I love this quote; “Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad” ~ Anne Geddes
Father’s Day is an opportunity to honor fathers and celebrate fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. I have always had a soft spot for dads and have never underestimated how equally important a role they play in our kids’ lives.
That said, as a blended family mom do you find yourself feeling some pressure or maybe some uncertainty as Father’s Day approaches this weekend? Are you concerned you will step on toes or perhaps ‘it’s not your job’? Or maybe you have it all sorted. Each family member will have a different perspective and different expectations, so where does that leave us blended family moms?
My role is to support and encourage the children’s relationship with the father figures in their lives, with the goal of making each father feel special and loved on Father’s Day itself. That includes my partner, who is father to his kids and stepdad to mine, as well as my ex, who is father to my kids.
I begin with my own level of excitement in the lead up for Father’s Day, and I encourage all five children in our blended family to be ready for the big day. No matter the relationship, be it ‘bio’ or ‘step’, we flesh out ideas, plan the day and be certain that the role of father and/or stepfather is acknowledged. I will always ensure each child has put in energy into a gift of some sort, be it handmade or store bought. Each child has a gift to give their father and father figures.
Any differences with our exes should be diminished on Father’s Day to clear the way for children to celebrate their fathers with an open heart. My children always spend the night before Father’s Day and the morning of with their dad. I help them coordinate their ideas so they can do special things for their dad when I’m not there. As they get older, they can initiate themselves. Also, I feel it is important to be conscientious if there’s a stepmom in the picture helping the children honor their dad. It wouldn’t make sense to guide my kids to guide my children one way when there’s already another plan in place at their father’s home.
Father’s Day comes with a co-parenting bonus. If Father’s Day is a success for your ex, it’s also an opportunity to reduce conflict going forward. So much of divorce conflict is tied up in our egos, that feeling that we aren’t being properly recognized or even that our parenting is being put down by our ex. The desire to be understood and honored is innate to humanity, and giving our exes what they need goes a long way toward improving co-parenting relations.
A smooth Father’s Day also encourages your partner (stepdad). The children’s enthusiasm for celebrating their stepdad may fall anywhere on the spectrum. Whatever the case may be, his seeing your enthusiasm and appreciate for what he brings to your children’s lives is one of the most important parts of the day.
– Kara Wright