I HAD A ROUGH DIVORCE, BUT I STILL BUY A FATHER'S DAY PRESENT FOR MY KIDS' DAD

  • I'm a mom of two and divorced. I had to restart my life at almost 40. 
  • My kids have different lifestyles between my house and their dad's. 
  • I make a budget for them to spend on Father's Day buying things for their dad. 

Ever since my divorce, Father's Day has made me uncomfortable. I don't enjoy thinking about, celebrating, or spending my money on the person who broke our family apart.

Although it's been a few years since my ex initiated our divorce, it's been stressful co-parenting with someone who communicates differently and has different means to mine.

My tween son and daughter may experience lavish trips and vacations, tickets to pro soccer games, and barbecues with the other parent's family, but I can't forget how I felt before and after our divorce.

My kids want to celebrate Father's Day

I remember carrying groceries alone, planning and hosting birthday parties alone, changing every diaper, filing every lunch box, doing homework sessions, and tying every shoe tie. Back then, I gave the kids construction paper, crayons, and markers to make a Father's Day card, which we presented with glee.

Now, while I drive to the store so my kids can pick out a card and a gift for their father, I keep these bad memories to myself while I buy the card and the bow and wrap the gift.

During the divorce process, I forgot about how this holiday would feel. My kids will want to celebrate Father's Day regardless of how their parent's marriage ended, so I will fork out the money for their cheerfulness.

I do encourage the kids to get a card, like I used to for my own father. I stand there in the aisle, waiting patiently, until they choose a card they are delighted with, usually it is something humorous. I try to put my resentment aside when my kids brainstorm ideas about the special gift they want to get their dad.

I have a small budget to help them buy their dad a gift

I try to spend $50 or less for a Father's Day gift but every year is different. Post-divorce I've spent anywhere between $25 to $100 on a gift from my kids.

One time my kids wanted to fill a cooler with snacks their father liked. I sighed and rambled off a few snacks while my kids' piled chips and candy, hot sauce and jerky into the cooler. Their excitement is contagious though and I roll with it because it's really all about them and their kindheartedness is something I can help to nurture.

Another time it was a gift card to a favorite restaurant for chicken wings. This year, they wanted to customize a bobblehead doll that looked like their father.

Holidays look different now that I'm divorced

According to the decree my kids will spend Friday to Sunday with their father to celebrate Father's Day. It's important to have Father's Day and Mother's Day details in a divorce decree to limit stress and so everyone is on the same page for these special days.

All holidays look different now as a divorced parent, and what helps is finding ways to enjoy my own company when I'm without my kids on certain holidays.

This year while my kids spend time with their father, I will honor my own who passed away before my kids were born. As much as it hurts to miss him, I try to make it a day of joy and remembrance.

I'll go on a long walk and embrace the beauty on the trail and in new beginnings. I'll reflect on my childhood memories of my father, running together, bike rides, how much he cared about our dog and my dad's voice singing oldies songs on the porch.

Then I'll re-read the Father's Day card I sent my dad a year before he died. I was surprised to find the card and envelope in his car under papers on the backseat after he died.

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2024-06-14T13:38:06Z dg43tfdfdgfd