Navigating holidays such as Mother’s Day can be difficult after a divorce. Your parenting plan may have the kids with you, the father, on Mother’s Day. Although you are no longer together, you may still wish to accommodate your ex-spouse’s wishes as an acknowledgment of Mother’s Day, to show your children that you can still get along or simply for the sake of being civil co-parents.
Learn how to successfully navigate Mother’s Day after a divorce in a way that keeps the peace without compromising your rights as a dad.
Custody and Mother’s Day
The best way to handle holidays such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is with a parenting plan that works for both of you. Factoring in every holiday, vacation and special occasion in your original parenting plan can help you and your ex-spouse avoid potential problems. You can agree in your parenting plan, for example, that the kids will always be with the mother on Mother’s Day and with you on Father’s Day.
If you and your ex-spouse did not account for Mother’s Day in your original parenting plan, it is up to you whether or not to make a concession for the holiday now. The best way to avoid potential conflict is to support the mother’s wishes as much as possible, as long as this doesn’t interfere with your custody rights as a father.
There are benefits that can come with being flexible and accommodating your co-parent’s wishes on Mother’s Day. Allowing her to have the kids even if it is not her parenting time, for example, could make your ex more likely to do the same for you in the future. Letting your kids spend the day with mom can make your co-parenting relationship more amicable – helping everyone involved.
There are exceptions, of course, if your ex-spouse does not have any custody or visitation rights, or if you believe your kids could be in danger with your ex. In this scenario, follow your parenting plan and do not concede to pressure from your ex-spouse on Mother’s Day. Always do what is in the best interests of your child, regardless of the holiday.
Support Your Children
Although Mother’s Day is centered on mom, your priority as a father lies with your children. Support your kids by doing your best to ease a strained relationship with your ex-wife and work together to plan holidays.
If your family had traditions on Mother’s Day before the divorce, it can be even more difficult to celebrate these holidays after the breakup. Breaking from family traditions can cause stress, especially for younger children. Stay positive and work with your ex-spouse and kids to adopt new traditions for Mother’s Day for them to look forward to.
Communicate With Your Co-Parent
You can facilitate compromises and agreements with your ex through open and honest communication. Express your wishes and listen to her wishes for Mother’s Day. If either or both of you have significant others, tread carefully. Talk to your ex to determine if his or her new spouse has already made Mother’s Day plans. Do your best to work with them, not against them. Communication can help keep conflict out of your Mother’s Day celebrations. This can give your kids a more fun, peaceful holiday to remember.
Focus on What You Can Control
After a divorce, you ultimately do not have a say in your ex-spouse’s decisions. As long as your ex is obeying the directions of a court order, you will not have the legal right to retaliate or demand parenting time, or vice versa.
It is your choice whether or not to compromise with your ex on Mother’s Day. Doing your best to accommodate her wishes on this holiday, however, can make the day more special for your kids. Navigating Mother’s Day and other holidays after a divorce with an open mind and flexibility can make things easier for the whole family.