A Checklist For Divorced Moms On Father’s Day

Father's Day

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

There are only a few guarantees when it comes to most divorce cases. 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, on Father’s Day, your ex will most likely pick up the kids and leave for the day, and you might be sitting home wondering what they are up to, worrying about them (of course), and feeling sorry for yourself, lonely, isolated and depressed.

I don’t want you to do that!!!


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To all divorced moms who dread Father’s Day, here is checklist that will not only change the way you end up feeling, but it might change your entire outlook on the day that was designed to celebrate fathers.


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.

Please don’t stop reading and/or tell me to F*** off for even suggesting this. The card is from the kids, and actually, if they are young, have them make him a card. 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.


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3. Father’s Day needs to be 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–just one 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!

Plan ahead! 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 and feeling the lonliness, 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!


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5. Try to remember that the kids need their father, just like they need you.

If he cheated, or if you felt he was abusive, or if he’s a narcissist, 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?

On a very important note: What if the children’s father is out of the picture, and the kids seem really sad? What if the father is with his “new family” and the kids know it? Here’s my advice. First, if you have a good male role model who is a dad, spend some time with him on Father’s day. That might mean an uncle, cousin, brother, your dad, of course. If not, plan to spend the day with your kids and do something really fun. Make sure to tell them that you are here if they want to talk, that you understand their pain, that they are allowed to feel sad, and that they are loved by you enough for 10 dads. It’s heartbreaking to see kids in this situation, so I’m sorry if you are going through this.

In closing, 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.

If you are a divorced dad reading this, I want to wish you a happy Father’s Day and sincerely thank you for everything you do for your kids!

Like this article? Check out, “11 Things Divorced People Want To Say To Their Married Friends”


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    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at: DivorcedGirlSmiling.com

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