Father’s Day is only once a year.
If I’m being honest, I never gave Father’s Day any notice when I was younger. A card and a Toblerone normally did the job and my dad was always happy with the socks, mugs and tools he’d get from us four year upon year. Easily pleased and easy to buy for.
There lies the difference between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Why do we spend less on Father’s day than Mother’s day?
Men don’t fuss normally
Men tend to not make a fuss or even expect a fuss on their annual appreciation day.
Why is that do you think? Just in their nature maybe? Or because we, as a society have always understood that mothers are the main carer at home? The parent who keeps the house in order, cleans and cooks all the meals? That’s how the phenomenon of Mother’s Day Lunches came about… To give mum a day off from cooking. Well, here’s the thing…
It’s 2021 and dads are becoming increasingly present in their children’s lives and wellbeing (and some even do the cooking too).
My mum didn’t go back to work full time until we were 18, 10 and 8 years of age. Dad worked Monday to Friday 8-5pm and overtime on Saturdays 8-12pm. When he was home, he was fully involved with us and was a fantastic dad, but it was definitely our mum who was the permanent fixture in our household. The parent in charge of food, shopping, uniform shopping, cleaning, picking us up if we were unwell from school or taking us to after school activities.
These days more and more women are going back to their jobs after maternity leave and because of this dads are sharing the housework, parenting and other miscellaneous duties that are required when in the full swing of domestic family life.
Women can’t do it all alone and we, as a society have shifted this old fashioned mindset that we should. Thank God for that!!
I’m expecting equality in my household
I’m heading back to full time work in September and me and partner are already talking about sharing the responsibilities when the time comes and he is more than happy to share the load so that we both can have the work/life balance we crave/need. Would couples have had that conversation 40 years ago? I’m more than certain that they didn’t.
Now I’m not daft and I know that childcare/school drop offs, the family activities calendar and other unexpected events will be down to me to complete, but that is down to me working shorter hours (by 3 hours I may add… I’m 37 hours a week, my partner is 40-42 hours a week) and working from home and having the flexibility and supportive employers with regards to family affairs. But the shift is happening and many more dads are being asked, or some are even asking to have a more hands on presence at home and I for one am all for that!!
I was talking to another mum the other day and we were having the usual ‘aren’t men useless’ moans, when I suddenly thought ‘well Lynne, to be honest you never asked him to help you. You also jumped in and took over at bathtime as the kids were crying and you knew you could settle the kids quicker… So maybe you should just back off’.
Backing off mums. This is what I believe we need to do. We all say ‘Oh they haven’t got a clue or it’s easier if I just do it myself’ but aren’t we just cutting our noses to spite our faces? I’m trying to back off more since I had this lightbulb moment.
Of course my partner doesn’t know how to calm the kids! I have never told him my secrets. Of course he doesn’t get phones calls from the dentist, school or childminder… I never put him down as the point of contact on the forms!! See? We need to back off and let them learn their roles, just as we had to.
You’ll find dads will have a new found respect for you as a parent and appreciate how hard it is to balance work, home and kids.
Why I believe Father’s Day is just as important as Mother’s Day
When I was 19 years old, I began working full time in a boutique seaside hotel near my home town. It was here that I first found out how Mother’s Day was such a big deal for the hospitality industry. The bookings for Mother’s Day lunches began coming in, in the new year and we would have to have 2 sittings as the day was busier than Christmas Day!!
Up to this point I didn’t realise that people did this. Before this I would buy my mum a nice bunch of flowers, chocolates and a card. Needless to say, I was daughter-shamed from that first year and from then on ensured that I would take my mum out for afternoon tea or lunch the week after Mother’s Day (as no one was ever allowed Mother’s Day off).
Then came June and there were only 2 tables booked for the Father’s Day lunch!! I was absolutely gobsmacked! But again, why was I? What special treatment did I give my dad on that day? None really. As I say, he was happy that I visited with the novelty socks and card. Again, I felt daughter-shamed.
Why weren’t we as a society celebrating our dads just as much as mums? So that was that. From that year on, like I did with my mum I ensured that I took my dad out for a belated Father’s Day lunch.
Why I took my dad out for Father’s Day
If you’ve read my previous blogs, you’ll know that I lost my lovely dad last July to Parkinson’s Disease. He was my hero. There is still a whole inside of me which I’m trying to fill. That’s what happens when you lose a parent, a piece of you goes with them too. The realisation that although you have all the old memories to look back on, you’ll never have new ones to look forward to.
My dad was happy to be taken out for posh fish and chips on Father’s Day and I bloody loved taking him!! Who wouldn’t love the chance to have some 1-2-1 time with their dad? They get 2 days where you can really make them feel special, 1. Their birthday and 2. Father’s Day.
My plans for this Father’s Day this year
This Father’s Day I will be treating my partner to a day at the zoo with our girls and his mum and stepdad. I have this habit now of buying ‘memory days’ as presents if I can.
What is a memory day? Well, I’ve made that up really but put simply it means that I take that person out somewhere for the day, take them for lunch or dinner etc.
You see, presents are appreciated and used but since taking my mum, dad, partner and friends out for their special days we have had some great times together and more importantly made some great memories!
My daughters are only 3 and 8 months old but I want to instil in them how important BOTH their parents are. We both play our parts in their upbringing and wellbeing and should BOTH be celebrated and appreciated.
I know I’m lucky and was blessed with an amazing dad and my partner is a fun and loving daddy to our girls but I also know that dads don’t get the recognition, support and opportunities that us mothers do and as a result I have reached out to many dads to encourage them to speak about their lives and experiences on my podcast.
I believe that if you are a good dad, then you should be celebrated… Just as much as us mums!