Being newly separated consists of a lot of firsts, which includes being a single dad on holidays for the first time, like…ahem…Fathers Day.
I’m not a man, but I am a single mom, and so I know what it feels like to wake up on Mother’s Day as a single mom that first year, when instead of having the traditional family brunch, you find yourself feeling a bit strange, like “How am I supposed to spend this day now?”
One thing’s for sure when it comes to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day: you know you’re spending the day with your kids. As a divorced mom, I always make plans with my divorced girlfriends on Father’s Day, since it is the one day out of the year that all of us are guaranteed not to have our kids. For example, today, I am going to see the movie Entourage with two of my divorced friends.
Here are some of the people you might be spending Father’s Day with:
- Your parents and siblings. Maybe you bring your kids over to their house, or meet them at a restaurant.
- Your friends. Were you invited to a barbecue with a bunch of married friends and their kids?
- Other divorced dads. Maybe somebody was organized enough to get a few divorced dads and your kids together.
- Your girlfriend and your kids.
- Say your family lives out of town and it’s just you and the kids.
Here’s the thing about #5. I remember the first Mother’s Day I spent alone with my kids. It was very difficult emotionally, as my kids were really really young. I took them to the Lincoln Park Zoo and I remember feeling really sad and lonely, as the holiday epitomizes family-not single motherhood. I felt like if someone took my picture and put a caption underneath it, it would read, “Sad, lonely single mom spends Mother’s Day like this.”
Yet there were positive aspects that I remember clearly.
- Previous Mother’s Days had been spent with my former husband and his family when we were still in an unhappy marriage. Ask yourself, “Which situation would I rather be in?” and “Aren’t I on my way to a better place?” In other words, your “alone” Father’s Day isn’t permanent. Think about where you will be next year at this time.
- To address the title of this blog post, “How Father’s Day Changes When You Become a Divorced Dad,” there is NOTHING about Father’s Day that changes when you become a divorced dad. Nothing that means anything, anyhow.
Father’s Day is about celebrating fatherhood and the gratitude you have for being a dad to your greatest life gifts. So, as long as you are with them, whatever you do, wherever you spend it, and whomever you are with (even solo) it should feel nothing short of blissful. And honestly, that’s how I felt at the Lincoln Park Zoo, with my kids nagging me for popcorn and fighting with each other, and my daughter having a meltdown at one point.
Enjoy your Father’s Day and let yourself experience the core of what the holiday really is: gratitude for the privilege of being a father and the miracle of the children you created. They are priceless, humungous gifts that make divorce seem so little. I’m not minimizing your divorce by any means, just putting it in perspective to help you enjoy this blessed Father’s Day.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!