Monday, June 20, 2016

Father's Day guilt mongers...

Okay, so now I am inspired to write a rant.  I just posted this on Facebook.

Normally, I wouldn't post something like this, but since it's my birthday, I'm gonna do it. Let me go on record to say that I'm really glad Father's Day is over. It's always a hard day for Bill and me. At the very least, maybe today we'll get a break from the posts shaming the fathers who "weren't there for their kids". Sometimes dads really want to be "there" and can't.

I think it's fine to wish good dads a Happy Father's Day. I just wish sometimes people would take a minute to think about it. Is there any reason why you have to use Father's Day to post a meme about "deadbeat dads" or "absentee dads"? A truly irresponsible or deadbeat dad isn't going to care about your meme. A guy like my husband, who really wanted to be an involved father and wasn't allowed to, will just end up feeling really shitty. Father's Day is supposed to be about celebrating the good dads, not shaming the bad ones. The bad ones won't notice your shaming, anyway.

I wanted more than anything to be able to give Bill another chance to be a real dad. It didn't happen for us and now that I'm 44, the ship has sailed. We have a really good life and he's the best husband I could have ever hoped for. That doesn't mean that he doesn't still cry on Father's Day.

Off my soapbox, now. I think I'll go spike my second cup of coffee with Bailey's.


I was inspired to post that because of several things I saw on Facebook yesterday.  Here are just a few examples.

Happy Father's Day to all the real fathers. The ones who do raise their children. The ones who are their for their kids. The ones like my father.



Those who have read my blog for awhile may know that I've already posted about this topic in the past with other, similar examples of "dad shaming".  While I don't like to see that on any day, it's especially shitty to see it on Father's Day.  Because the fact of the matter is, there really are a lot of dads out there who aren't allowed to be with their kids through no real fault of their own.  Besides, the day is supposed to be "happy".  It's about celebrating good dads, isn't it?  So why trot out your shitty dad memes on Father's Day when you have 364 other days of the year to do it?

My own father was "there" for me.  He and my mom were married for 56 years.  By the time I came along, he was at the end of his Air Force career, so he retired when I was still very young.  Then, when I was eight, he opened his own business and worked out of our home.  He was a good provider and basically a good man, but he was also an abusive alcoholic.  Yes, he raised me, but he also hurt me.  He was a "real dad", but he did a lot of damage that I still struggle with as an adult.  I still love him, though, and appreciate what he did do for me.  He tried his best.  I kind of wonder if my dad ever thought of me as a Father's Day gift, since I was born around Father's Day 1972.

I didn't post a lot of stuff about my dad yesterday because we're coming up on the second anniversary of his death.  And, well, there's just a lot of baggage there that I'd rather not have to unload.  In between our trip to the farmer's market and my freaking out over Zane's unexplained drooling, I watched Bill tear up as he talked about the kids he used to see every day and loved taking care of.  Father's Day is usually painful for both of us.    

Bill is truly one of the kindest, gentlest, most wonderful men I have ever known.  He has two daughters who would probably post a shitty Facebook status about him, mainly because they think he abandoned them.  He never had any intention of abandoning them.  He divorced their mother at her request, then found himself ostracized and then replaced by another man.  When Ex tires of her current victim, her youngest two kids will probably be encouraged to replace their dad with another person.  That's how Bill's ex wife operates.  She did it to her first ex husband.  She did it to Bill.  And she will likely try to do it again if she divorces.  Her third husband will probably try to stay involved as Bill and Ex's first husband did.  He'll probably fail.

I totally get why people post snarky memes.  I'm no stranger to snark myself.  It just struck me yesterday after seeing all the heartfelt Father's Day posts interspersed with shaming ones that this might be something people don't think about.  Our culture really loves to slam men.  We're surprised when fathers turn out to be "good" and "available", when most men probably are decent and kind and capable of loving.  That's why people post Facebook tributes to so-called "real dads".  

I never see people posting snarky memes about bad mothers on Mother's Day.  I think it's because when it comes to parenting, women are automatically assumed to be better than men.  We put moms on a pedestal and assume that they're all good, even when they turn out to be horrible people.  

Last week, I posted about Connie Foster, the Huntsville, Alabama mom who killed herself and her kids in the midst of a custody dispute.  It occurs to me that this past Father's Day must have been absolutely unbearable for her ex husband, David House.  I did see a lot of people posting angry comments about what she did, but a lot of people were surprisingly empathetic.  Had she been a father who killed himself and his kids, I doubt many people would have had the slightest shred of empathy.  I wonder how many people even spared a thought for David House, who was a good father by most accounts I've seen.  How many people thought about him spending Father's Day alone this year?  How much guilt does he have that he wasn't able to protect those kids from their mother?  How many dads have kids out there that they can't see due to parental alienation?  How many wish they could protect their kids from a mother who ostracizes, alienates, and triangulates?    

It's true that there are a lot of terrible fathers out there.  There are also a lot of bad mothers.  Why do people feel like they need to use a day intended for celebrating good parenting as an opportunity to shame the shitty parents?  The ones who are really bad seriously aren't going to care about a silly meme.  The good ones who were denied the chance to be the parent they wanted to be will only be reminded of what they lost.  Either way, it's pointless and potentially very hurtful.  

   


2 comments:

  1. Talking about David House and this being his first Father's Day without his sweet kids. It broke my heart when I was taking my girls to get their dad a card.

    So we also went to the Hallmark store and bought a card for David. It is a fathers day card for dads who have lost their child(ren). I also bought the willow tree figurine called brother and sister. This figurine reminded me of Layla and little David.

    I live 2 streets from David. So I let neighbors know that I had this card. I placed it on a table along with a note pad for neighbors to stop by and sign it. The note pad was there so they could write him a note.

    My daughter and Layla have been friends since they started Kindergarten together. This death has broken her heart. This is the 2nd time these kids have lost a classmate at the hands of a parent. The 1st time was when these kids where in 1st grade. You can look that case up. The father that killed his wife and son is Stephen Marc Stone. Here we are 3 1/2 years later and he still hasn't been tried for his crime.

    Now back to David, the day before Fathers day we took the card and figurine to him. He was so thankful that he was thought of during this time. He had tears in his eyes when he read the card and saw the figurine. He said it was perfect. He showed me a picture of the kids he took and it was almost the same pose as the figurine.

    Connie was my friend, but a friend would reach out for help. I don't like to use the word hate because it is such a strong word. But I truly HATE her for what she did to those kids. I could never do something like that. I fought a 10 year custody battle with my ex. Our case was in California and I live in Alabama. No matter how bad it got, I never thought about taking my childs life or mine.

    David was a great dad and Connie had no right to do what she did. What gave her the right to play judge, jury and executioner. I was raise to believe that an act like this gives you a one way ticket to hell. I believe that is where she is today.

    She and the kids had separate funerals and the kids are not buried next to her at the local cemetery.

    I will always miss Layla and little David. I am learning a new normal as we move through this sad time in our life.

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    Replies
    1. Wow... I am so very sorry for your loss, southernmom. It was so good of you to remember David on Father's Day. I can't even imagine how hard it is for him right now, especially since so many people automatically have suspicions about fathers when something like this happens. Had the situation been reversed and David was the one who did the killing, many people would be thinking of Connie and sympathizing with her. Somehow, I doubt David is getting the same support a grieving mother would in this situation.

      I'm sorry your kids have been through losing their friends in this way. It must be very tough on them. Layla and little David were beautiful kids and totally innocent in this situation. It's just heartbreaking that they were victimized by their mother.

      Thanks so much for commenting.

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