Did you say no to brunch with your mom in May because the restaurants were too crowded with other families celebrating Mother's Day? Or did you take your dad seriously when he said, "Don't do anything special for me" on Father's Day? If you thought you missed your opportunity, never fear, because another chance to give Mom and Dad their due is right around the corner in the form of a holiday devoted to both of the human beings that brought you into the world. So when is National Parents' Day?
Like Mother's Day and Father's Day, this holiday has a constant timing, but the date changes from year to year. According to the National Day Calendar website, Parents' Day is always the fourth Sunday in July, so for 2019, the date falls on July 28.
If you've never heard of Parents' Day, don't feel too bad; as holidays go, it's a relative newcomer. As explained by the Parents' Day website, the day dates back only to the Clinton administration. In 1994, Congress passed a resolution establishing the date as a time to "recognize outstanding parents, celebrate the teamwork in raising children, and support the role of parental guidance in building a strong, stable society."
What an awesome message! While mothers and fathers absolutely deserve to be recognized on their own merits, it's important to pay tribute to the work they do together to guide their little creations into becoming wonderful human beings and productive members of society.
This applies, of course, not only to mother-father parenting teams, but also to the same-sex couples raising children (more than 114,000 at last count, according to The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law), to nonbinary parents, and to parent/stepparent couples who are committed to the care of a child. If anything, Parents' Day could be considered the most inclusive of the childrearing holidays: It omits any mention of gender. What's important here is the partnership aspect of raising children, regardless of how the parents identify themselves.
(What if you're one of the many amazing moms and dads out there who are raising their kids solo, either by choice or chance? Don't feel left out. You have a day all your own: National Single Parent's Day, which is observed on March 21.)
So what can you do to celebrate National Parents' Day? Plenty, that's what. Care.com offered a number of suggestions, starting with having a family conversation about how to honor the day. They also recommended such bonding experiences as making a family scrapbook and holding a neighborhood cookout (this is July, after all) for all the parents on the block. We came up with a few more ideas:
- Create a family tree, and talk to the kids about all the parents on both sides of the family. This helps children feel a sense of generational connectedness and pride.
- Since the greeting-card companies haven't yet come out with Parents' Day cards, spend part of the day creating cards or letters to your own parents. Let them know how much you appreciate the work they did together to help you succeed.
- Send a Parents' Day meme to all the parent-couples you know, in a show of solidarity and support. You could also go with a text or email letting them know how great a job they're doing, and what you've learned from them. (Cue the tissues.)
- Sit down with your spouse or partner and write a list of what each of you admires about the other as a parent. Whether you opt to read it aloud or in private, you'll solidify your parenting bonds. (Cue the tissues, part 2.)
- Call the babysitter or Nana and go on a date night on July 28. You're partners in love as well as in parenting, and it's important for parents to take time to prioritize their own relationship.