren’t as important as mothers. These young boys at school who are being sent this message will soon become young men who may grow up to believe that their presence isn’t actually required and so we continue to have absent fathers. I’m not suggesting for a minute that the lack of father’s day celebrations are a reason we still have absent fathers but it does feed into the idea that a mothers role is more important which is completely the wrong message we should be sending.
Often the argument for not having these types of celebrations is either it’s unfair on the children who don’t have dads, or dads are unlikely to attend such celebration. Both of these arguments are flawed. Mothers day can be painful for some who don’t have mothers. A school friend of mine went through the painful day every year as her own mother was tragically murdered. It didn’t stop the school we attended celebrating it and those children without mothers were told, it’s not just about mums but can be older sisters, aunties and nans too. So I argue, that why can’t the same be said for Father’s day, these children who don’t have a father could have a grandad, uncle or older brother? The idea also that fathers wouldn’t attend is also an unfair judgement. There is still a higher number of men who work full time then women, but I see many mothers having to book time off work to attend a mothering Sunday assembly so why not give the dads a chance too?
We cannot treat fathers as less than and then expect them to step up and do their equal share. A father figure is as important as a mother figure in a child’s life and should be celebrated. We also have single dads and households with 2 dads. Why must they attend a mothering assembly when they have their own day? So today I feel disappointed that my husband and the amazing dads, uncles and grandads I know, won’t have that wonderful experience I had this year of having songs sung from the heart in a touching school assembly. To my children their father is their hero and once a year they deserve the opportunity to treat him like one.
To those dads out there, cheers from me and my hope is by next year we will grow even more as a society and you get the celebration assembly you deserve.