Celebrating Father’s Day After Divorce

18 June 2022

Father’s Day is an important day of the year. It is a recognition of the importance that “man of the house” plays in all of our lives. But being recently divorced can be difficult when it comes to celebrating Father’s Day.

If you are freshly divorced and don’t know how to handle the day, there are a few helpful tips to follow. Just know that you are not the only one going through these struggles. With the right help, every Father’s Day post-divorce can be a good one.

Different Approaches to Father’s Day

Let’s take a moment to stop and consider something before moving on. Holidays in the wake of divorce can impact all parties differently. While we tend to think of the dads on a day like Father’s Day, mothers and children can be struggling as well.

Let’s take a look at the different perspectives as well as the tips that can be used to navigate the difficulties of any holiday like this.

For the Dads

Of course, celebrating the big day in the wake of a divorce can be difficult for the dads. Being freshly divorced, the familiarity that you once knew can be completely gone. But it doesn’t mean that the day won’t be enjoyable.

Here are a few tips in particular that can help any dad out there to navigate the difficulties that a day like this can present.

Have Realistic Expectations

One of the best ways to turn Father’s Day into an enjoyable experience is to be realistic about what the day is about. Sure, it is “your day”, but you need to keep a few things in mind. Take into the account the personalities and ages of your kids, for starters.

Just because it is “your day” does not mean that your toddler doesn’t need a snack and a nap from time to time. Teenagers, on the other hand, might be a bit irritable at being stuck doing something that they don’t necessarily want to do.

It is also possible that the kids may feel sad that they are not celebrating this day in a family way. Make sure that you take those mood fluctuations for what they are and try to plan activities that will keep everyone engaged.

Be Understanding About Father’s Day Gifts

It is highly possible that an ex-wife was responsible for getting all the gifts and cards for holidays. Ideally, both parties will be on good terms and handling holidays like these won’t suffer just because the relationship isn’t intact.

But it is entirely possible that things can fall through the cracks. Days like these, especially in the wake of a divorce, may not be perfect. That is okay. Try to recognize that it won’t be perfect, and it won’t sting if there isn’t a gift or things aren’t the way you want them to be.

Think about how you want to spend your day. Maybe spend time with your own dad. Spend time with your kids, friends, or whatever else would make the day for you. Just make sure that you don’t make the kids feel like they are in the middle. Making them feel guilty is bad enough but it will also put tension between both co-parents.

Be Creative About Your Father’s Day Plans

In the wake of a divorce, one of the most helpful things that you can do is to create new traditions. That is not to say that all past traditions should go by the wayside, but you can perhaps get rid of some of those that felt forced.

Whether it be going to a particular restaurant, going to a ball game, or whatever it may be, you want it to be an enjoyable time. By creating new traditions, you can create those fun memories that are not necessarily tied to the divorce itself.

Be Proactive in Your Plans

If you come up with plans for Father’s Day the day of, it is likely to end in disaster. Think about what you want to do with your kids on your day and make the plans accordingly. Most importantly, consider the support that your kids will need on this day.

Just make sure that the activity is engaging for everyone. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive thing in the world, but it should be something that you can do with your kids. Each family is different, but there are a plethora of ideas that can work. It is about creating an enjoyable day and maybe even taking the focus off of dad for the day.

Coparenting on Father’s Day

One of the most difficult aspects of a holiday like Father’s Day, particularly in the wake of divorce, can be managing all of the separate parties. Mom, dad, and the kids all have different feelings about the day, and it is important to make sure that you are considering everyone.

For coparents, the best move is to ensure that the day is as special for the kids as it is for dad. In situations where dad will be alone, or is perhaps fighting for visitation or custody, the day can be quite hard.

Finding that balance depends on the family situation. In instances where dads can see their kids, the goal should be to create an enjoyable day. The goal is about building the relationship between dad and kids.

Father’s Day From Mom’s Perspective

Just like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day can present some difficulties for both parents. While the focus is naturally on dad, there are a few helpful tips that moms everywhere can follow to make the day in question easier for kids who may not be seeing their dad on that day.

It’s Okay to Be Sad on Father’s Day

One of the biggest issues that mothers face when this day rolls around is the natural sadness that can come when seeing dad isn’t an option. As a mom, it can be hard to let the sadness be, wanting to fix the issue in any way possible.

But the simple fact of the matter is that it may not be possible to fix the problem. Accept that both parents have a role in the life of the kids. Nothing can be done to change the fact that kids are not with their dad on his big day. And that is okay.

The Day Isn’t About Mom

It can also be difficult for mom to accept that the day simply isn’t about them. Not only is it the day for dad, but it is about the way that kids feel during these holidays. Accepting that kids will be disappointed not seeing their father can feel like rejection.

The simple fact of the matter is that they are feeling the way that they feel. It isn’t about mom, it is about the feeling of missing their dad. Being objective and accepting of those feelings can help make the day more manageable from mom’s perspective.

Shift the Focus

While it may not be possible for the kids to see dad in the wake of the divorce, that doesn’t mean that they cannot celebrate Father’s Day. Try shifting the focus and make it about what they want to do on the day.

The answer is likely going to be that they want to spend time with dad but shift it to something that will help ease their disappointment. It might not completely solve the issue but it can make handling a day like this a lot more manageable.

Finding Resolution

Being freshly divorced can create a situation that simply may not be tenable when it comes to Father’s Day. If you are a dad fresh out of a marriage, cherish the time that you can see your kids. Some are not able to see their kids on the big day and it is felt by everyone.

Should you be able to see your children, try to shift the focus to them. It can be a great way to ease the transition and make sure that the day is an enjoyable one.