In September 2012, the United Nations declared June 1st of every year the “Global Day of Parents” to celebrate the impacts of parents in their children’s lives (and therefore, our communities and society).
In greeting-card-market countries like Canada, we’re much more aware of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day on the second Sundays in May and June, respectively – but for my money, a day to celebrate parents in all their family structures is wonderful.
At Brightling, we’ve had the privilege of getting to know hundreds of families over our two decades in childcare. Many have been “traditional” nuclear families; many others have not.
Here’s what we’ve learned about “parenthood” from these families:
- It doesn’t matter who does the cooking, cleaning, playing, or repairs in the home.
- It doesn’t matter if there are one, two, or more adults who function as “parents” to the child.
- It doesn’t matter how much the children look like their adults, or whether they are related by blood or race
- Parents’ genders are irrelevant to the raising of happy, healthy children
- What children need, whether from their biological parents or step-parents, adoptive parents, legal guardians, foster parents, aunties/uncles/friends or other adults who have committed to raising them, is love. Sounds hokey, but everything else comes from love.
Greeting cards will tell you kids need moms to bake and soothe boo-boos, and Dads to handle the BBQ and control the TV remote. (Greeting card disrespect of Dads: possible topic for another post!)
But what children really need is to see evidence they are loved unconditionally, and to have role models who will help them become their best selves.
“Mom” and “Dad” stereotypes are what they are… but underlying them is a truth: children’s lives are richer for the diversity of their experience. Not just “Mom does the house and Dad does the yard” diversity – it can be the opportunity to witness a single parent’s navigation of the world as much as that of a blended family.
So, happy Global Day of Parents, whether your title is Mom, Dad, or any of a dozen other ways of saying “child-raiser.” You are doing the most important job on Earth, and we’ve got your back.