By Latasha McGill
Before I begin, please do not be misled by the title. If you have no issues or have never had any issues with Father’s Day, you will not be able to relate to this post personally. Not all Black people have an issue with this holiday; however, many of us do. If you don’t believe me, wait until Father’s Day or a few days leading up to it. Social media will be on an emotional rollercoaster, from both men and women, young people and older people because the holiday is tied to unresolved trauma for some. Some of the issues I have witnessed and have been accustomed to are:
- Some people never knowing who their father was/is
- Father never was a father to their child(ren)
- A rocky relationship with father
- Ex/bitter baby momma keeping child away from father
- Single mom’s heartbreak for a child(ren) who longs for their father
- Father is no longer living
These are just some reasons why father’s day may be difficult for Black people. It’s not an all-inclusive list. Nonetheless, these are enough reasons for Black people to struggle emotionally getting through the day. No topic about Father’s Day stirs up more controversy than a Black single momma acknowledging herself or someone else acknowledging her on this day. When I was a young single mom, my daughters, family members, friends, and even church members would wish me a Happy Father’s Day. I never asked to be acknowledged, nor did I expect it. However, I never shied away from the shoutout on a day that is meant for Fathers. Honestly, I’ve gone back and forth with myself whether or not a single mom should be recognized on a day for Fathers. I do take offense to anyone who has never known the plight of a single mom tearing a woman down for being recognized on this day. Notice, I said, tearing her down, not disagreeing with this. Disagreeing with whether or not a woman should be recognized on Father’s Day is acceptable. What is not acceptable is some of the commentaries I’ve read in the past berating a woman for being recognized on Father’s Day. I’ve read comments criticizing women for being single mothers in the first place. There are many reasons why a woman can be a single parent. Whatever the reasons are, publicly belittling her is not the way to get the point across.
Don’t think this a pro-single mom article because it’s not. There are some women who intentionally make a child having a relationship with their father as difficult as she can. And it’s shameful, to say the least. Even as a single mom who had to “find it” when the father said he didn’t have it and by all accounts wasn’t trying to look for it, I never deprived my children of having a relationship with their father. The way I saw it was, that’s their father, and I cannot purposely stop them from having a relationship. It’s not who I am. There isn’t anything to gain from this behavior, but so much to lose for everyone involved—especially child(ren). Life is emotionally taxing for Black men as it is. Add a constant tug-of-war with an ex about children to that, and you’ll have a man who’s set to implode at any moment. We all know that society and the courts are in favor of the mother.
A Black man who’s in arrears for child support or isn’t paying what the mother feels should not have to hear about his financial shortcomings all the time. Some aren’t doing what they should; we know that, but many do try and do love their children. And they aren’t allowed to be the fathers they would like to be without the mothers policing their every move and decision. Cordial co-parenting takes work, practice, and patience. Most times, it isn’t achieved overnight. And fathers must compromise a lot to appease the mother. I’ve also seen cases where it doesn’t work until the mother heals from the heartbreak of the relationship.
I can provide so many more detailed scenarios to describe the bullet points above. And some of you can add to those bullets and provide your own details. The point is, Father’s Day is a holiday that many Black people have unresolved trauma. And, instead of dealing with trauma, we attack people for their point of view regarding the holiday, which only adds to trauma and makes things worse. We’d rather hurt each other than help each other heal by understanding and showing compassion. Instead of attacking someone over their way of celebrating Father’s Day, I would ask that you try and understand their position or at least wonder what it would be like if you had issues with Father’s Day. Give people grace yet love on your family and celebrate the Fathers in your life from a happy place.
Latasha McGill is a Contributing Writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. Tasha Mac is a mom of four adult daughters, a vegan, and a workout junkie who lives by the mantra Whole Person Healthy. It is her journey of total wellness in all areas of life. She enjoys encouraging, uplifting, and inspiring people to discover their own journey of total wellness and seek wholeness and freedom every day. Her favorite guilty pleasure is veggie chips with hummus or guacamole.