Stepping up on Father’s Day (even if we don’t feel like it)
Father’s Day can be a tricky holiday for divorced parents. If you have a good relationship with your ex, it’s a nice time to acknowledge how important he is as a father. But what if your relationship isn't so good? I try to do my best to put my own feelings about my ex aside and focus on what I want my son to feel about his dad. Even if I no longer love the guy, my son does, and that's much more important.
As Father’s Day nears, I let my son know it’s coming up and explain to him that it’s a chance to tell his dad how much he loves him and show his appreciation for all his dad does. Even if you don't believe that your ex is a good father, try not to deny your child the opportunity to participate in this tradition. They will see other kids making cards or plans and will feel left out if they don’t have the same opportunity.
Hopefully you have a parenting schedule that allows you time with your kids on Mother's Day. Likewise, dads should have the option to spend the day with their kids, even if it's not their “usual” day.
If your kids don’t live near their dad, try to set a specific time for a phone call or video chat that will allow them to wish him a happy Father's Day.
Help your kids make a special gift or card. Homemade gifts are often more appreciated than anything you could buy in a store. I usually have my son make a card or draw a picture and also buy a small gift for his dad. We don't spend a lot of money, but we usually get something personalized. This year, I made a photo collage of my son and his dad playing baseball and inscribed it “Happy Father’s Day, Coach Dad.” I know my ex will cherish it, and my son will enjoy the experience of giving such a treasured gift.
If your kid or kids are with their dad on Father’s Day, take advantage of your time off and do something nice for yourself. Take a long walk or go to brunch with some close friends, and bask in the glow that you were on your best behavior. With any luck, your ex will follow your good example and return the favor next Mother’s Day.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
Annette Powers is a Solo Mom who lives in Brooklyn, New York. A communications professional, she writes about divorce, coparenting, and culture in her spare time. You can follow her on Twitter @annettepowers
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