I am. Not. A Father.

Its Father’s Day this coming Sunday, a day I love and hate in equal proportion. I love it because I come from a home of amazing fathers, grandfathers, and uncles, the men I grew up around took the role of father extremely seriously and those that remain, continue to do so to the absolute best of their ability – I always have been and I remain daddy’s little girl!

I can be anything and everything to my children, but I will never be a father. I quite dislike the notion that a single mother must be both a mother and a father, all of the NO’s, nope – a mother should be just that, a mother. I believe that I will give 200% as a mother, but I will not try to be something I am not. I will also not be part of the “Happy Father’s Day to all the single moms” collective, let’s allow the men that are active participants in the lives of their own children, nieces, and nephews to enjoy their day, it is only fair.

Two weekends ago I woke up to a mom on Twitter noting that her daughter had not seen her father in months and the man did not seem to be bothered. Many other women joined in on the conversation, myself included. The most painful part of the conversation was the relatability. Too many young women relate to their children being disappointed by their fathers, the guys simply don’t show up for their own children, and the tears, questions, and hurt is left with the mother to deal with and help the child to navigate.

Children are incredibly smart, they’re also very aware and at some point, they’ll be old enough to understand and will seek answers. They’re also innocent in their questions – they simply want to know. So when the school invites fathers for Father’s Day breakfast, he comes along and he asks “Mama can we please call papa and invite him?” – every year my heart literally drops to the pit of my tummy and all I can say “he’s busy that day my boy” – that’s the part of Father’s day I loathe with every fibre of my being because this child is unable to celebrate with other children or even feel the same sense of joy and gratitude I feel towards the men that continue to actively play a fatherly role in my life.

I’m then left with a series of emotions, my heart breaks for my child and then I’m angry at this human breaking my child’s heart, then I have to move on because reality remains, there’s nothing I can do – I cannot control a grown man, all I can be is a mom and continue to try my absolute best to give the children as much love as I can.

I wonder though, are daddy issues really real, or is it a default setting for ill-behaved children with no fathers? I also wonder, will the children really be ok without fathers in the home or in their lives – to what extent do I as a mother perpetuate the scourge of absent fatherhood? Surely I’d die if my son grew up and abdicated his parental responsibility one day, but then again he’d have the first-hand experience that children will continue to grow and possibly thrive with or without an active father…

I also quite enjoyed the article ‘The Step-Generation’ by Mxolisi Tshabalala on step parenting, gentlemen are rising to the task of stepping in to help us mothers raise our children, but my biggest fear (reality actually) is should that relationship end, is he going to remain in the child’s life? For the one, two, three years he’s in a child’s life and takes on that fatherly role in the child’s life, what then happens when he’s gone? Do we still invite him to Father’s Day breakfast or dad/child days? Shuuuu.

For the foreseeable future, my children will need to understand that I am not a mother and a father and with the greatest kindness and understanding, for now, mom is what you’ve got kid – mom will come to Mother’s Day breakfast, but we’ll skip the Father’s Day one. To all the active participants in children’s lives, a very happy Father’s Day – you are awesome!

 

  • Lucy Pearl
    13th Jun 2017

    Well written Palesa.. It makes me sad to know that there are some men who choose to not be involved. Children are very intuitive and can sense, pick up more than we give them credit for.. I cannot relate to this as my ex is fully involved, however, I have seen the look on my son’s face when papa cannot attend a certain function or be there sometimes when he promised.. so I shudder to imagine how it feels for a kid who hasn’t been given that chance. You love your kids and although we haven’t met personally I can feel it as it comes through in your writing. . Keep on raising them well and loving them as you do.. I’m sure your love is more than enough to sustain them ..

    • Palesa Motau
      14th Jun 2017

      I appreciate you my heart.
      It’s incredibly shocking that men do this, and what I have always found even more shocking is that it is men who are from homes with present fathers. It’s something I cannot get used to.

  • Thapelo
    15th Jun 2017

    Good read! Thank you Palesa…

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