How I Handle Being a Single Mother with Full Custody on Father’s Day
By Chantal Saville
Jun 14, 2018
I hate to burst your bubble, but it’s not two days at a spa on Father’s Day weekend. At least it isn't for me. When you’re in the 24/7, 365-days-a-year role of mom and dad, these parent-focused holidays are a bit of gut wrench. After all, what better way to remind your child that you live in a different house and they aren't delivering a school-made craft to their dad?
Luckily, by around fourth grade, these themed crafts at school have fallen by the wayside. But there’s no escaping the advertising on television and elsewhere, all touting gifts and love for dad in June.
In our case, there’s no dad. And as the mom — who is also being the dad — there’s no day off. Not on Mother’s Day, nor Father’s Day. Really, there's no day off on any day.
Relevant Reading: Why Mother's Day Can Be Hard When You're a Divorced Mom
Maybe you’re thinking: that sounds awful! Well, it isn’t. It’s all about taking in the fringe benefits and loving every minute of them.
Of course, I’m not referring to true co-parenting relationships, where there is 50-50 shared access, where both mom and dad participate equally in the parenting. That's not our experience. But according to one divorced mom friend of mine, their set up can be a real blessing. She arranges it so that the dad has the kids for at least part of Mother’s Day weekend and she has them for at least part of Father’s Day weekend, freeing each person up to have some time off.
Really, there's no day off on any day.
Since I don't have that opportunity, I see holidays like these as opportunities to talk.
I don’t get the day off on Father’s Day, but I do get a chance to connect with the kiddo about a topic that she's usually quite silent about. For 364 days of the year, she seems relatively unscathed by the concept of divorce and her dad’s absence from her life. So as a single parent with 100 per cent care of my daughter, I get a card on Mother’s Day, a terrible cup of coffee (sorry kiddo!) and a muffin, delivered to my room. On Father’s Day, we take a day trip out of the house and away from tech. It can be to the beach or out of town — as long as it’s away!
Relevant Reading: The Health Risk of Loneliness
And it’s on this day that she usually talks about her dad. In the confines of the car, with neither of us looking at the other, she can open up a little about how she feels. With every passing year, those feelings morph and change, as she matures and develops a stronger understanding of life in general.
So while I may not get a day at the spa, I do get a chance to connect with my daughter on a topic that matters. I get to see her resilience and how she is growing into such a strong, smart and sassy young woman. And I get all the hugs, kisses and "I love you, mom" I can handle. Works for me.