By Katie Davis
Mother’s Day is just around the corner, but many divorced men wonder what to do or plan during this time of the year. Some may have originally been entitled to the kids this upcoming weekend, while others could just be debating about the best way to approach one’s ex on this maternal holiday.
Whatever the case, Mother’s Day is certainly not the easiest day to plan when one is a divorced dad. Remembering that this day is about your children and their experiences with their mother is key to planning this day well.
Read through our tips for planning out a decent Mother’s Day experience below.
Do This for the Kids – If plans are to have your kids at your ex’s place during the Mother’s Day weekend, or even just for that day, don’t be angry. It really is vital to think about your children during this holiday. Even if this date was originally intended to be your parenting time, it’s important to think about what your children want and what is in their best interest here.
In fact, you can event take cues from your kids. As author, life coach and speaker Christina McGhee says, parents should “Make plans to talk with [their] children ahead of time about what they would like to do for Mom on [her] special day.” She suggests listening to their ideas and then, for the most part, following their lead about what they’d like to do for this day.
However, McGhee acknowledges that some ideas may not work and that it’s important for parents or guardians to oversee the kids’ plans: “Remember that it’s okay to set appropriate boundaries around what you can and can’t do.”
Be Transparent and Respectful – Even though your ex and you probably had significant communication problems in the past, and communicating now is likely not any easier, you will most likely need to speak with her in order to plan out this Mother’s Day holiday.
Carolyn Ellis, author of the New York Times bestseller book “Thrive After Divorce” recommends approaching all of this communication, as well as your ex, with a good deal of respect. Ellis mentions that making positive affirmations upfront can be helpful. Make sure to be direct, offer some options and then ask your ex what she thinks about your ideas.
Again, this holiday is about mothers and their children, so it’s best to keep your kids in mind. Don’t use this time as an opportunity to bring up past affairs, arguments or legal complications. Instead, keep a cool head, take slow breaths if necessary and make it your top priority to plan this Mother’s Day out in a respectful manner.
Help with Gifts as Needed – Teenagers or older children won’t need as much help purchasing gifts, particularly if they can already drive. But younger kids will probably rely on your help in selecting gifts, putting them together or even possibly knowing what to do for this day.
This is a perfect opportunity to show your children just how much they can rely on you and how helpful you can be when it comes to events like this one. Plan to help them select gifts or cards, or to facilitate any projects they are putting together.
Do Something Nice for Yourself – If your kids are with their mother, your ex, on Mother’s Day or even for the entire weekend, make sure to recognize and respect yourself as well.
If you’ve followed the steps above, pat yourself on the back and realize that your kids will appreciate the help you’ve given them for this holiday, despite how difficult it might have been to do so. Whether you want to dedicate a day to being outdoors, choose to pamper yourself with a massage or fresh shave or just want to hang out around the house doing something you enjoy, allow yourself to have personal time after all of the planning is finally complete.
Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day for that matter, are usually not quite as straightforward or easy to plan once parents are divorced. But with a little patience, open communication and a focus on the kids involved, these types of holidays can be pulled off successfully.