A few weeks before Father’s Day the Mirror picked up a post by married* mommyblogger Constance Hall: Mum’s heartfelt post reveals 7 ‘facts’ about single mothers which people keep getting wrong. Hall closes with:
7. They don’t want your husbands
They didn’t spend all this time getting rid of theirs and supporting their kids and working their arses off to have to wake up next to your farting, snoring, horny delight. He is all yours.
Hall is basing her argument on something the women reading understand from observing reality; single mothers (as a group) deliberately ejected the father of their children from the home. She then uses this well known fact to try to deny the risk that married women intuitively understand, that such women are on the prowl for a replacement man. The problem of course is not her assertion that single mothers (as a group) ejected the father from the home, but her claim that this indicates the woman is “done with men”. Such women aren’t done with men, they are merely in between steps on the path of serial monogamy. Having it all means sticking the landing.
But while everyone knows single motherhood is caused by mothers ejecting the father from the home, everyone also knows that broken homes are caused by fathers running out on their families. This brings us from the pre Father’s Day defense of single mothers at the Mirror to the Father’s Day Op Ed piece by Rich Cohen at the LA Times**:
With the adoption of no-fault laws, the U.S. divorce rate doubled between 1967 and 1985. In my junior high school years, every father and every mother were fighting in every kitchen. Every road trip was tense. Every kid was being raised by a single parent. No one could go out on Saturday because it was “my father’s weekend,” which meant an awkward stay with the old man and new girlfriend in an apartment downtown — apartments that always smelled like fresh paint.
…[Mick Jagger] personified that greater tide of coupling and uncoupling and begetting and going away. Mick was not my father — he was our father. He stood for all the wayward fathers, all those randy middle-aged men living in a crash pad on Grand Street; for all those who refused to behave like adults or function as parents.
Does Mick Jagger, who, as a great-grandfather, will be celebrated by three generations of descendants, deserve William Jackson Smart’s special day? What about all those other boomer dads who took off because they fell out of love? (“Hey man, it happens.”) How do you honor fathers who refused to behave like fathers? Do they merit the gift cards, the neckties and spice racks made in shop class?
See Also: Fatherless Doublethink.
*Hall’s post is a simultaneous defense of destructive behavior and a subtle reminder to single mothers that as a married mother she outranks them.