• Tue, Jun 18 2013

Parents Needlessly Lose Their Shiz After School Cancels Father’s Day And Mother’s Day

Large familyOne of my favorite childhood memories is of making a card at school for my dad for Father’s Day. It was a fun group activity that typically got us out of whatever normal activity we have in the afternoon and who doesn’t like playing with macaroni, paste and crayons? I wish I could say I enjoyed making Mother’s Day cards as much.

For reasons I won’t get into, I wasn’t raised with my mother, which made Mother’s Day difficult for me to begin with. But sitting on the sidelines while other kids made cards for their moms made it even harder. So I have sympathy for the school in Halifax, Nova Scotia that decided to do away with both Mother’s and Father’s day, instead choosing to follow the “International Day of Families” which is celebrated on May 15th.

After receiving a complaint from a same-sex couple about the separate parent-appreciation holidays, officials at Astral Drive Elementary School decided to try out an alternative celebration which they felt would be more inclusive. Not surprisingly the decision left many parents up in arms. One group gathered more than 600 signatures on a petition demanding that the holidays be reinstated. Another 200+ have signed the petition online.

Local mother Michelle Allaby, who supports the petition, doesn’t have a problem celebrating a family day, but doesn’t want Mother’s and Father’s day to be abandoned:

“They (the children) weren’t allowed to make a card or a craft at Mother’s Day, so, I asked my friends that go to schools in the neighboring area, and they said yes, that their child had come home with a Mother’s Day card or craft, and it was a little upsetting to me.”

I understand the frustration that many of the parents feel. For many parents, the cards and gifts they receive from their child, made at school, are the only things they get for Mother’s or Father’s day. What I don’t understand are some of the reactions from parents, who seem to refuse to acknowledge that the school offered an alternative. One mom, Heather Bruce, told Global News:

“…this year was the first year in six years I didn’t receive a card from [my son] because there’s no one else telling him that that it’s Mother’s Day. Those things are important to teach our kids. To honor, respect their parents and they get that from school, sometimes.”

Why can’t kids learn to honor and respect the people who are raising them on International Families Day?

I hope the celebration of International Families Day becomes a trend. I love the idea of taking all of the “family-oriented” holidays and putting them together for one special day. I know, I know, the needs of a small minority shouldn’t outweigh the needs of the larger group, but who says these over-commercialized holidays are a “need” at all?

Why do kids need a special day for each parent, and what does that say to children without a mom, or a dad, or neither? Why does there need to be a national holiday for every person in the family? In addition to Mother’s and Father’s days, there is also a National Grandparents day in both Canada and the US and there has been a push to make Aunt’s and Uncle’s day a thing as well. This is excessive. It makes a lot more sense to have one day to celebrate families of all shapes and sizes.

Sorry, Hallmark.

(Photo: Olesia Bilkei / Shutterstock)

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  • Blueathena623

    So the mom saying this is the first year in six years she didn’t get a card . . . either the kid is below the age of 12, in which case someone had to help him get a card before he started making them in school (assuming he started when he was 6), or he’s over 12, in which case why are they making cards in middle school and beyond?

  • http://www.facebook.com/RetiredSceneQueen Emmali Lucia

    I’m not going to go into my family dynamic that much, but for the first 18 years of my life I thought my father had died, and, although I have never been part of it, I have heard of kids being bullied to the point of tears because they had lost their father or didn’t have one in the first place. So these parents need to calm the hell down and realize the world doesn’t revolve around them and their spawn, and their spawn are probably the demons making the poor kids cry.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I’m sorry for your troubles, I know how you feel, only it was my mother who I didn’t have in my life. I wasn’t led to believe she wasn’t alive, thankfully, but that she had abandoned me. I was bullied relentlessly for not having a mom. People used to JOKE about her being dead, or worse. I would lie and say she was some big shot lawyer in NYC to make myself feel better. So I feel the same way as you. There needs to be more for kids who have non-traditional families.

    • http://www.facebook.com/RetiredSceneQueen Emmali Lucia

      If we were a bunch younger I’d suggest making a “Who needs parents” club in someone’s treehouse. We could eat oreo ice-cream and play tons of board games. Also apparently in this situation I don’t have Celiac’s, so we can get away with eating oreo ice cream. Lol

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I would be there with bells on!

    • koolchicken

      I feel your celiac pain. Can I come? :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/RetiredSceneQueen Emmali Lucia

      Only if you’re missing a parent. If you have both you’ll just have to wait for my Celiac club. Lol

    • koolchicken

      Yay! I’ll bring pizza!

  • Rachel Sea

    So…it’s the school’s job to teach kids about holidays on which their parents expect gifts? What a load of bollocks. If these people want their kids to celebrate them on a specific day, then they need to tell their kids, or make arrangements with another adult to have the kids do something. I think it’s nice of the school to recognize that a lot of kids don’t have a full compliment of relatives of all genders, and to switch to a day that is inclusive of all children and their families.

  • CrazyFor Kate

    I’m honestly in favor of abandoning Mother’s/Father’s Day altogether, because they just seem so manufactured and creepy and meant to exclude. The International Day of the Family seems like such a great alternative, to celebrate all family members who have contributed to your life, no matter what configuration that takes. And wow, those parents sound incredibly selfish. It makes me ashamed to be Canadian.

