single moms single parent african american fathers day

It Took Being a Single Mom to (truly) Appreciate Father’s Day

Posted on Posted in Blog, Parenting's Not Easy

5 Ways to Show Appreciation on Father’s Day

 

When did you begin to really appreciate dads? I didn’t truly appreciate my own daddy until I became a single mama.  After the realization that I would be a single parent and the only responsible parent in the life of my oldest daughter, I thought this won’t be a walk in the park, but surely I can handle raising her on my own.  As a single mom it was an unexpected and exhausting adjustment becoming the sole person to play with, read a book or answer every ‘I am new to the world’ type question.  But still, I thought I can handle providing all of her needs.  Ha! I was so wrong.
What I could not provide nor did I anticipate were the times my oldest would feel left out at school or amongst her friends for not having a dad.  Like the time she was forced to choose either to not go to the school’s father-daughter dance or decide that she would go with my daddy, her ‘granda’.  That was hard to swallow.  I also did not anticipate her need to call someone daddy.  So in her first wee years I did not have the heart to correct her when she used the title to refer to my daddy.  And it broke my heart to think how left out she felt when in class she would be asked to talk about or draw her family tree and she couldn’t draw a mama and daddy.
Today, I know that many mamas’ may have the same single parent angst.   A 2012 report by the Children’s Defense Fund revealed that thirty-eight percent of Black children live with two parents, compared to 77 percent of White children.  And that fifty-one percent of Black children live with only their mother. Dismal stats for those single parenting kiddos through school considering the fact that a 2012 Child Trends Data Bank report revealed that children perform better in school if their fathers as well as their mothers are involved, regardless of whether the father lives with the child or not.
Almost nine years later I have been fortunate enough to not only marry a wonderful man, but for him to also adopt my/our oldest.  And I am so grateful that my single mama experiences have taught me to appreciate him and my daddy.  I now know how hard it is to provide for a family, therefore I appreciate the fact that my dad went to work every day so that we could have food, home and a future.  I would go 100 rounds for any of my children, therefore I appreciate the experience of my daddy having a good ‘talking to’ with the first grade teacher who crumpled up my paper and threw it on the floor when I wrote my name in the wrong place.  With a ‘blooming’ thirteen year old daughter I appreciate more than ever my dad’s refusal to pass along any phone messages to me from boys who called the house.  Thankfully, I appreciate and see so much of what my daddy did for me in what my husband does for our children today. 
Unfortunately, society doesn't work in favor of the single mama.  Expectations to attend to all matters of schooling and personal needs of children are the same regardless if there are two responsible parents or one. If a single mama is lucky there is a village of grandparents, aunts, uncles and extended family to help fill in.  I know I wouldn't have made it without mine…of this much I am sure!

 

What are you grateful for this Father’s Day?

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