3 Tips for Celebrating Mother's and Father's Day After Divorce

Young girl sits in the grass with a bunch of yellow balloons

Mother’s Day and Father's Day are special times for families to express how much love and appreciation they have for all that the Moms and Dads in their lives do. While these are days of celebration, they have the power to stir mixed emotions if a family is dealing with a separation or divorce.  

Planning for Mother’s and Father's Day can create stress or tension between parents who may already be facing unrelated conflicts. Other family members, like their kids, might struggle to navigate this situation. As much as they might want to celebrate each of their parents on their respective holidays, the worry of hurting the other parent's feelings can sometimes feel all-too-real. 

Helping Kids Celebrate Mother's and Father's Day as Co-Parents

In truth, these holidays are great days to show your kids that even if you and their Mom or Dad are not together, you still acknowledge and value each other's roles as parents. Here are three simple strategies for ways to help your kids celebrate Mother's Day and Father's Day.

Plan Celebrations Ahead of Time

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are parent-specific holidays, so if possible, let your kids spend all or part of each holiday with the parent being celebrated.

Check your calendars to see where your kids are scheduled to be on those days, and consider making adjustments ahead of time if need be. If you will share time on these holidays so that your kids can be with their bonus parent or extended family on these days, plan ahead to make pick-ups and drop-offs go as smoothly as possible

In a situation where parents are out of convenient driving distance from each other, it’s possible that your children might not get to be with their Mom or Dad on each holiday. In this situation, encourage them to connect with the parent who is being celebrated over video chat or a phone call. 

Help Your Kids Plan Gifts & Celebrations

Celebrating Mother’s Day and Father's Day after divorce is a great opportunity for co-parents to show that they recognize and respect the relationship that their kids have with each of them. Let your kids plan what they’d like to do for Mom or Dad on these days, and help them as much as you can to make their plans happen. 

Gifts are another great way to honor parents on these holidays. Again, be supportive of your kids and help them decide on a gift if they'd like to give one to their Mom or Dad.

Perhaps you remember what your co-parent's favorite flower or candy is and can suggest that as a gift idea. Another thought is to help your kids make their own gift at home. Little crafts or baked goods can be a sweet way for your kids to show appreciation.

Besides showing your co-parent that you appreciate what they do for your family, helping your children plan celebrations and gifts can show them that despite your differences, you and your co-parent are still a team. Set aside your frustrations for these days, if not for your co-parent, for your kids.

Build New Traditions

If your family had a routine for this holiday prior to your separation or divorce, you may not be able to make this year’s celebrations turn out the same way. Try not to see this as a roadblock. Instead, see this as an opportunity to build new traditions.  

For example, if you used to host a large family brunch, why not try planning a small get-together with just Mom or Dad and the kids instead. Or, if you used to just spend these days lounging around the house as a family at home, try doing something outside this year like hiking at a local park.

It's worth acknowledging that you may find yourself without your kids on either holiday. It might be tough, but try not to let it get you down. Use that time to do something you can fully enjoy. Make plans with friends, see extended family, or go do something just for you! 

It's not always easy to set emotions aside when co-parenting with a former spouse or partner, but doing so when it counts for your children can go a long way. Not only for the sake of your children's Mom or Dad, make these holidays ones for your kids to fondly remember.