Father’s Day tortures childless men

Sunday was Father’s Day. We tend to kind of forget about it, getting all obsessed about Mother’s Day and then a month later, oh yeah, we have to send Dad a card. Right? There’s a lot more hoop-tee-doo about Mother’s Day. Remember all those commercials? All those people wanting to wish you Happy Mother’s Day when you’re not a mother, so it just makes you feel worse? The gatherings where everybody has kids but you? It’s brutal. But as Tony, a frequent commenter here, reminded me on Sunday, it’s just as bad for the men.

Tony and I had a brief e-conversation on Sunday as he tried to survive church. People kept wishing him Happy Father’s Day, and he felt like “chopped liver.” His stepchildren sent their obligatory wishes, but it didn’t ease the emptiness of not having kids of his own. I reminded him that in less than 24 hours Father’s Day would be over and life would return to normal. He gritted his teeth and got through it.

At my church, we had a visiting priest who had just been ordained. He threw out an offhand “Happy Father’s Day,” and that was it. No making the dads stand for special blessings like our regular priest did for moms on Mother’s Day. Maybe the fathers felt ripped off, but I was relieved. Afterward I went to lunch with a friend and didn’t realize at first why the restaurant was packed. Of course. People taking their fathers out to brunch. And the servers assuming any man over 30 was a father.

I told Tony it would all be over in less than 24 hours. Technically, it was. But when I opened up Facebook on Monday, it was loaded with pictures of fathers and posts about Father’s Day celebrations. Among them were pictures of first-time fathers and grandfathers, including my nephew, my brother and my cousin. It was all very nice, but I had to stop looking. All that happy family business was too much. Let’s get back to dog pictures and trashing the presidential candidates.

Next year, I recommend running away. Go fishing, take a hike, see a movie. And do not look at Facebook until at least Tuesday.

Tony’s a little concerned that we don’t hear from many guys here. Men, if you’re out there, tell us how you deal with Father’s Day.

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7 thoughts on “Father’s Day tortures childless men

  1. I have to admit I admire Tony for showing up to church…. I stopped going to church on Mother’s Day 27 years ago. I figured if God wanted me to be in church on Mother’s Day, then he could make me a mother. Both these days are good days to just stay home. My dad has since passed, so it’s just another day. I don’t do anything for my husband that day… I Don’t even acknowledge it. I figure just like with God… If my husband wanted something from me for Father’s Day…. He could make me a mother. Still resentful?? Yep, just a wee bit still… 🙂

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    • Candy,

      I’m not going to attend church on Father’s Day anymore. See all the you families on that day is more than I can take. I guess until I leave for my younger gf and have my own little family I’ll feel this way.

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  2. Candy, if you don’t mind my asking, how long have you been with your husband? I’m just wondering if I should be prepared/prepare my husband to have me be resentful about this forever. And I’m actually really grateful that you used the word “resentful;” I had stopped going to counseling, but I’ve gotten back to being so upset, and she said last week (and had said in the past) that she is worried about me being resentful of my husband. So, I guess you might be a beacon of hope for being in a happy-yet-resentful marriage?

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    • My husband and I have actually been married 32 years!! Although the resentment will always be there, I’ve learned to keep it under control and not allow it to consume my life. If I had left my husband years ago when my resentment was running wild, I would have missed out on an amazing marriage and countless wonderful memories. I had to weigh all the options. I had to ask myself if walking away from my marriage vows and a man who truly loved me was worth the great unknown. There was no guarantee that I would find another man, there was no guarantee that I could even get pregnant… What if I had fertility problems and didn’t know it?? What if I did have a baby and they were extremely handicapped? I could go on and on….. So, all the unknowns made me decide to stay. Do I have regrets?? Sometimes….. Would I change my life if I could?? Maybe. But today I have a husband that loves me and for that I am very grateful. It’s a tough decision to make…. I sure wouldn’t want to have to make it again. No one has a perfect life… Even if they have kids, so I try and just focus on all that I have to be grateful for. I wish you the best in making your decision.

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  3. Just discovered this blog. So late to the party.

    Father’s Day doesn’t really bother me. But then, I grew up without a father (he died when I was 3 and my brother was a newborn), so I long ago shoved the day aside. It was a lot more difficult to be a kid without a dad who was forced to make a Father’s Day card for his grandfather (who we lived with and who did help to take care of us) than to be an adult coping with the day from a different direction. Honestly, since my family makes a bigger deal of Mother’s Day, I feel worse for my wife – not able to have kids and still missing her mom – then I feel for myself on Father’s Day.

    But thank you for asking. Really. In the years since my wife and I stopped trying to have kids, in the years since the miscarriage, I have struggled mightily with being childless and male, and have found that men just aren’t supposed to talk about it. That someone out there asked “how are you doing?” helps. It might not cure the blues I get sometimes, but it’s good to know that my wife and I are not entirely alone.

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