Let me preface this article with a caveat: what I am writing here applies not only to mothers on Mother’s day, it is applicable to fathers on Father’s day and to both parents for all significant events, holidays, birthdays, etc.
Mother’s Day is approaching quickly. Mothers’ Day hasn’t ever been my favorite day. This isn’t a specific result of my divorce however the divorce made my feelings toward the day more intense. My relationship with my mother is strained so I don’t really enjoy Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day Dread
Special occasions are one of the many times we should put our children and the example we set for them above all other emotions. I won’t lie, sometimes this is difficult however rising above my selfishness is an example I want to set for my children. One of the things I have done throughout my marriage, separation, and divorce is making sure my children had money to spend on their dad, his parents, and their cousins for special occasions if the kids wanted to do so.
Even when their dad is manic and on the warpath I want my children to learn the right way to treat people. I want them to recognize sometimes we have to respect the position people hold in our lives even if it is difficult to respect them as an individual.
My ex is their dad, he always will be.
So I teach our children to get him Father’s day cards and gifts on special occasions. We celebrate all the special occasions in his life. No gifts or cards are from me, they are all from our children but I want to allow them to express their love and respect to him. Some years we can afford more than other times; sometimes they give homemade cards and candy because money is tight. They always give him something.
My ex does not reciprocate the feelings I have about respect. This means my special occasions, if our kids want to get something for me, or do something special for me I have to foot the bill. Kind of takes the fun out of it doesn’t it? So, instead of my children bought me something I normally give them a list of things they can do for me that I would appreciate. Things on the list range from extra chores around the house to encouraging notes, artwork, homemade cards, simple things they are able to do without my knowledge.
You know what?
My kids are awesome!!! Valentine’s day I came home to a dark house, a path lit with candles, romantic music playing, I followed the path through my home (it was lined with cute paper hearts they had cut out), to my bedroom where my youngest son was sitting surrounded by tea light candles (with a rose in his hand), he spread his arms and said: “mom, I will be your valentine”. I cried! My kids are amazing. He was my Valentine’s date. We went to the movies and, had McDonald’s and that was the best Valentine’s day I have had in my life.
The point is a little thoughtfulness goes a long way. Help your children express their love for your ex. My divorce is a high conflict divorce, things between us are not amicable but that doesn’t change how I want my children to treat their dad. Always make sure your children have the freedom and means to express their love and appreciation to your ex no matter how difficult the relationship between the adults may be.