In 1910, a woman named Sonora Dodd circulated a petition to create Father’s Day. Dodd and her five siblings were raised by a single dad, which was extremely uncommon at the time.
According to this article from the BBC, these days, people spend more money on Mother’s Day gifts than they do on Father’s Day gifts. The article speculates it’s because people assume moms put more into parenting and are therefore more worthy of presents. Showing love doesn’t require buying gifts, but the fact that people spend less for fathers is telling.
Every year when I try to buy my dad a Father’s Day card, it seems most options are jokes about how much dads love beer. According to that same article from the BBC, “Alcoholic drinks may be a rare example of when Father’s Day presents are more generous than Mother’s Day.”
Beer sale statistics show a similar picture. According to Nielsen, Father’s day is the fourth largest day of beer sales at supermarkets and convenience stores. July 4th, Memorial Day, and Labor Day—huge drinking days—are the only ones with bigger numbers. Even the Super Bowl has less spending on beer than Father’s Day. These facts seem to perpetuate the idea that where mothers care and nurture, fathers crack open a beer.
But there are ways to connect to your father that don’t involve beer—even if you can’t see him in person this year due to COVID-19. Most dads have a lot more to offer than being drinking buddies. They are parents just the same. Good dads also care, nurture, and provide guidance and love. One way to show that love back is through food. Sharing a meal is an important way to bond. Eating a meal together is something you can do through video, at home or out.
If you aren’t comfortable going out or if establishments near you aren’t open, you’ll have to get creative about how to celebrate. If you will be seeing your dad in person, you could do a board game night. A friend bought a projector so her family can watch outdoor movies.
Think about your dad’s favorite (healthy) hobbies, and see if you can recreate them as a group activity. My dad likes playing drums. If I were able to see him this Father’s Day, I might suggest my family sing or play other instruments while he drums.
All that said, not everyone has a great relationship with their dad. Perhaps this has to do with substances, in which case it could be triggering for your recovery. Or you might be mourning the loss of your dad. If you think you might struggle this Father’s Day, reach out to a supportive person in your life in advance. Let them know that you might be calling that day.
It is okay to feel resentful or sad when you see everyone else’s Father’s Day photos on social media. It’s understandable to feel upset on a day that reminds you of the relationship you don’t have with your dad. As with other difficult feelings, allow yourself to sit in the emotions and try not to judge them.
The past few months have been difficult. If you do have a good relationship with your dad, Father’s Day is a chance to take a break and honor something positive.
If you want to get sober and repair damaged relationships, there is hope. Amatus Recovery Centers provide treatment for substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders. We are open throughout the COVID-19 crisis, with hospital-grade sanitization and telehealth options. At our recovery centers across the country, we offer family and individual support to help you build a life in long-term recovery. To find out more, call an admissions specialist at 410-593-005.