When I was married, I made it my job to help my children love up their dad on Father’s Day. Now that we’re divorced, I haven’t felt as much motivation to tie shop, make cards and prep breakfast.
But this year Ex stepped it up for my Mother’s Day. In a previous post, I wrote about how I wanted to make Mother’s Day about having fun with my kids, not about pressure. Get this: Ex helped me to pay for a trip to an amusement park with the kids. It was my best. Mother’s. Day. EVER.
Even with his sweet gift, I still struggle for motivation to help give him a fantastic Father’s Day. I get irritated with him and our everyday routine sharing custody of three kids (ages 5, 9, 12). I regress into a bratty adolescent. On my best days (think well-rested, cheery, not hangry) I am the stellar ex-wife who aims to model grace, civility, and respect. I wish that I had more of those days.
On my bratty days, I have a few reasons for opting out of Father’s Day for the Ex. Here are four excuses I use for not giving your Ex the best Father’s Day ever.
He Doesn’t Deserve It
I know–my kids can handle Father’s Day on their own with a small push from me. If they want to kick it up a notch to buy him a snazzy gift, then I’m the gatekeeper. I help them to shop or order online. And I pay for it. On my angry days, I become a martyr who has suffered more than any woman ever has in the ENTIRE world. He doesn’t deserve my helping him. Take that.
It’s Not My Problem
You don’t want to hear me gripe when I’m feeling resentful. I list all of the reasons that my children can handle Father’s Day on their own. Never mind that my youngest has just learned to spell her name–she can certainly tackle a homemade card without my help. Besides–he and I are divorced. It is NOT my problem anymore to ask the kids if they’ve made a macaroni necklace for Daddy or not. If the kids forget–oh, well.
I Don’t Have Time for This
Oh, really? When do I have time to arrange for all this gift-giving and breakfast planning? I have a million things to do. Boundaries! My time is better spent cleaning out the kids’ closets. That’s right. That is certainly more important. (Reading my thoughts as I type them is making me cringe.)
Working With Her
I need an adult on the inside to pull off fancy Father’s Day plans because my oldest can’t quite do it yet. That means I need to be comfortable with collaborating with Her. My friends who are divorced tell me that I’ll reach a point where texting Her won’t bother me. Till then, I’m mute. Nuh-uh. I may be an adult, but I won’t act like one. I’ll toss aside our Father’s Day ideas. (You would think I was looking revenge for a stolen Prom date. Seriously, Jackie. Grow up.)
We know Father’s Day is not about the macaroni necklace, the cheap tie or the homemade coupon book. My kids make memories showing their dad that they love him. I can help them feel the joy of preparing s supersweet Father’s Day. I want to help them while they’re young–even if I want to flick Ex in the forehead sometimes. Co-parenting isn’t simple, but I want to do my best–even when I’m overtired, hangry or moody. If I set my mood right, the real gift of giving a loving Father’s Day is mine.