  • Véronique Houde

    Isn’t it the role of the opposite parent to organize something with the child for their mother/father’s day?

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      Perhaps, but in many cases there might not be an opposite parent, which is why I would support a day for families, but no necessarily a specific day for just mom, dad or whoever.

  • Beth

    Much ado about nothing. I was raised by my aunt and uncle. Did they find it offensive that there wasn’t an “aunt and uncle” day for them to get equal appreciation? Of course not, because they are rational and non-idiotic human beings.

    I’m totally in support of LGBT rights, but I think that same-sex couples would find the road to acceptance just a little bit less rocky if they didn’t start whining and complaining every time they perceive some minor injustice they are being subjected to in favor of traditional family units. 99.9% of children have a mother and a father, not two fathers or two mothers… that’s just something they need to be realistic about.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      Plenty of families are missing either a mom or a dad. I was missing a mom by the time I hit elementary school. This isn’t just an LGBT issue. Why do we need these commercialized holidays to begin with? Why not just have a day for families and that’s it? I have teacher friends who hate these days, they have to take a large chunk of their day out to let their students make cards or whatever. Why? Heck, I would be fine with they did away with these holidays period.

    • allisonjayne

      Where did you find that statistic? In Canada at least, the latest census showed that that’s not true. Single mothers in particular (by choice or not) are really on the rise here.
      Also, I just love it when straight people tell LGBTTIQ people how they should advocate for themselves. So helpful!
      Personally, as a queer mama, mother’s/father’s day doesn’t bother me particularly – they celebrate both at my kid’s daycare, and on father’s day, she makes something for one of her two grandfathers (alternating each year), and on mother’s day she makes two things. But I can understand it from a single mother/father/etc point of view, how it could actually be harder for them than for my kid. My best friend’s dad left when she was little, but she remembers him and had years of missed visitations until she finally gave up on him. Father’s day was hard for her. She would make something for her grandparent, so

    • Psych Student

      1. Minor injustices hurt too. On a birth certificate, and all other paperwork, the presence of “husband and wife” or “mother and father” or anything other than “person one and person two” or “parent one and parent two” may be percieved as minor injustices to you (or maybe not), but those things hurt. The “minor” rights given by the federal government, such as being able to decided what happens to the body if my wife dies are really big when you don’t have them. Minor injustices aren’t so minor when they impact you and when they are yet *another* thing we don’t get.
      2. Roughly 5-10% of the population is not straight and a good percentage of those people children. Where the hell do you come up with 99.9%
      3. What about single parents? Or children who live with someone other than their parents? Or foster children? Or children with step-parents? Or children in families with multiple moms or dads (poly families – religious and not)? Families come in all shapes and sizes, and while I think that children who don’t have a mother or father should just be able to make a card for someone else they love, I am rather agast at your suggestion that 99.9% of children have a mother and a father (in their lives to give cards to).

    • Beth

      Tell me, are you stupid? or just intentionally obtuse? 99.9% of kids identify as having a father and a mother, not two mothers or two fathers. I’m sure that will change over the next couple decades, but for right now it is what it is.

      As for minor injustices. Oh well. Society goes to great extremes to make life easier for handicapped people (this is an example, not a suggestion that homosexuality is a handicap). However, this does not mean that every single aspect of life is homogenized to make it all “handicapped accessible.” For example, we are not going to stop having marathons and bicycle races because it’s somehow offensive to people in wheelchairs. We aren’t going to start banning radio stations because it’s offensive to the deaf. As such… traditional family units have their traditions and values, and they aren’t going to stop being observed because some homosexual couple gets bent out of shape that an opposing sexed parent isn’t represented in the house.

      Seriously… get over yourselves. There are FAR bigger and more important issues posed to LGBT-rights than whether or not schools celebrate mother’s and father’s day.

      This is why civil rights movements stall out and atrophy. When you jump on every perceived injustice, no matter how idiotic and ridiculous, it’s impossible to take you seriously when you are standing up and fighting the REAL injustices.

    • Psych Student

      My, you’re pleasant. I apologize, I think we were on two different pages. You were talking about biological contributers to DNA makeup, here I thought, since we were talking about Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we were talking about parents who were actually *around*. Which is to say, people who deserve/recieve cards and gifts because they are present, rather than sperm donors. I imagine that children who, for example, have two moms who use a sperm donor, consider themselves the children of two moms rather than two moms and a sperm donor or one mom and one sperm donor or a mom and a dad or two moms and one dad.

      I don’t recall having said that I object to the celebration of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. My wife and I have already talked about how to organize that. We’re thinking we’ll switch off taking Mother’s Day off each year. I was just defending/supporting those who’s children may have had negative experiences at school having to sit out, which is not just the children of gay parents. And I love the idea of having a “Family Day”. I think it’s great to celebrate families of all shapes and sizes.

      I hope you’re not refering to the things I listed (paperwork with gender neutral terms, the ability to decide what to do with a corpse, etc.) as idiotic and ridiculous. If so, then, I hate to point this out, you’re privilege is showing and you would be well served to look into that a bit.

