With Mother's Day approaching, I feel compelled to speak up for the underappreciated dads of the world. Mother's Day is as big as the Super Bowl. So, why is Father's Day more like a junior high scrimmage?
Don't get me wrong. I've got no beef with Mother's Day. Being a mom is a tough job. Mothers deserve their "Hallmark holiday" replete with a mandatory family brunch, where the price of admission is a non-Cubic Zirconia bauble or a fragrant bouquet of red long-stemmed roses. We ignore mom's big day at our peril. After all, we have to make sure our mom has bragging rights when she and her girlfriends compare notes. Still, I question why moms have been elevated to a status just below sainthood.
Compare this to Father's Day. Dads didn't even get their own day until 1972, some 58 years after Mother's Day was enshrined. What's the most noteworthy stat about Father's Day? Historically, it's been the busiest day of the year for collect calls. Technologically updated, the cell satellites will be overwhelmed by three-word texts sent to dads from smartphone accounts paid for by them.
If you forget Father's Day entirely -- no worries. Your chances of a reprimand are low. Those of us who take to time to shop for a pair of socks or a garish tie feel we've gone above and beyond. If dad's day is commemorated with a dinner, chances are he's paying. Luckily, men don't compare notes about their Father's Day with their golf buddies.
I offer my opinion that dads are getting short shrift from my unbiased position as a daughter who is not a mother. As a boomer, I've seen dads take on more and more responsibilities over time. In the "Father Knows Best" era, role expectations were clear. Dad's job was to bring home the bacon, while mom was tasked with raising two well-adjusted, adorable children. With the advent of The Feminine Mystique, traditional marital roles were upended. Mom was free to enter the workplace, while dad was expected to continue to work hard, but also to take on his fair share of parenting and domestic chores. While some women thrived in the workplace while juggling family responsibilities, I saw many women dabble as lawyers, only to give it up after a year or two, once they realized that practicing law was stressful and often tedious. Men don't enjoy the luxury of quitting when they're no longer having fun.
In my 23 years of lawyering, I observed my male colleagues put in their 80-hour workweeks while trying to meet their wives' unrealistic expectations that they be home in time for dinner every night. Many a dad felt obliged to sneak away mid-afternoon on Friday to fulfill his obligations as soccer team coach. If little Susie landed the coveted role of lead elf in the school play, dad was front and center in the audience cheering her on, even if he had to sprint from a meeting to be there on time.
At an average cost of $300,000 per child, supporting kids is a very expensive proposition. And that doesn't even include the cost of college. Dads still bear the brunt of this monetary outlay. My dad struggled valiantly to support five kids. I watched him expertly manage payments on two dozen credit cards and write post-dated checks to cover the bills.
It's time that dads got their due. How about a website, www.DadsAreGreatToo.com, where people can brag about what they did to make their dads feel special on Father's Day? Anyone willing to write the first post?