It was Father’s Day today and along with all the well wishes and tributes to fathers there were several shout outs to single moms doing the job of two parents. There were also several single moms sharing how they are celebrating being both mom and dad. And while I appreciate the sentiment behind the well wishes, and shortly after Annelise was born I think I did refer to it as Mother’s Day the Sequel, there is no need to wish me a Happy Father’s Day. My views on the day and how I approach parenting have evolved as I get a better understanding of what it means to raise Annelise without a dad.
I am not her dad and I am not doing the work of two parents. I have been clear from the beginning that Annelise does not have a dad, biological or otherwise. The person contributing her other 23 chromosomes is a donor, that is all. Her dad is not absent, and I’m not picking up the slack his absence creates. I’m her mother and everything I do for her is because I am her mother. Our family is complete the way it is. To claim this holiday for myself or take credit for doing a dad’s job is sending the message that just a mom is not enough and that our family is missing someone.
This is not to say that dads aren’t important. If you are a dad, you are important to your children. If you have a dad, whether present or absent, they have an impact on you. We became a single parent family not because of a break up or abandonment, but because I chose to become a mother. There was no loss for Annelise. I don’t need to step up and fill in for the person who left. I just need to be the best mom I can be.
Annelise is doing just fine without a father. She somehow thinks she chose this and told me that having just a mom is a dream come true. She also thinks that I didn’t get married specifically so that it could be just me and her. I’ve always been open with her and we talk about our unique family situation and that I used a donor. We have occasionally talked about the possibility that I might date and marry someday. She’s not too keen on the idea and is very skeptical of any men I introduce to her. When I’ve asked her how she feels about it she’ll say, “maybe someday, but not for right not.” I don’t know if that will ever happen, but I do know that if she ever calls someone “dad” it will be because she is choosing to recognize that person as a father.
I know there are a lot of single moms who didn’t choose this path and they may choose to celebrate their extra effort on Father’s Day. But for us, on Father’s Day, Annelise will celebrate her Grandpa and that is all. I’ve got Mother’s Day, that’s enough for me.