    • Elle

      And for those families that identify as such, there is not a thing wrong with celebrating those holidays at home. I see no reason why education time should be spent making gifts for family holidays. It is no different that other holidays where families might give gifts or cards. It is up to the family to decide what is appropriate and teach the child how they wish to acknowledge birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, etc. If 99.9% of children already have two parents to help them celebrate, there just isn’t a need for the school to get involved at all.

  • koolchicken

    Isn’t there a way they could just schedule special craft days though out the year? Instead of Mother, Fathers, or Families day the kids could pick who they make a craft for? Mothers Day is in May, with school being out in June does that mean Fathers never get anything? I don’t see why one art class a month couldn’t have kids making things for any special relative. The teachers could suggest a parent or caregiver to direct the craft towards but still it’s a “choice” so no one is picked on, no one feels left out. If you have two dads no problem, in April you make a card for Daddy, and in May you make one for Papa. First world problems.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      To answer your question, schools in Canada generally go to end of June, so they’re in school for a couple of weeks past Father’s Day depending on when it is.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      Schools in the area I grew up in always let out in July.

  • AStewart

    In the UK, Mothering Sunday (which occurs during Lent) has a special significance as historically it was one of the few days of the year where serving girls (maids, nannies etc.) were allowed a day off work to visit their families. They would save up their wages to buy ingredients to bake a traditional Simnel Cake and often would even be allowed to bake them in the kitchen of the house where they worked. To this day, it is common in churches for small posies of daffodils to be presented to women during the Mothering Sunday service. So, I don’t really view it as a “Hallmark” holiday.

    But, all that being said, I have heard it said/wondered myself that it must be difficult for some women to receive flowers on that day, perhaps if they were infertile or if their children had died or were estranged. Our vicar’s wife died when her children were young, so I think they avoided that service too. So if a holiday exists for families of all types, then I don’t see the problem with it at all.

  • Sara610

    So, I’m really of two minds on this. On the one hand, I think that we have to learn that not everything–not every holiday or celebration or what-have-you–is going to apply to us. My husband wasn’t raised with his father, and in the church I work for we have a lot of same-sex couples who are raising children. I’ve never heard anyone suggest that Mother’s Day and Father’s Day shouldn’t be allowed because they don’t both apply to everyone. Having said that, at the church we do a special dedication for Mother’s Day (Father’s Day is after we release for the summer) and we expand the meaning to apply to mothers, grandmothers, or anyone who has cared for or nurtured us.

    OTOH, I would be lying if I said I couldn’t see how sucky it would be for a first-grader to sit on the sidelines while her classmates all make gifts for their mothers, all the while having to think about how she doesn’t have a mother to make anything for.
    I know that the same-sex couples raising children that I know typically acknowledge, “Yes, you have two moms, so we don’t celebrate Father’s Day (or you have two dads, so we don’t celebrate Mother’s Day)”, but then they have TWO parents to celebrate on the other holiday. Also, a lot of the time on Mother’s Day they make things for grandmothers. I think everyone handles it differently.

  • JLH1986

    Family Day? Right on! Doing away with Mothers/Fathers Day? Kinda crappy. I know when I was in school there were kids who were without one parent or the other and they just got to do a different craft. Also…Most schools let out in May. So unless they are young and do year round school (or maybe they do year round in school) I never made father’s day cards at school. Always at home. So while I can see being bummed I can’t see having a meltdown.

  • tvsmtoday

    So I am not sure where the writer and some of the other commenters grew up but I grew up in the very conservative Midwest and went to catholic school and daycare. My parents divorced when I was young before my brother was even born I didn’t think my father was dead I knew he was alive and remarried and just wanted nothing to do with us. I was never bullied for not having a Dad, once a playmate said I didn’t have a Dad and my Mom quickly corrected them and said I did have a Dad that he just didn’t live with us (really I didn’t know him at all). I also once remember a teacher saying you weren’t really a family if you didn’t have a Mom and a Dad (my Mom and another Dad whose wife passed away went to the principal about that) but those truly are the only instances I can ever recall anyone even making note of the fact that we had no father. Otherwise we never sat out of making Father’s Day gifts because we didn’t have a Dad and we just gave them to our Mom because she was our Mom and our Dad. She still has the “chip off the old block” photo blocks we made for father’s day one year, proudly on display. Also sometimes in order to teach your children how to function in the world you have to teach them not everything is always equal or exactly the same. I teach my children that some families have two moms, two dads, a mom and dad or a mom or a dad or a grandma or an aunt or whatever. If you have two moms I am sure the teacher will let you make two and on fathers day make two and give both of your moms a fathers day gift. Don’t be so literal about everything and see it as a chance to honor the person/people who are raising you, whatever that make up consists of. This really seems like a issue that isn’t an issue.

  • disqus_CjkjexhigA

    If getting a macaroni card on mother’s/father’s day instead of another date is much more important to you than making small children feel isolated and awkward on a hallmark holiday, you need to reevaluate your values. Why doesn’t the spouse just get the kids to make a card right before bed and give it to them the next morning if these families have the mother/father mix?