How Do You Celebrate Father’s Day as a Single Mom?

First of all, I have to clarify that I’m not sure I qualify as a “single mom.” I’m single and a mom but as my friends have heard me explain, the former implies that my children don’t have a dad at all (for some reason) and that is not an accurate description of our family. The truth is that my children are very lucky to have a dad that is present, both physically and mentally for them. In fact, I think that he is quite adept at being fully present with them and they love it!(To protect his privacy, I won’t post a pic… although I have gobs of great ones of him with the kids.)

It’s the first Father’s Day since our divorce and I am surprised that I’m emotional about it at all… more so than on Mother’s Day. Maybe I feel guilty that I’m not there to make sure the kids made him a sweet card or remembered to give him the gift we picked out for him. As I got ready for my day this morning, I reflected on how distasteful I’m finding it to be around people who can’t find anything nice to say about others, including their ex-whatevers. And it being Father’s Day and all, I spent my meditation time thinking about the wonderful things that I learned from this man who is the father of my children: authenticity, assertiveness, confidence…. these are lessons I so dearly needed to learn in this life. I am grateful that I chose a good teacher. Even in the midst of our great conflict, I kept reminding myself that I chose the best teacher for me. If I had picked a pushover for a husband, I wouldn’t have been forced to learn them!

I am grateful that my children will learn from him too. I watch my son and never worry about him being too timid or shy, or thinking he can’t do something or have what he wants. It’s part of his nature, it’s part of his dad’s nature. It’s a beautiful thing.

So I titled this post as a question because I’m not sure how to help my kids celebrate Father’s Day for their dad. I wonder if it’s more rude not to acknowledge it at all or by intruding on their family’s celebration by calling. I wonder if his mom made sure that it was a good day.

“Single dads”… or dads who are single, what do you think?

Practical Mommy is Ria Sharon. Click the links for Practical Mommy’s recommendations for travel car seats, affordable and fun diaper bags (skip hop bag), and the best-selling crib brand, Da Vinci Crib.


  1. Ria,

    Follow what’s in your heart, but remember that this is a day for your kids to celebrate. It’s not about you. Support your kids in expressing appreciation for their dad!


  2. Ria: a very nice post…thank you! As a ‘single Dad,’ i have confronted this same query on Mother’s Day.

    I gladly answer your question, though I strongly suspect that you already know the answer — wise woman that you are. My advice to you is that you continue to honor your role as a mother of this Father’s Day…and by that I mean that you continue to do what you’d done in year’s past before you were divorced. In the days leading up to Father’s Day, make certain that you sit and talk to your children about Dad’s Day and get their (usually creative) thoughts about how it should be celebrated.

    By doing so, you are showing your children that you still Honor their father even though you still live apart. . .but you are also shifting the onus somehwat to make certain that the kids are aware of their responsibility in preparing for the day as well. So rather than Mom going on to buy Dad a gift or card or whatever, requesting (forcing? lol) that your children reflect on honoring Dad will leave a positive impact.

    Im the long run, it mirrors the kind of soul you are — and kids are SO smart…they pick up on the energy that “Mom thinks this is important too.”

    When you’re done with all that, and the kids are at Dad’s…I’d highly recommend writing a post for MyMommyManual — or sipping wine coolers for the Day.

    Mission Accomplished.

  3. Thank you, John and Kevin… I can be clear in my intention but sometimes not so much in the execution so I love your input and appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts!

    HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to both of you amazing dads!

  4. ria, words from brothers john and kevin…can’t do better than that.

    your respect for your husband…your intentional nature…these are very real gifts from you to your ex this father’s day. it is also a gift for other’s out there who may find themselves here as well, wondering how to celebrate and honor their ex hubands on this important day for kids…and the kid in all of us.

  5. Funny you say that about the kid in all of us, ZM. We picked out a book on how to make paper airplanes for him! 🙂

  6. Hey Ria,
    Reading what you wrote, it seems that you already celebrated your union and having your children, and really did celebrate Father’s Day. Look at all of the wonderful things that you wrote about your children’s father. Read it again and you get to see that even though you decided your life together was not what you needed, he is a wonderful father to your children and will impart in them something that no one else can do.
    There are things that you cannot do right now because of the situation, but it will all come in time. SImply know that what you wrote is answering what you were really asking . . .all as you wrote it.


    You did a great job!!!

  7. What a refreshing post to read. If more would follow your lead, there would be a lot less bottlenecks in the courts!

    Great attitude and just do what feels right. Being authentic will put in the right place.

  8. beautiful, beautiful tribute to a man you clearly loved for many years. wish my parents were as nice about each other.

  9. Thank you, friends. Thanks for your answers and for “listening” to my personal drama… I was surprised that there was a “hidden trigger” for me there and it was something that I felt I had to write. I hope it helps others.

  10. Nice post. Personally, I believe that a parent that does not have the other parent in the household is a single parent. Thus I define single parenting as: Never married, divorced, widow, divorced and seperated.

    I believe that communication and doing what is BEST for your children is what is keeping the peace for your children and creating an environment where they feel happy, healthy, safe and loved. Way to go!

    I personally get offended when others say “Happy Father’s Day” to me and agree with Kevin Miller’s advice. Do what you would have normally done. Parenting is a lifelong learning process.

  11. Wow, what a great post! I’m a divorced dad with two sons, and have been co-parenting with my ex-wife for 6 years. You are setting the right example-right on track. It’s a shame more single/divorced parents aren’t on the same page, it certainly would make life on our sons and daughters a lot less stressful. The BEST Fathers day message I have seen, thanks for sharing..