Compared to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is pretty recent. It only exists because certain politicians got all whiny about how dads in America were bereft of recognition. Instead of self-soothing with their higher wages, or their ability to assault women with impunity, or their success despite white mediocrity, they demanded their very own holiday.
President Nixon signed Father’s Day into law in 1972. Yes, NIXON, the most corrupt U.S. President until Trump demanded Nixon hold his beer.
Mother’s Day, at best, says “thanks for all the unpaid emotional labor of child-rearing, please have this one day off.” Ironically, it often means more work for a person who is already overworked and underpaid.
Father’s Day? Father’s Day is ridiculous. We live in a damned patriarchy. Every day is Father’s Day.
Every day the mom network has stories of moms managing kids, work, pets, and broken appliances while this husband went golfing or that husband was hungover from poker. Moms struggle to recover from things like surgery and childbirth, getting up when they should be lying down because their husbands are shit (and allowed/ expected to be shit) at coping with recalcitrant toddlers and teenagers.
As a society, we allow men to focus on their own needs (be it their career or their Crossfit workout) while expecting moms to always hold down a fort teeming with screaming children–even while they’re holding down their own job. Men’s wages even increase once they have kids, despite doing less around the house, while women get penalized. (The combination of pandemic and social media threw this disparity into high relief.)
The result? Less women are getting married. Less women are having kids. More women opting out of a shit system where even single moms have more leisure time than married ones.
Good call, women.
Now, there are some great dads out there. And we certainly hear about them! In fact, the very first state-wide celebration of Father’s Day in the U.S. was in honor of a widower who raised his 6 kids when his wife died—some 40 years after 200,000 widows had to raise kids alone after the U.S. Civil War.
The media is all over these good dads:
Seriously. How low is the bar for dads?
I mean, take Andy. No, don’t really take him, my husband is a great cook, can dance, makes decent money, and has solid health insurance.
But…Andy would also give our child 12 hours of screen time a day if I weren’t around so he could play Clash Royale or read the news in peace. Andy wouldn’t have done the work to get Baby D into swim classes, Junior Lifeguards, or any sports. Without my
badgering guidance, Andy definitely wouldn’t have volunteered to coach any sports, or signed Baby D up for Cub Scouts. There wouldn’t be father-son trips to McDonad’s Playland, let alone the beach.
Our kid would also be wearing clothes he outgrew 2 years ago.
Yet my fellow moms shrug off this standard dad behavior. Instead, they are in awe over the fact that my husband goes to the Farmer’s Market and cooks on the weekends. They repeatedly tell me how lucky I am.
Can you imagine being amazed if a mom went to the market and made dinner?
Other women tell me what a great dad Andy is because he goes to his son’s sports games—even though he’s missed a few while injured or out of town.
Meanwhile, my Surgeon Sister works long, unpredictable hours and misses some of her daughters’ events. When Surgeon Sis introduced herself as “A’s mom” at swim meet, a woman blurted out, “You’re A’s mom? I thought you were dead!”
The bar for moms is set so high you’d have to be an eagle to fly over it.
The bar for being a good dad is so fucking low a dachshund couldn’t get under it.
But don’t worry, I’m not a total monster. Yesterday we still celebrated Father’s Day in our house.
I walked the dogs early while Andy had coffee and read or played video games. Just like every other day.
I took Baby D to specialized soccer training while Andy relaxed, as I do every Sunday.
We gave Andy new bourbons to try and a few other gifts, plus his favorite doughnuts and apple fritters. Then I took Baby D and some friends to a pool for the afternoon, followed by pizza and frozen yogurt—handling my kids’ activities and social life like I do every day.
Cuz every day is Father’s Day.