It came and it went and I didn't whisper a word about National Single Parents Day. Long before March 21st, press releases piled up in my inbox with stats and facts on single parenting in America, which cities are best for us, how many of our kids will be incarcerated or attempt suicide, which products we need to honor ourselves, books and videos by us about rising up from the ashes. I ignored it all.
Until I read a post by a single dad I know, mostly through Facebook, about how far he's come in the last three years. Counting back March by March, he recalled a man who was sleeping on an air mattress in a friend's basement, overwhelmed by attorney's fees, feeling disconnected and unsure about everything. His life looks a lot different today, he wrote, and he's filled it with a girlfriend he recently got engaged to, lots more time with his children in his own home, and much more hope about each day and transition. That's the National Single Parents Day information that stopped me in my tracks.
The other press was just words, plays for links and promotion and sales, and none of it has anything to do with the realities of living as a single parent on this day, in the way each of us do.
I didn't want to waste energy and attention on a fatherhood rights organization's doomsday numbers on the detriments and "risks" to our kids if we parent them without a dad.
I wasn't interested in spending money on essential oils or engraved bracelets that speak someone else's messages of inspiration.
And frankly, I was too busy to open another book or click on another video of a single mom experience when my own was screaming at me to make mac and cheese before rushing off to take a kid to Tae Kwon Do, then hunt through the piles on my desk to dig up the tax paperwork, maybe take a bath, catch up on deadlines, empty the dishwasher and remind my son to take out the trash.
I bet the same rang true for my Facebook friend, who saw the National Single Parents Day propaganda and didn't think about a purchase or promotion, but instead took pause to think about how far he'd come from a borrowed air mattress and his lawyer's retainer. I guess I wanted to ignore the noise because, if I did mark the moment, I'd do it by considering where I'd come in all these years.
I'd like a brand to produce a commercial that reminds the world that the 25 million children of single parents are just as loved as other kids. I'd like Hallmark to carry cards that gush over a one-mom show or a parent's boyfriend or girlfriend. I'd like fewer stigmas and eye rolls and tension for the daily navigations single mothers make. And I'd like women to earn a fair and equal amount to their male counterparts so that poverty would not plague so many one-parent households. That's all asking a lot, I know. But they are real, tangible, critical things single parents need to thrive, and maybe even celebrate.
I didn't celebrate National Single Parents Day because I was too fixed in living in. And I bet the same holds true for you.
Did you acknowledge the day in your own way? Tell us if National Single Parents Day applies to you.
Feel like you need to honor the day? Check out this video and awesomeness-boosting assignment I created a few short single parenting years ago.