Life Relationships Daddy issues: the problem with Father’s Day

Daddy issues: the problem with Father’s Day

The Facebook group is urging fathers to take their children interstate and then accuse the mother of abuse. Photo: Shutterstock
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I have a complaint. About the world in general and the media in particular. Nothing to do with the fact that I’m an Essendon supporter and that this hasn’t been an especially good year. That’s another story for another day. No, it’s to do with the attention paid to My Day of the Year: Fathers’ Day, or Father’s Day if you must. Which is today, September 6, 2015.

I look around on Mother’s Day (sic) and florists have multiplied their orders, restaurants are proudly promoting special menus, there’s a Mother’s Day match at the MCG, “fun-runs” are on the go all around town (now there’s a oxymoron if ever there was one), everybody’s wearing pink ribbons and the newspapers are full of tear-jerking stories about mothers old and young.

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You don’t have to think too hard to guess what happens inside the offices of newspapers and other media organisations during the week leading up to the Big Day. Signs on notice-boards announcing “Mother Stories Wanted: Dead or Alive, Happy or Sad”. Columnistes musing about parenthood. Editors assigning photographers to the hunt for politicians or prominent sportsfolks willing to embrace, or be embraced by, their dear old Mums. Journalists staking out maternity wards in search of mothers-to-be whose schedule makes them a chance to lose the to-be bit on the day.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got nothing against mothers. My mother was one and was wonderful at it. My wife is one too, a phenomenal nurturer who wears the role with pride and joy. Furthermore, I know a lot of women who are extremely adept at being Mums.

In fact, I believe that the world is much better off for having mothers and I’d rather have them running the show than the men who insist on making such a mess of it, over and over again.

My complaint is that, today, there are no exclusive Fathers’ Day menus at restaurants around town. Most of the local florists appear to be closed because of a lack of interest. And nobody’s running around the Tan or anywhere attached to ribbons of any colour, although I will concede that the bike ride for men’s health around the Albert Park lake is a promising sign that some changes might be in the wind.

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Last year, I searched the newspapers for commensurate coverage about fathers, and all I came across were two very short pieces – one advising me to think about what I could do in the future with my sperm, the other musing about inherited football allegiances – and a feature about how it’s time for men to “man up” and help out more at home.

There were also a few token photos of Dads looking dopey alongside their more vibrant offspring.

And, over the past week, it seems that everywhere I’ve looked there’ve been ads for “electric drills for Father’s Day” (sic). For the record, I’ve never used one, I wouldn’t know how to and I have no wish to learn. Nor would I respond favourably to a power saw.

Ditto another garden hose from Mitre 10. And I already have enough socks to last me a lifetime, thank you very much.

Still, I suppose I should be thankful for small mercies: at least we’ve moved on from the time when a comedian could quip that “fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope”, and everybody would understand exactly what he was talking about.


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