He does absolutely nothing to celebrate or acknowledge anything important to me, so he receives the same treatment in return.
Father’s Day…that one magical day of the year when children acknowledge the man who contributed to bringing them into the world and to thank the man who is helping to raise them. It’s important. Kids do need to grow up with a healthy sense of appreciation for their elders and the people in their lives who take care of them; but, I gotta say it really chaps my hide to be expected to shop for Father’s Day gifts for my ex. Hear me out…
1. He barely ever did anything for my special days and holidays when we were married. During our marriage I had birthdays come and go when he never wished me a “Happy Birthday”, let alone got me a cake or a card. I never made a big deal out of getting expensive gifts on special occasions (probably partly to soften the blow for myself since I knew I most likely would get only a little something, or maybe nothing); but, one year I got a case of my favorite soft drink for Christmas, and most of the time I received nothing.
Just once it would have been special to get a sweet little something from him to let me know he loved me or was thinking about me. Meanwhile, I always made sure he had a card and a thoughtful present for every special occasion and I tried to show him in other ways that his special times were important by fixing him a favorite meal, and so on. I mean I know birthdays take on less meanings when we become adults, but come on!
2. If I ever did (or ever will) get anything to recognize Mother’s Day, it’s all on the kids. Thank God for sweet teachers who give children projects to make for their moms to celebrate Mother’s Day, because if these educators didn’t plant the seeds in my kid’s minds, there would be nothing on my day! As it is, I am showered with sweet little cards and homemade treasures that my children make for me at home and school, but they get no support (either now or when we were married) with supplies for their projects, assistance to make anything, or encouragement to remember the day in any way.
This makes me appreciate what my kids think to do even more because I know it’s all coming completely from their sweet little hearts! But, come on, would it have ever hurt to take the kids to a garden center to pick up a few flowers for the patio, to help them bake a cake, or let them buy a card? Again, on every Father’s Day when we were married I let the kids buy him a card and we got him a present that he would really like. Any questions yet about why we’re divorced?
3. He broke my heart on Mother’s Day. I have forgiven, but it’s really hard to forget that on our first Mother’s Day separated, he asked me for part of the day so that his mother could see the kids and spend some time with them for the holiday. I didn’t want to give in because it was my special day and I wanted them all to myself, but their grandma has always been special to them, and I decided to be nice and reluctantly let them have the morning. He proceeded to take my gesture of kindness and thanked me by stabbing me in the back, telling my family and everyone he knew, including the kids, that I didn’t even want them on Mother’s Day!
I was furious that he slandered me in this way when the truth is that I wanted my babies with me, and I’m definitely not the kind of mother who doesn’t even want her kids! Needless to say, I won’t be giving any extra favors on future Mother’s Days, and his actions make me feel even less enthusiastic about doing my part to make Father’s Day special for him.
So, here’s where I’m at with Father’s Day: I don’t spend a dime on my ex or do anything whatsoever to celebrate the day for him. Let’s just say that I’m completely neutral about it. I refrain from bashing him in any way or discouraging the kids from doing anything. If they want to make him cards or come up with something for him, I am perfectly fine with that.
I won’t spend any of my time or money on him, but they are free to recognize their dad however they choose. The way I look at it is that fair is fair. He does absolutely nothing to celebrate or acknowledge anything important to me, so he receives the same treatment in return. My daughter saved her change and bought me a lip gloss for Mother’s Day. If she wants to do something similar for her dad, I would be perfectly fine with that.
I am always sure to show my love and appreciation to the kids when they give me something because I want to encourage them to be generous and thoughtful people; however, I have a real issue with demonstrating to them that I am somehow less if I make a big effort to do for him only to have them see him do nothing for me. Maybe I’m immature about this, but I think this would send them a message reaffirming every negative thing he has ever said about me to see me go out of my way to treat him while openly accepting shoddy treatment from him, as though that’s what I deserve. What do you do for your ex’s Father’s Day?
Steven D. says
Thanks for taking the opportunity of Father’s Day to slam a deadbeat. I’m sure at Mother’s Day, a similar article would be totally acceptable (sarcasm font).
My kids are adults so it’s between them and their dad. I don’t wish him a Happy Father’s Day because the first year we were married he told me ” I wasn’t his mother.” He therefore didn’t owe me anything. He softened over the years and he was a pretty generous gift giver. He cheated in the end so that absolved me of acknowledging him on Father’s Day.
I get where you’re coming from. As long as you don’t bash their father and don’t interfere with them giving gifts to him on their own then you’re golden!
Audrey Cade says
Let me be clear that I am very “pro dad!” I was alienated from my own father as a child, so I know how hurtful that was to me, and I would never want to see another child go through that. I encourage my children to love their dad and have a strong relationship with him because it’s very important to them, and I could never do that to my ex either. My point in this article is not to discourage Father’s Day or to push my children away from celebrating their dad. I hope that when they go to him that day that they will hug him, tell him they love him, and find some nice ways to make his day. I am simply saying that I am removing myself from the equation. They are completely free to love him and wish him a great Father’s Day, but I shouldn’t be expected to spend my money on presents for him, especially now that we are divorced. I would most likely have a very different view on this if he had done nice things for me on my significant days or since our divorce. But, since my days mean absolutely nothing to him, I am just keeping it even. Happy Father’s Day to all of the loving dads out there – you are very important!
Rhiannon johnson says
I would have the kids see grandpa and say what he said about you. See if he likes that medicine.