With Father's Day coming up June 18th, I've started thinking about what it really means. With families coming in so many flavours and combinations (LGBT families, surrogacy, single parents, adoptive parents) are these labels of Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day) outdated?
What does it really mean?
You can read all about the interesting history of the holiday here, but, like Mother’s Day, it's an attempt to select a day to honour parents and all the work they do.
I remember when I was about 5 proudly giving my dad a construction paper necktie I made in school. He was perplexed. He was an immigrant who grew up in a country where there was no Father’s Day. And he didn't wear a tie to work (he was a blue-collar worker). My mom was easier, she loved crafts and flowers and breakfast in bed and all the Mother’s Day things.
Families are so different today. On my street alone, we have a family with two moms and two dads (joint parenting), a single mom who adopted a baby, a woman whose babies were carried by a surrogate, and children being raised by grandparents (since the mom and dad are not in the picture). What does Father’s Day mean to them?
As Doula's one of the things we learned in training is to use the term "partner" - since it's gender neutral and more inclusive than "father" or "husband". So, should it be "Partner's day"?
Perhaps the simplest solution of all is to treat these holidays as what they are with a personalized twist: a way to honour the important people in our lives, the people that support us, care for us, and that we support and care for.
Because really, no matter what our family looks like, isn't it about love and appreciation?
What does Father’s Day mean to you? Comment below!