5 Things Solo Moms Think on Father's Day

The stores are filling up with decorations to celebrate “dads and grads” and the tools for grilling are taking up space in the front. The pink of a few weeks ago is completely gone. All of it is a sign that Father’s Day is around the corner.

Which is great. I hope all the fathers out there get the celebration they deserve.

But for some of us, specifically the solo moms among us, Father’s Day doesn’t feel like a day to celebrate. It feels like a 24-hour reminder of how big of a job we’re doing on our own. It feels like a day when our solo-ness is a flashing arrow pointed directly at that empty chair at the dinner table.

Many of us solo moms just want to get the day over with, hopefully with as little emotional injury to our kids as possible. Some of us would be happy skipping the day altogether. But all of us deserve the chance to be seen. And heard. And definitely supported.

Supporting a solo mom on Father’s Day is understanding what she may be thinking, and why she’s thinking it. If you have a solo mom in your life who you’d like to support, here’s a short list of what may be weighing on her mind this Father’s Day.

How Are The Kids Doing?

The very first thought a solo mom has on Father’s Day is to worry about the kids. She wakes up and wonders how she can protect their hearts today, what activity can she do to keep their minds busy so they don’t have to confront the truth of their dad’s absence for an entire 24 hours.

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Of course, kids know whether their dad is present or not, especially older kids. But most days, living in a solo mom household is just something that is; not something that defines their days. Father’s Day is different. Father’s Day highlights that absence, and all a solo mom wants is to shield her kids from the grief, protect them from the heartache. We can’t, not completely. But we can do our best to cushion the sharpest corners.

Does Everyone Have To Post On Social Media?

In the stolen moments when we’re not worrying about the kids and we accidentally open social media and see posts shouting out all the dads, there may be a short (or prolonged) bit of hate-scrolling.

I promise, it’s not personal. It’s not because we don’t want other families to enjoy the day, or that we begrudge dads the chance to celebrate; it’s simply a reaction, a filter to help process our own grief in the moments we’re not helping the kids with theirs.

Thank You To The Men Who’ve Stepped Up

Along with the touch of pettiness that comes from a quick hate-scroll, most solo moms will also be hit with a fair amount of gratitude toward the men in their lives who have stepped up — their own fathers or brothers, uncles or cousins, new friends or long-time buddies.

The reality is that it does take a village. No one — not even the most have-it-all-together solo mom in the world — can do it all alone all the time. Father’s Day is a day when we are happy to celebrate the dads and non-dads in our lives who’ve stepped up to be in our village.

Please Don’t Wish Me A Happy Father’s Day

Along the lines of Father’s Day wishes — posted to social media or not — chances are the solo mom in your life may cringe if you wish her a Happy Father’s Day. The sentiment makes sense; the gesture is certainly appreciated, as is the attempt to acknowledge that solo moms are doing a two-person job all on our own. But we’re not our children’s fathers, and we’re not trying to be.

Solo moms do their best to ensure that their children get the full, robust childhood they deserve, but they aren’t doing that by being mom and dad. We’re doing that by being the best mom we can be. And that’s enough.

Yes, I Can Do This — Even On The Days It Looks Like I Can’t

At some point during the day, whether it’s when looking out for those sharp corners or hate scrolling or reflecting right before bed, a solo mom is going to look at what she’s done, look at all she’s managed as “just” a solo mom, and she’s probably going to pat herself on the back.

As hard as Father’s Day is, it undoubtedly also comes with a moment of clarity about exactly how incredible it is that we’re doing what we’re doing. That no matter how messy it may look and no matter how many things may fall through on the cracks on any given day, we are managing to raise kids who are loved and know they are loved. We’ll think: we can do this, even on the days when it feels like we can’t.

No Two Solo Moms Are Created Equal

It’s important to keep in mind, also, that no two solo moms are exactly the same. There are no doubt some moms out there who love being wished a Happy Father’s Day, or who had a different relationship with their children’s father and aren’t missing the life they thought they’d be living.

The point isn’t to lump solo moms into one big category, but to acknowledge that this parenting gig is hard — and it’s extra hard to do it alone. So days like Father’s Day can often make solo moms feel a little extra invisible, or a little more misunderstood than usual.

And for most of us, we just want to feel a little seen, a little heard, and definitely a little less alone. Especially on the hard days.

These celebrity moms talk about raising their kids on their own.

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