Dads worth celebrating: how to navigate the waters around Father’s Day

Mother’s Day is done and dusted off for another year, which means Father’s Day is on the horizon. This Mother’s Day, I paid closer attention to the complexities that the day can represent for many.

Motherhood is not always the land of milk and honey for women. Some never experience it; others are not very good at it; others, still, are not around to celebrate with their children.

Many of my friends are busy raising small children without the luxury of having their own moms around to give them love, guidance and support. Although many moms wake up to breakfast in bed and crafts galore, others find the day a complicated mix of emotions.

This Mother’s Day, I posted this message on Facebook:

“On this day I mostly think about my friends. My friends who want to be mothers and are not, don’t want to be mothers and face judgment for it, don’t have their mothers, or have been raised by mothers who were not awesome, and those that have lost their children. While some of us get to enjoy this day, it’s painful for many. I get it. XO.”

The number of “likes,” “shares” and comments saying, “THANK YOU,” were off the charts. Clearly, this post spoke to many people.

So as Father’s Day approaches, it got me thinking — is this holiday relevant or does it just end up making people feel sad if they missed out on a positive father experience?

A lot of kids are being raised without fathers; many feel as though their fathers have bailed on them. Some fathers check out physically, others emotionally. Some dads drink away every cent that comes into the home. Others yell and are rough — with the kids and their mothers.

But what about the dads worth celebrating?

Let’s not forget the whole heap of dads who are engaged and loving caregivers to their kids: Dads who work long hours and travel with their jobs in order to provide financially for their families or work second jobs on the weekend so that their child can play hockey or go on a school trip. Dads that are the chief puke picker-uppers and bottom wipers at home.

Other dads are busy raising kids while caring for a sick wife or elderly parents. Some dads make the best cookies on the block; others play with every kid at the park.

I’ve seen dads whose faces light up the moment they’re reunited with their kids. There are also dads who stick out tough relationships and complicated personal lives for the sake of their children. There are the men who don’t get called “Dad” but do the job of one, raising other men’s children with loving guidance.

Some grandpas end up playing dad for a second time when they have to step in for a beloved grandchild. Many dads would fight to the death for their kids.

If you are one of those amazing dads or happen to have one, enjoy your day. Celebrate! Have a sleep-in, watch the football game, have a big ol’ family brunch. And while we’re enjoying the day, let’s not forget to keep those who don’t celebrate in our thoughts. Appreciate and covet what you have.

And work like hell to keep it. 

Julie Cole is a blogger, co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc. and a proud mom of six.

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