There are only a few guarantees when it comes to a divorce. Two of them include: Mom gets the kids on Mother’s Day and Dad gets them on Father’s Day. I’d have to bet it’s written that way in almost every divorce decree, not including cases of sole custody and other special circumstances.
So, tomorrow, your ex will pick up the kids and leave for the day, and you will be sitting home twiddling your thumbs, wondering what they are up to, and cringing that they are hanging out with your ex mother-in-law (who hates you). Right? Wrong!
To all divorced moms who dread Father’s Day, here is checklist that will not only change the way you end up feeling tomorrow, but it might change your entire outlook on your ex and the day that was designed to celebrate him.
1. Talk to your kids and get them excited about Father’s Day. Tell them how much fun they are going to have, and how they should be really nice to Daddy today because it’s a day to celebrate him. Don’t say, “Mom’s going to miss you so much.” Or “Tomorrow is going to feel so lonely.” Keep that to yourself.
2. Take your kids and go to Walgreen’s and buy a Father’s Day card for your ex. Or, buy him a gift or bake something with the kids. Or have the kids make homemade cards. Put your personal feelings aside because this is the right thing to do. This is teaching your kids how to be thoughtful and respect and appreciate their parents. What if your ex didn’t do that for you for Mother’s Day? Who cares!! Do this anyway. Trust me. Your kids will pick up on it and remember what you did. Do it every year, even if your ex never does it for you.
3. Father’s Day is a cease-fire day. If you can’t stand your ex, if he just did something horrible to you legally, if he is rude, if he gives you dirty looks, just ignore your feelings for a day and put on a smile. Say “Happy Father’s Day” and let him have a day. You don’t have to be over-the-top, just polite. It’s better for the kids!
4. The minute your kids and your ex leave, you better have some plans that make you happy! Do you realize that you have a whole day to enjoy by yourself? Clean out a closet, read a book in the bathtub, go to a pool by yourself, take a long walk, go shopping, call other divorced moms and get together for lunch. The possibilities are endless, so instead of feeling sorry for yourself, enjoy a beautiful summer day, knowing the kids are coming home in a few hours. And of course, if you can, go see your dad!
5. Remember that the kids need their father, just like they need you. If he cheated, or abused you, or even if he isn’t the best dad out there, try to put your ill feelings aside and remember that your kids need Dad. Not just on Father’s Day but every day. Kids who have no dad in their lives suffer a lot more than those who have a dad—even if he isn’t the best dad. And, if he is a great dad, but you just can’t stand him, give him credit! I know it isn’t easy, but it’s better for your kids.
6. Try to think about your own dad. Whether he is still with us or not, remember all of his wonderful qualities. Remember how important the role of a Father truly is. To a child (and for the rest of someone’s life), a father can be strong and protective and funny and smart and a best friend. Don’t you want your kids to have that regardless of the way you feel about your ex or what he did to you?
Just as Mother’s Day celebrates the hard work and dedication of a mom, Father’s Day is about your ex, whether you want that or not. Let him have his day. The divorce will be right back on track Monday morning. So, make Sunday a day of rest for the divorce. If everyone has a nice Father’s Day, everyone will benefit from it. That includes you.
Like this blog post? Check out, “11 Things Divorced People Want To Say To Their Married Friends”