Surviving Father’s Day Dread


Single dads, let’s talk about the elephant in the room…

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day and although it’s a holiday that celebrates the wonder and beauty of mothers, you can’t help but envy the honor and attention they get, knowing in about 30 days you’re probably going to experience something quite different.

Father’s Day is fast approaching and for many single dads it’s not going to be fun.

Of course, not every dad gets neglected or overlooked. For many fathers, its gonna be a grand day. For me, it will be a mix of being honored and loved by my two youngest kids, mixed with wondering if this year my older kids from my previous marriage will remember to call or send a card.

A lot of times we don’t realize it but some of the issues that lead to a bummer of a holiday for non-custodial dads are:

  • The children live out of state.
  • The kids are very young and the ex forgets or refuses to remind them to call dad.
  • The ex wont pick up the phone to allow dad to converse with the kids.
  • The kids are old enough to remember to call or send a card but they are just self-absorbed (forget).
  • The relationship has been damaged (whether by dad’s mistakes or the ex-spouse poisoning their minds against him).

Rather than lighting a candle and staring out the window in despair (which isn’t above me by the way), try making the most of this day that is all about you, regardless of who celebrates with you. It’s okay to do something for yourself and even by yourself.

For those men who are raising their kids alone, I’ve been there too. Father’s Day isn’t automatically awesome just because your kids live with you. In fact, sometimes because they are with you full-time, it can be easy for them to take you for granted.

Maybe the best Father’s Day gift you can think of is getting a break from them. Time alone.

When my kids were too little to make a card or homemade gift, I didn’t have the privilege of having a wife who could fill in for them by giving me a card or cooking a steak dinner. It was up to me to celebrate myself. I’ll admit it’s not as fun as when someone else is celebrating you. It loses its purpose…but I did it anyway because the other option was to light that candle and stare out the window again.

When my kids were old enough to get an allowance I just got honest with them. A few weeks before Father’s Day I would just ask, “What are you planning for Father’s Day?” or I’d say “Hey kids I’m not sure what you are wanting to do for me on Father’s Day but I’d sure love to have some weeds pulled or breakfast in bed.”

Those who have lost their wives to death face unusual challenges. Mother’s Day can be so exhausting emotionally that by the time Father’s Day rolls around you could feel unworthy to be celebrated. Your kids may go out of their way to honor you. But you may feel like down-playing this special day. Try not to cheat your kids out of showing you some love. The road you’re on is hard and lonely and you deserve the attention.

Whatever your lot in life, Father’s Day is what you make it, not what others make of it for you. If you are depending on others to make your day perfect, it’s probably not going to happen and you’ve got a bigger problem of entitlement that needs to be addressed.

Remember, your real worth doesn’t come from how well you’re honored, but from what Christ did for you on the cross. That’s your true identity as a child of God and ultimately, He is the Father we all need to honor on that special day in June.

Tell us, what is your favorite thing to do on Father’s Day?

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