Feminique

Fathers’ Day: Dads as uncelebrated breadwinners

In different parts of the world, people celebrate Fathers’ Day on different dates, but the International Day for Father’ Day is June 16. A father is a person who provides for his family and tries his best to help his children to find a path of becoming persons. Fathers have been described as providers, protectors and heroes.

Fathers’ Day is marked by celebrating and honouring fatherhood, paternal bonds and the influence of fathers in the society. Fathers are the pillars of households and most often than not, the breadwinners in every nuclear family. However, so many Nigerian fathers have argued and still maintain that they are unappreciated and with no value placed on them.

Indeed, part of the argument is that Mothers’ Day is celebrated more than once, and the noise that follows it, is usually deafening, unlike Fathers’ Day. But is this the truth? Commenting an undergraduate of the Abia State University, Mr. Hilary Alozie, said: “Our society pays more attention to mothers and celebrate them more than fathers. A typical example is the drama on social media platforms, especially Facebook during Mothers’ Day. On Mother’s day, you’ll notice that almost everyone celebrates their mothers.

People will post their mothers’ pictures and compile write ups in praises of their mothers, highlight all she had been doing or had done for them. In fact, worthy of note is the fact that even husbands celebrate their wives on those Mothers’ Days. And yet men are the providers and protectors in homes.”

A mother of two, Mrs. Rukayat Adeola, who is also a trader, however, countered that such drama as painted by Alozie will continue because some fathers are simply irresponsible. She said: “Fathers’ Day is for responsible men! Men, who cater for their families and take up their responsibilities, these kinds of men make positive impact and contributions to their families’ upkeep.

They do everything to create a cordial relationship between them, their children and wives.” Adeola further noted: “The celebration of a mother is more than the father because some mothers are the brain behind the family’s success. She’s the wardrobe manager, the cook and everything you can think of. Mothers are celebrated three times, which is Mothers’ Day, International Women’s Day and International Women’s Week. The impact of the mother on the upbringing of the children is important. The responsibility on the mother is not easy, beginning from when she conceives, to birthing and raising the child.” Mr. Jerome Chigere, a civil servant, who is a father of four, stated that the sacrifices fathers make are never seen, let alone appreciated. He said this was because 80 percent of children are closer to their mothers than fathers.

“A father hides his pains for the benefit of his family. Fathers pass through a lot in their day to day affairs, and they’ll still make time for their children. It’s so appalling that the work of the father is not seen, recognised or appreciated. A father is celebrated once in a year, and even that celebration is never like that of the Mothers’ Day.

The children see the sacrifices of the mothers at homes, more than the sacrifices of the fathers, who go out to work,” said Chigere. A cleaner, Mrs. Precious Okere, who is a mother of two, also has something to say on the issue. For her: “Fathers’ Day is for responsible men. Many women now play the roles of fathers. They provide for the family in terms of food, shelter and money. The traditional Africa father provides food, shelter and makes sure the family does not lack, while the wife takes care of the home and children. But in this present day reality, wives now play the role of fathers, which is not good.

However, I must add that there are responsible men, who see their wives as their helpmates, not slaves. These are men, who create time for their families and often help out with the house chores.” A mother of four, Mrs. Oladiran Emiola said: “Personally, I think it all comes down to upbringing. In some cultures, societies and homes, some people believe in gender roles. But I was brought up to know and believe that boys should know how to sweep, wash plates and cook. My husband helps me at home with the cooking, caring for the children and even doing house chores.

It depends on how a man was brought up, because that will dictate his mind-set. It also dictates the type of society he grew up in. In some cultures or tribe, men are not supposed to carry babies and wash their messed up nappy pants. “Again, in some cultures, it is totally acceptable. If a male child doesn’t have a father figure, he’ll always miss it. If he sees his friends or how other fathers treat their own child, he would make up his mind to be an available father to his children. It depends on his background, upbringing, society and peers. Some men that know the right thing to do don’t do it because of peer pressure.

It also goes down to how we as mothers bring up our sons. Are we bringing up our sons with an entitlement mentality? “As for me, I trained my sons and any male around me to be responsible and be able to do things like cooking, washing and sweeping, amongst other things. This is because, if they are not brought up right, it poses a problem to the family and society at large.” A student of the University of Lagos, Akoka (UNILAG), Akinwande Zamad, shared his thoughts on the issue. He said: “I don’t think fathers really think much about whether or not they are celebrated.

I think there should be a reorientation for children making them realise that they are greatly loved by their fathers. This can be done from reassurance of fathers to their children and their mothers too. What I think matters to fathers are to see that the children they cared for, especially in the nuclear family, are doing well. One way fathers can be celebrated asides from gifts, is to not be a disappointment to them.” Another father, Kayode Shobanke, said: “There is nothing fathers can do to be appreciated. I don’t think fathers or anyone need to ask before they are appreciated. I don’t see myself begging or pleading with my children to appreciate me.

It’s my responsibility, and I have taken it up to be there for my family at all times! If they feel I deserved to be appreciated, it should be done. That being said, the best form of appreciation to me will be to come home with excellent achievements and make me proud.” Miss Ifeoma Chukwudi, who stressing the importance of fathers and the unique roles they play in the lives of their children, from the stage of conception, said that there was a need to celebrate them often. She added: “Fathers are really going through a lot to provide for their families and they choose not to show the rigours they go through.” Chukwudi further stated: “Fathers shape the lives of their children. They are like pillars in the development of a child’s wellbeing. Fathers provide both physical and emotional stability, which promotes inner strength and affect the child’s cognitive and social development.”

She further said: “Fathers are needed in the lives of a family. The presence of a responsible father contributes positively towards the better social skill, academic achievement, the feeling of self-worth and confidence of a child. Also, the absence of a father negatively affects the emotional development, growth and overall wellbeing of the family. Fathers do much on caregiving now than before; like changing of diapers, getting up at night to check up on the children, preparing meals, helping the children with home works and helping with house chores.” Mr. Buchi Livinus said that some children celebrate their mothers on both Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day because such mothers play both roles of a father and mother.

His words: “These days, men leave their roles for their wives. In some families, the mothers are the breadwinners. Fathers are the disciplinary figure in most homes and some of them are strict with their children, so the children feel uncomfortable around their fathers.

They will not be able to relate well with their fathers in the way they relate with their mothers. In fact, from childhood, children tend to love their mothers more than their fathers. Fathers should try to relate well with their children, then the children will be close to them. Fathers should take responsibility of their families by providing for them and then, so they can be celebrated often.”

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