Despite your split, there are still plenty reasons honor your kids' dad.
Father's Day is for dads. That must mean if you're divorced from your kids' father, you can sit back, relax, and not have to worry about organizing gifts and festivities for the day, right? Wrong.
The very least you can do is to talk to your children about how they intend to show their appreciation for their father. And if they need help, you can give them a few sincere and thoughtful ideas because you should appreciate him (and co parent with him) too. Here are nine reasons to appreciate your ex-husband this Father's Day:
1. He Helped Bring Your Kids Into This World
Without him, your kids wouldn't exist. A lot of women tell me they shouldn't have gotten married, but that's always closely followed by, "But then I wouldn't have my kids." I've yet to hear someone say they wish they hadn't had their children.
2. He'll Always Be Your Kids' Father
Children should never have to choose one parent over the other. By talking to your children about Father's Day, you're showing them that they don't have to choose, nor do they have to hide their love for their father from you.
3. He Shares The Parenting Responsibility
As much as you and your ex don't see eye-to-eye on parenting, his perspective may help improve and strengthen your parenting. And when the going gets tough, any extra reinforcement of consequences and discipline helps.
4. He Does Activities With Your Kids That You Don't
There are a lot of activities I'm willing to try, especially if my kids ask me, but there are a few I definitely won't — fishing, playing paint ball, and auto-maintenance to name a few. (I'm not wild about camping either. That's where my ex comes in. He's happy to do "his" activities with the kids. That's a win-win all around!
5. His Parenting Time Means More Free Time For You
This is a no-brainer. When your children are with their father it means alone time for you to do whatever you choose or need to do. It makes life a little easier.
6. He's A Better Parent Than Husband
This might be a difficult reality for you, but it's a benefit for your kids. (Read numbers 1 and 2 again!)
7. He Has Become A Better Parent Since Your Divorce
If your ex has stepped up his parenting game since your divorce, chances are you've thought, If only he'd been like this while we were married. Well, he wasn't. It probably took the dramatic shift in your relationship dynamic to bring this about. As frustrating as this may be, his active involvement now is good for your kids.
8. Not EVERYTHING About Your Marriage Was Bad
After a divorce, it's easy to remember the bad times — fights, disagreements, and ugliness — but in reality there must have been some good times, too. There were times when you made each other laugh and times when you had fun outings as a family. My ex is an avid skier. We were a ski family. I became a much better skier because of him, and our kids have skied since they were toddlers. I see skiing as one of his gifts to us all. This past winter, my daughter joined her college ski racing team and experienced the unique camaraderie of being on a college sports team. And even now, some 20 years and a divorce later, I'm still connected with some of my early skiing friends.
9. You Were Right For Each Other Once
Even though you're no longer a couple, you chose to be together for a reason. Your relationship is part of your journey through life, and it's part of your growth — even if you have grown apart. He is a part of who you are today.
In helping your children honor their father on his day, you're also teaching them an important and valuable life skill about showing appreciation for others. It's a skill that will serve them well as they make their way through school, college and the workplace. If none of that motivates you to help your children honor their father this Father's Day, consider this: Mother's Day is only 330 days away!
Divorce coach Mandy Walker is the founder of the divorce support blog Since My Divorce. Contact Mandy for a free 30-minute "New Beginnings" consultation to find out if divorce coaching is right for you. You can also download Mandy's Visioning Your Life After Divorce workbook.
This article was originally published at Divorce Coach Mandy Walker. Reprinted with permission from the author.