Not sure how to handle your first Father’s Day since the separation? Here’s Joe from Melbourne’s take on it after he overcame his first Father’s Day as a separated parent last year:

“It was my first Father’s Day since the separation. I could feel it getting closer and closer and I just wasn’t sure how to handle everything. I knew that it would be different to previous years, but how? It was her weekend with the kids, so how would that work? I didn’t know where to start, but all I knew is that I didn’t want my separation to affect such a special day with my children.

The key was communication. Communication with my ex-partner, and communication with my kids. At the end of the day, this was just as much about them as it was about me. I knew that my ex was due to have the kids that weekend, and I really wasn’t sure whether or not she would be willing to swap weekends, or even whether she would be willing to give up enough time for a lunch. The unknown was the stressful part. I eventually decided to just call my ex and discuss the options with her… and it was surprisingly easy. She agreed to swap weekends, I think she realised that Mother’s Day would come around soon enough, and she’d expect the favour returned.

The second obstacle was trying to think of something new. Traditionally, we would always go to a local restaurant for a meal followed with an afternoon at home playing and hanging out. But I knew that I wanted to create new memories, and new traditions. Then I realised this is what I wanted… but what did my kids want? So I asked them, I put forward a few suggestions of things to do or places to go, including our traditional option, and the kids chose a BBQ at the park – an opportunity for a new tradition going forward.

All of a sudden, I wasn’t worried or nervous about the looming Father’s Day, I was excited and glad to have the opportunity to continue celebrating the day, even given our new circumstances as a family.”

Joe – Melbourne, father of two.