On Mother’s Day, I promised I would do a post for Father’s Day. I try hard to keep my promises.
Parenting is hard. Any parent knows this. Any child who grows up to one day be a parent, realizes this. Mothers and fathers share hardships, but they also have hardship unique to their stations, in life, as a mother or a father.
Fatherhood is hard. Fatherhood is hard, because inherently, especially in the US, being male can be hard. The expectations placed on males to be a “man” in this society can work against what it takes to be a good father.
Parenting in general requires the right balance of sternness and gentility, and I can tell you from experience that that is a hard tight rope to cross. But the “stigma” of being a man in America says you should be hard, tough, take no one’s shit, and let nothing get to you, ever. I know that many are working to change this, but that sentiment is sadly woven into the fabric of this country.
To me, it seems hard to be a loving, nurturing father and be a hard as nails “man” at the same time. This stigma of what a man should be relates directly to how boys are treated, as they are raised. Girls are treated delicately, little princesses to be catered to, but boys, they are supposed to take a licking and keep on ticking, no matter what. No matter what the licking is; whether, emotional, social, physical, mental. Damn man, that’s too much to ask of anyone. Men are not supposed to be vulnerable; they’re not supposed to feel pain, it’s viewed as weakness, softness, feminine. All that is bullshit.
I hope to have a son one day, so that my mate and I can raise him differently. So that he can decide what kind of man he will be, and thus, what kind of father he will be, if he ever decides to be one.
My time with my own father was brief. My parents divorced when I was young and he died not too many years later. My memories are few; many good, most not so good. If he had not had to deal with the struggles of being a “man”, as defined by society, maybe things would have been different.
Fathers’ are humans, just like mothers. But they do not get heavily doted on, or get the cute crafts for father’s day. And deep down, in their heart of hearts, most fathers’ would absolutely love them. I know my mate does.
Fatherhood is hard. It requires a firm hand and a soft touch. Unfortunately, many boys who become men, fully receive the firm hand but never the soft touch and therefore, they never master it. I ask that for all those who read this, for all those who are able to reach out and embrace their own fathers, give them that soft touch and I believe that you will receive it in return.
Happy Father’s Day everyone.