The modern family calls for a Fatherless Father's Day more often than one might think. There is no one anatomy of what a family is supposed to be and that's what makes each and every family unique and beautiful. For this Father's Day, I wanted to highlight the Fatherless Families that aren't always talked about, and give tips and tricks for the families out there that are whole without a dad.
1. Celebrating Your Donor
Some families are completed with just one parent! Families that were created with a single mom and a donor, or potentially a surrogate and a donor, might have a different way of celebrating Father's Day than the traditional way.
Before the ages of 3 or 4, kids aren't really picking up on much. They might understand that they have one mom, while some families have two moms or some have two dads. However, as they get older, they start to ask questions like "What's it like to have a dad?" or "But who is my donor?", and there's definitely no playbook on how every family should or shouldn't handle these questions.
Some families choose to celebrate their donor on Father's Day! Whether that means physically with the donor, or maybe just in spirit if their donor isn't someone your child knows. One way to do this is to write a letter to your sperm donor! Some families like to keep these letters throughout the years, so if their child does end up meeting their sperm donor one day, they can easily express their feelings and emotions. Some families use this letter as more of a spiritual expression of gratitude towards the donor without the intention of the donor ever reading or knowing about the letters.
If you don't want Father's Day surrounded by the thought of your donor, maybe it can be a day to express gratitude for your family just in general!
2. "Happy Father's Day, Mom"
Some mom's take on what society has normalized as both "Mom roles" and "Dad roles". These moms show up to the school's Donuts with Dad morning event with a huge smile on their faces! Some families like to highlight their mom(s) on both Mother's Day and Father's Day.
If this rings true for your family, maybe purchasing an inclusive Father's Day card like this one is your best bet!
3. Speaking to the Schools
Now this tip isn't limited to just "fatherless" families. Any one who prioritizes inclusivity can speak to their local school district to learn what policies and protocols are taken to host a more inclusive environment for children of all types of families.
This can include asking the following questions:
- If a child doesn't have a father, what options do you give them to modify a Father's Day gift made during class?
- Would you consider referring to the children's care takers as "grown-up" rather than "mom and dad". For example: "Make sure to have your grown-up sign your permission slip tonight". This way children with two moms, grandparents, guardians are all included in these statements.
- What steps are made during orientation, open-house, parent/teacher conferences to learn about each student's family dynamic at the very beginning of the year?
4. Simply Skipping
As I mentioned earlier, some moms love taking on the "roles of both mom and dad", and other moms want to be considered a mom and that's it. Some families have two moms, so they just double-up on Mother's Day and skip Father's Day all together. Which totally works for some families and might not work for others. If you're reading this and have a "fatherless family" in your life, maybe reach out and ask the mom(s) how they best prefer to approach Father's Day and definitely respect their perspective whether they decide to acknowledge Father's Day or not.
If your family chooses to double up on Mother's day maybe try incorporating AM and PM shifts for Mother's Day! Morning is dedicated to honoring one mom and evening is committed to celebrating the other- and maybe the next year switch it up! This way both moms feel special separately and together.
5. Honor Male Figures
Whether you're a two-mom-household or a single mom, there might be a male figure in your children's life that they want to honor this Father's Day. If you are also comfortable with this male figure being recognized on Father's Day, shoot them a call or a text and ask how they feel about having lunch or going to the park on Father's Day. Not only do you want you and your child(ren) to be comfortable honoring this male figure on Father's Day, but you want to make sure he is too!
Once you've got the greenlight on celebrating the day together, maybe a card like this one is perfect!
If you take anything away from this blog I hope that we as a collective society start adopting different viewpoints on what a family looks like. The modern family has been in existence for as long as families have existed. It's time we start honoring and representing them all. Every family and every child deserves to be represented!