As we all know, Father’s Day is this Sunday. Of course (if dad is in the picture) it’s great and important to celebrate dads, but there are many families who don’t have one. Maybe you and your partner are separating, maybe he has passed, or maybe he was never in the picture at all. Either way, it’s a hard day and when you’re a single mom, it can be confusing as to what you should do on Father’s Day. Do you celebrate? Do you not? What should you do if you’re a single mom? I spoke with several single moms that don’t have dad in their lives and they gave me some tips to share with all of you. The number one tip that single moms said was…
Do Not Ignore The Day
I was told that, “you might be able to get away with not celebrating Father’s Day when your baby is little, but the older they get, the more difficult not celebrating Father’s Day will be on your child.” I can see what she means and how that could have a major impact on your son or daughter. By not celebrating their dad — the other half that created them — it can cause them to really reflect on their identity in (possibly) a negative light. As mothers, this (of course) is the last thing we want our children to think. They are not at fault as to why their dad is not present or maybe is not supportive.
So if you’re not supposed to ignore Father’s day, what do you do? After speaking with a few women, it’s obvious that each one approaches it differently depending on their situation. They did have several common tips though and great advice. Here’s a few common recommendations they had based on their different scenarios.
1. Celebrate the Other Strong Men in Your Child’s Life
If your child’s father is absent by choice or was never in the picture, a tip I was given is that Father’s Day can be a day to recognize and celebrate the other influential men that make a positive impact on your child’s life. I’m sure that you are (or will) make it a priority to have amazing male role models around your son or daughter. So whether that’s their grandpa (your dad), their uncle, a neighbor, a teacher, etc., there are strong men around them that they can thank on this holiday.
What can you do? Go on a picnic, go to the park and do something fun with one (or a few) of their male role models.
One single mom (her child’s real dad was never in the picture) told me that she has her son make cards for the great men in his life — even his real dad. She said, “I want my son to know that even though his real dad is not around, everyone around him loves him. I tell him that we can still be thankful for his father because he helped create my son which is the greatest gift of all.” Making a card for your child’s father can be very therapeutic for your child since they will always love their father.
2. Think Ahead
Your child might not be in school yet, but I was told that it’s a good idea to think about the activities that your kid’s school will hold — especially on Father’s Day. Normally for Mother’s Day the school will host a Mother’s Day Tea where all the mothers are celebrated with their children. The same type of event is planned for Father’s Day. The school will usually host a ‘Donuts with Dad’ Father’s Day event so you will want to think about who should go with your child.
What can you do? Send a family member or a friend that is a constant supportive and loving man in your child’s life. Check with that person’s schedule ahead of time and make sure that he can be there so he can mark it on his calendar.
3. Talk About Their Dad
Whether their father has never been a part of their life or if their father has passed, it’s always important to acknowledge their father on Father’s Day and have an open discussion. It’s only normal for your child to ask questions on the day that is all about dad.
What can you do?
- If their dad was never there: Acknowledge that your child has a father and use Father’s Day as an opportunity to talk about him in an honest, yet respectful way. Even if they have never had contact with their father or don’t know their father, it’s a good to way to heal and make peace on a difficult holiday.
- If their dad has passed: This holiday will be difficult for everyone, but try to make it a day of remembrance. Choose to celebrate the memory of their father and how great of a dad he was. You could make his favorite meal or go to his favorite restaurant and take turns sharing your favorite memories of their dad.
4. Keep It Positive
You have to embrace the fact that your children love their father… even if their father left the family… even if they have never met him… they love their father. One mom told me, “As difficult as it may be, it is an important day for you to allow them to celebrate their father without feeling any guilt or fear that they might be hurting your feelings. You have to let it go.” Whether you are sad, mad, angry, or depressed, try to approach this day with a positive spirit for your children. Otherwise, your kids will pick up on your negativity, and it could cause them to create a negative association with their dad, Father’s Day, and potentially with other men in the future.
What can you do? Plan a day of exciting events that your children enjoy and keep a positive and teaching spirit.
5. Brace Yourself, It Will Be An Emotional Day
Not only is this a difficult day for you, but you must remember that it is also a difficult day for your child (or children). It’s a day that is overflowing with emotions.
What you can do? Acknowledge that this day will be tough and prepare to feel your emotions head on. It’s okay to feel your feelings and it’s healthy to teach your children that. Communicate with your child (appropriately) and let them know that it’s okay to be emotional on this day. Several moms said that it was helpful to keep themselves and their kids occupied throughout the day so that it distracted them with the positive things that they have in life and kept them from thinking too much about the negative.
6. It’s Okay to Treat Yourself
You are doing the work of two! I say this all the time, single mothers are incredible. It’s perfectly okay to treat yourself and do something just for you. You deserve it! If your ex has or wants the kids for the day, look at it as an opportunity to take a breather for yourself and do something for you.
What you can do? Spend the day at the spa, get a massage, get a mani pedi, buy something nice for yourself, go to the beach, relax by a pool, or hang out with your other single mom girlfriends. There’s nothing like drinking some wine with your fellow single mom friends and celebrating each of you!
How do you celebrate Fathers Day as a single mom? I would love to hear about it. Please share your comments here. Wishing you all (including single mamas) a Happy Father’s Day!