Father’s Day vs. Mother’s Day

A Battle of the Parent

It’s two days to Father's Day. While many fathers around the world will be celebrated for their sacrifices and the love they gave to their children, there are even more fathers, particularly in Jamaica, who will not be a part of the global celebration. While we cannot make a sweeping generalisation on the matter, it is a global consensus that children do put more effort into Mother’s Day than Father’s Day.

 

From social media filters and newspaper spreads to lavish shopping sprees and meticulously executed brunches and dinners, people seem to go the extra mile on Mother’s Day. The celebration for dads however have never been able to measure up. The obvious question then is, why is this the case?

 

Barring the traditional pair of sock or multicoloured tie, children generally spend more on Mother’s Day gifts than Father’s Day gifts. According to the United States’ National Retail Federation (NRF), the average amount spent on gifts per dad this weekend is expected to be $135, a third less than the average $186 per mother spent on Mother’s Day last month.

There are a number of reasons put forward by psychologists to explain this but the simple fact is, a lot, maybe too many Jamaicans were raised by single mothers. According to The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), about 45 percent of all Jamaican households are female-headed. Female-headed households are larger than the national average, and larger than those headed by males.

 

UNICEF's 2000 Situation Assessment and Analysis of Jamaican Children and their Families found that most Jamaican children are born while their parents are in a common-law or "visiting" relationship, but nearly half of these relationships end by the time the child is five or six years old. When this happens, it is found that majority of the children remain with their mothers as opposed to moving in with their fathers.

Against this background, it is understandable when children go “all out” to celebrate their mothers and exert a lot less effort for their fathers. While not necessarily a position to attain to, many Jamaican women end up as single mothers, left to raise their children without the constant support of a father. Another reality is that many Jamaican fathers equate supporting their children to merely providing for them financially and there are many who just do not show up at all. Motherhood however, is more aligned to nurturing and handling the daily ups and downs, successes and disappointments associated with raising a child.

It doesn’t help the argument either, that Jamaican mothers are always the first to remind you of the nine months of pregnancy and 17 hours of labour it took to give you life. With all this in mind, there is a general feeling that mothers simply deserve more. But, there are still very good fathers in Jamaica who deserve to be celebrated for their years of sacrifice, love and protection.

 

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