In most parenting agreements, dad always has the children with him on Father’s Day and mom always has the children with her on Mother’s Day. However, it is never as simple as it sounds. Even intact families struggle with these holidays as a parent may inevitably end up disappointed, perhaps because their children did not appropriately recognize them, or maybe because their spouse did not acknowledge the significance of the day.
In divorced families, particularly when children are young, this can sometimes become a confusing arrangement. Although it may seem easiest for all when Father’s Day falls on a dad’s regularly scheduled weekend, in reality, are the children actually going to go out and buy their dad a gift, arrange a bar-b-que or make a restaurant reservation? And on those years when father’s day does not fall on dad’s regularly scheduled weekend, just as they were settling into the weekend routine with mom, the children are then required to leave to spend time with dad for Father’s Day. Is mom happy about this? Is she sending the children with a gift and ideas for how to help make this a great day for dad?
In the best of all divorcing families, each parent recognizes the benefits in helping their children honor the other parent on this special day in the best way possible. When the weekend is already dad’s weekend, mom plans in advance and helps the children find a thoughtful gift for dad, possibly just because it’s the right thing to do, and possibly in hopes of reciprocal treatment for herself on the following mother’s day. When the weekend is mom’s weekend and the children have to leave in the middle, mom not only encourages them to enjoy their time with dad, but she goes so far as to ask dad what she can do to be helpful. All of these scenarios are possible in the case of the amicable divorce. Unfortunately, not all divorcing parents are able to treat each other kindly. In those instances, the parent whose day it is should use their best efforts to enjoy their time with the children and put aside any unrealistic expectations.
Alternatively, maybe we can imagine a future scenario whereby the parents switch holidays. Dad would have the kids on mother’s day and mom would have the kids on father’s day. Each parent would then have their “day” and make time for whatever they enjoy, be it a spa appointment, golf game, or just down time to read a book. Since that is unlikely to happen, as we approach this Father’s Day weekend, try to put your own feelings aside and allow your children to enjoy their time with the other parent.
Regardless of whether your family falls in the best, worst or somewhere in between category, the good news is that Father’s Day and Mother’s Day fall relatively close in time and each parent has the opportunity to spend time with the children for their respective holiday celebrations, however they may turn out. In all events, enjoy your extra time with your children, which this weekend is for Father’s.