Mother’s Day is a special day for Mum’s everywhere.
It’s an opportunity to get presents, brekkie in bed and a day together doing something fun with the kids. It’s also a time to foster in children the attributes of generosity and gratefulness. It’s a time to acknowledge everything mothers do. An occasion to say thank you for the clean clothes, delicious and nutritious food, taxi rides all over town, hugs, kisses and unconditional love. But is it ONLY a day for mothers and what role does a divorced or separated father play for his children on Mother’s Day?
In my experience as a practitioner, some have argued that they don’t owe ‘her’ anything. I have heard it said that the school will organise something and that’s enough for what ‘she’ does. I have even been told that it’s not ‘my job to worry about her anymore – her parents (new husband/boyfriend) can do that now’ or ‘she doesn’t get me anything on Father’s Day so why should I bother?’. But again, I ask the question – and please notice how it is presented – what role does a FATHER play FOR HIS CHILDREN at Mother’s Day?
If it were a game of tit-for-tat between two children in the school yard, then perhaps any of the above attitudes could be excused. But it isn’t. It is the serious business of raising little humans who will grow into fully fledged adults, contributing to society and maybe even having children of their own.
What type of people would we like them to be? Generous or selfish? Thoughtful and considerate or ignorant and self-centred? Empathetic or narcissistic? What traits would we like our adult children to posses? If we would like them to remember other people’s birthdays and special events, how will we teach them? If we want our children to be thoughtful of others’ feelings and grateful for the contribution those close to them make to their life, how will they learn to be this way? What opportunities are available to us as Mum’s and Dad’s, to help our children grow into emotionally sensitive beings?
Perhaps Mother’s Day is an opportunity for us as parents, to teach our children how to be thankful for the good things in their lives. Even if we think the job our ex-spouse is doing for our kids is not that great – I can bet our kids love their Mum and love at least one thing they cook, or make, or do.
What would it be like to focus on even just one thing we know our child likes about their Mum and support our child to celebrate that one thing? What do you think that might be like for your child? How great do you think your little person would feel to be supported and encouraged by you, to say thank you to their Mum? What would it be like for your child to make a card with you, or go shopping for a $5 gift– something they bought and could give to their Mum? Can you imagine the joy written across their face? Can you feel their excitement as they wrap the special little gift they’re going to hide until they can pull it out and surprise their Mum? Can you feel your happiness in knowing you had a hand in putting that big smile in their little heart? Can you imagine your adult child, shopping for their own spouse on their first Mother’s Day – remembering the wonderful time they shared and the gifts that were made or bought with you?
Wouldn’t that be an amazing gift to give your child – and even yourself?