Father’s Day is upon us and for divorcing families it represents yet another shift in what was to what is. The challenge, as with everything divorce, is to embrace the new what is.
If you were lucky enough to have a supportive spouse during at least some of your marriage, you probably remember Father’s Day as a celebration of YOU. Maybe your wife helped the children bring you breakfast in bed, maybe you went to the gym for a few hours, watched a golf tournament or a game with some friends and came home to a nice meal with the whole family. You were King for a day.
Then you got divorced.
And now, instead of being all about celebrating YOU, it’s a joint celebration with you and your children. A celebration of the daily actions that constitute being a dad. You get to wake up alone with the kids, make them breakfast, and plan a day of fun together. It is all about spending time with your children and being a father. The day becomes more meaningful because it’s all about you and your children.
Of course, enjoying this new Father’s Day is easier said than done. Many fathers have ex-spouses who make it difficult or impossible for them to enjoy this day with their children. Poorly written parenting plans that don’t explicitly identify Father’s Day or enough time during the day can contribute to greater stress for everyone involved, but always far more for the children.
Father’s Day, by definition, is about being a family. It can take a while for this newly configured family to feel complete and not simply scream divorce, or loss. Families with two fathers face further challenges. Depending on the agreement, you’ll either split the day or alternate the day each year. Being civil towards each other and finding a way to “make it work” will make your children feel safe and loved despite having to “share” you on this day.
In the old days Dads were represented as rather clueless and fortunately now we know that modern Dads are super cool (even if their kids don’t agree) and fully capable of redefining Father’s Day and new ways to celebrate it. It is always an excuse to do something a little out of the ordinary.
Happy Father’s Day. You’ve Got This!
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