Mother’s Day is quickly approaching and as a divorced dad this holiday can feel a little awkward.
Your marriage with your ex-wife obviously did not work out, but you should keep in mind that she is still the mother of your children and that deserves recognition on this holiday.
A critical flaw of the family court system is how it breeds hostility between divorcing spouses. Those hard feelings can carry over and cause tension in the co-parenting relationship, which can have negative consequences for the children.
Families would be much better off if society would do more to support couples trying to remain amicable through divorce. However, while it’s not always easy, it is possible to remain friendly after divorce and to even show appreciation for your former spouse.
Certainly, this isn’t the case for everyone. Sometimes, the ex-wife is so disagreeable and hostile that your best course of action is to avoid her as much as possible.
But if you are lucky enough to remain cordial with your ex, there are ways you can handle Mother’s Day to help make it special for her and your kids.
Give up the kids
If you are scheduled to have the kids on Mother’s Day, consider conceding them for the holiday and let your children spend the day with their mother.
Your kids probably want to see their mom on this day, and you should always keep their best interests in mind. You should also keep in mind that this day can be rough on your ex as she tries to celebrate as a single mother. A kind gesture can go a long ways to fostering a healthy relationship between you two.
By letting her take the kids, you are sowing some seeds of good will. Hopefully, she’ll return the favor in the future.
The gift situation
A lot of divorced fathers are unsure whether or not it is appropriate to get their ex a gift for Mother’s Day. And if you do get her something should it come from you, or should the label only include the kids’ names?
Honestly, do what feels most comfortable. If you are comfortable giving your ex some flowers or chocolates, go ahead. If your kids are too young to afford a gift, be sure to help them out. (They might also need some help selecting a gift.)
One factor that can sort of add to the whole awkwardness of Mother’s Day is if your ex now has another significant other.
In that case, you need to be respectful. He might already have planned out the day, in which case it is probably best for you to send your kids with a small gift or card and let them enjoy the day.
You certainly don’t want to do something that is going to risk confrontation on a day meant to celebrate the bond mothers have with their children.
Don’t forget your mom!
If your children do end up spending Mother’s Day with their mom, use the day to celebrate with your own mother.
Your relationship with your ex is obviously complicated, but you don’t have to worry about that when it comes to your own mom. Buy her something nice, take her out to brunch and go out of your way to make sure she knows how much you appreciate everything she’s done for you through the years.