Father's Day is for dads. That must mean if you're divorced from your kids' father you can sit back, relax and not have to worry about organizing gifts and celebrations for the day, right? Wrong.
The very least you can do is to talk to your children about how they intend to show their appreciation for their father and if they need help, you can give them a few sincere and thoughtful ideas. There are plenty of reasons why you'd want to do this.
1. He is the father of your children. Without him your children would not exist. Lots of women tell me they shouldn't have gotten married, but that's always closely followed by, "... but then I wouldn't have my kids." I've yet to hear someone say they wish they didn't have their children.
2. He will always be the father of your children. Children should never have to choose one parent over the other. By talking to your children about Father's Day, you're showing your children that they don't have to choose and nor do they have to hide their love for their father from you.
3. He shares the responsibility for parenting. As much as you and your ex may not see eye-to-eye on parenting and may have different rules, his different perspective may help improve and strengthen your parenting. And when the going gets tough, any extra reinforcement of consequences and discipline helps.
4. He does activities with your kids that you don't. There are a lot of activities I'm willing to try especially if my kids ask me, but there are definitely some I won't ... fishing, paintballing, auto-maintenance to name a few. I'm not wild about camping either. My ex, on the other hand is happy to do these and he appreciates that these are "his activities." That's a win-win all round.
5. His parenting time means free time for you. This is a no-brainer. When your children are with their father it means alone time for you, doing whatever you choose or need to do. It makes life a little easier.
6. He's a better parent than a husband. This might be a difficult reality for you but it's a win for your kids. Read numbers 1 and 2 again.
7. He's become a better parent since your divorce. If your ex has stepped up his parenting game since your divorce, chances are you've thought, "If only he'd been like this while we were married." Well, he wasn't and as frustrating as that may be, it could be the change in your relationship dynamics that has enabled this. His active involvement now is good for your kids and for that you can be thankful..
8. Not everything about your marriage was bad. With divorce, it's easy to remember the bad times, the fights, the disagreements, the ugliness but in reality there were probably some good times too. There were times when you made each other laugh and times when you had fun outings as a family.
My ex is an avid skier, dare I say, obsessed? We were a ski family. I became a much better skier because of him and our kids have skied since they were toddlers. We had some fun vacations, visited lots of different ski resorts and some of our ski friends are still my friends today. This past winter, my daughter joined her college ski racing team and experienced the unique camaraderie of a collegiate sports team. A love of skiing is one of my ex's gifts to us.
9. You were right for each other once. Even though you're no longer a couple, you chose to be together for a reason. Your relationship is part of your journey through life and is part of your growth even if it meant growing apart. He is a part of who you are today.
In helping your children honor their father on his day you're also teaching your children an important and valuable life skill about showing appreciation for others. It's a skill that will serve them well as they make their way through school, college and the workplace. If that's not justification enough for you to appreciate your ex this Father's Day, then consider this: Mother's Day is only 330 days away!