by RJ Jaramillo
I was recently asked about how I celebrate Mother’s Day as a single father. It took me a moment to think about the question. Then I realized that, for the single dad, Mother’s Day is actually about our children. I also found that when I have shared my Mother’s Day experiences at SingleDad.com, there seemed to be a common theme among single dads like me who have discovered new relationships with their children as well as with the mother of their children.
First of all, it’s okay to admit that, no matter where we are in our process of being a divorced and/or single father, we all deep down love the mother of our children. This love is different from the love we once had. This love is about the gift of life and the children we created together. Sending that message to our children during Mother’s Day is especially important because it helps to show them that they are not mistakes, and it teaches them about truly selfless love.
One great way to carry this out is to share a few special projects and activities that focus on Mother’s Day. I truly believe the time we invest in making a few homemade cards, baking cookies, or compiling special photos of our children as a gift for Mother’s Day is time well spent. Other wonderful Mother’s Day gift ideas include creating a custom-painted coffee mug or just buying a paint brush and a canvas and asking our children to paint whatever comes to their mind for Mom.
Also, don’t be afraid to offer to watch your children on that special day, therefore giving the gift of Mother’s Day off. Just because married families practice this doesn’t mean it’s off limits for the single-parent family. Their mother may want to just sleep in, spend time with the “girls” or have her own quiet day of reading.
Remember, when it comes to celebrating holidays, we have to continually remind ourselves what is best for our children. A happy family can still be a family where Mom and Dad are no longer together but still love and respect each other. We must always ensure that we are sending the right message of balance, love and respect in the new family environment.
As a father, you will build a stronger bond with your children with this type of family activity, while also setting a very clear example to your children of how you are able to get along as adults and loving parents in a new relationship as co-parents. Your actions should not confuse your children, but if you need to clarify your actions, it is important to be consistent with your message. Explain that your actions are about them.
On Mother’s Day, the best gift you can give their mother is the gift of support and cooperation. It is not about reconciliation, but the fantastic children that you both share and love so very much.
Over the years, I have experienced many special moments during Mother’s Day. I have even received Mother’s Day gifts from my own parents, my children and even my friends who feel that I have given my family a special co-parenting relationship. There is a process in every divorced father’s (single-parent) transition when this realization occurs.
If you’re a single dad, I hope hearing about my Mother’s Day traditions as a single father might help you recognize that Mother’s Day is an opportunity to grow alongside your children in a new way.
Richard “RJ” Jaramillo is a father of three fantastic kids and the founder of SingleDad.com. With over nine years of experience helping single dads like himself get back on their feet, RJ is excited to share what he had learned so that the transition to “Make Life Happen…Again” is easier for other single dads out there.