At first glance, Father’s Day is about a father and his children. However, in separated families this day can often have a great effect on the mother. Perhaps she is required to help shop for a gift, run the father’s day stall at school, get out the glitter and help make the card, maybe it’s her scheduled weekend, or perhaps it’s just the unwanted reminder of her ex-spouse. Yesterday we heard from Joe. Today his ex-wife Karen tells us about the same day from her point of view.
“As Father’s Day approached us, I could feel myself getting more anxious as to what would happen. Did he expect to have the kids for the whole weekend , even though it was my weekend with them? How supportive do I need to be? These were both questions that I didn’t know the answer to as it was the first of these ‘special days’ since our separation. But as the day loomed, I realised that it may be the first, but it certainly won’t be the last. I kept in mind that it wasn’t about what I wanted, it was about what the kids wanted, and negotiation and communication would help us arrange a successful day for them.
At first, I was completely surrounded by it. Father’s Day ads on TV and in the newspaper, I was even asked to help out on the Father’s Day stall at the kid’s primary school. It was a constant reminder of my ex-husband, someone I did not want to be reminded of. Even the kids started at me, asking for help with making him a card and buying a present. This was the last thing I felt like doing.
But then it hit me, Mother’s Day would come around eventually, and I asked myself – would I like the favour returned? So when the phone rang, and it was Joe asking to swap weekends with me, I obliged. I could see it in the kid’s faces that they were excited to spend time with their Dad and to give him their special hand-made cards. This was going to be a special day for them, an opportunity to celebrate their Dad. And at the end of the day, while he and I have our differences, he is still a great father to the kids, and it was important to keep that in mind.”
Karen – Melbourne, mother of two.