Father’s Day Dilemma – the modern family

It is Father’s Day on Sunday. Which reminds me I must get a little something for my dad to take with us to Pretoria next week, I have the best dad in the world, but I digress. I have not really said anything about Father’s day, just that they need to make some cards for their dad who is in England. Rachel has been asking when Father’s day is since it was Mother’s day. She wants to buy Yme a present and make him breakfast in bed. She knows he is not her dad, she says he is like her step dad. He is very careful to tell them that he is not their dad. Yme thinks I should tell her that we can’t do Father’s Day with him, but I am not sure. The reality is that they see him on a daily basis and he is an important person in their life.
What do you think?
Those who have mixed families with step parents and new relationship what do your kids do on Father’s day?
On this note I am also not sure what to do about Caleb and his dad. They have not seen their dad since last year June when Callie was only 2. He has not been that good at speak on the phone obviously because he is so little. They do Skype although we have not been able to recently with the connection and internet problems. G phoned Caleb on his birthday but he would not speak to him. I know that it really upset G but I am not sure what to do. He would not speak to my sister either when she phoned him that day. People he has not seen for a long time from the UK he is reluctant to speak to on the phone. He does not like the phone much at the best of times
How much is it my responsibility to make sure they have a relationship? I could say that it is his choice not to see them and to work in the UK and that seeing them is more important than getting a British Passport which is his main goal, and he could say I took the kids away and he has no money to come see them and that it is my fault he does not see them, but blaming each other back and forward is not going to help heal the relationship between father and son.

When we have Skype I will make sure they Skype more, I will get him to make a Father’s day card for G. I thought maybe I should get a photo from him and put it in the kid’s room? Maybe I could ask G to email them with pics of where he is and what he is doing, so they can get a better idea and see more pics of him? Any other ideas? Or do I just leave it and let them work it out as he gets older?

Comments
  • Alet June 18, 2010 at 11:53 am

    How often have you needed to make a plan to do xyz for your kids?

    If he wanted to see his kids he would make a plan. If he isn’t here and Caleb doesn’t want to speak to him over the phone, he only has himself to blame!

    We all make our decisions, UK passports are important but certainly not as important as having a relationship with your kids! If he wanted to, he could make a plan!

    I am going all out for father’s day for Kobus. Logan made a father’s day gift at school and wants to give it to Kobus, not his dad! I am celebrating father’s day not sperm-donor-day!

  • cat@juggling act June 18, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Eish, very difficult one. I have no idea what to do about the “real” dad issue. As to YME – I think a bit of a tribute is fine. Why not? Family in hte traditional sense of the word is very seldom found today.

  • Twistygirl June 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    I have an uncle that I love like my dad, so I have also always made him fathers day gifts, but then I would just make up a cute name for it like Unclad (uncle dad) or half-father or in oompa in afrikaans.
    Perhaps you should think of something cute for Yme if your kids want to do something for him and that way they can show their love even though he isn’t their dad. He is the one who is present after all, so there’s nothing wrong with celebrating fathers day with him

  • Damaria Senne June 18, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    I wonder if stopping Callie from doing anything about Father’s Day this year won’t blow the event out of proportion for her? In the years to come, she may remember she was sad she was not allowed to celebrate Father’s Day with Yme this year, rather than the actual reasons. I’d say, let her enjoy the day the way she wants. As you know, you do tell her he’s not her dad and eventually it will register as she grows older. And she’ll still appreciate his standing in….

    As for the situation between your ex and your son, that’s the tough one. What’s the best thing to do for your son? Never mind what your ex should be doing, his priorities etc…. what can you do to help your child feel less disconnected from his father? If you feel that you’re already doing everything you can ( ensuring you have internet connection, facilitating skype conversations, getting things from you ex to give to your son), then that’s it.

    Speaking from a parent who had to make sure my daughter had a good relationship with her biological mother, i have to say it’s not easy to push for a closer relationship and facillitate communication when you suspect it’s the other party’s responsibility. But, kids don’t forget, and mine (now 12) recently pointed out that she was aware that I pushed for a closer relationship with her Mom and she appreciates it, So you can be Mom who was Mom, or you can be Mom who also gave your son a bigger slice of his dad.

  • blackhuff June 18, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    My nephew which have 2 stepsons, loves him very much. He too also told his wife that they shouldn’t make a fuss about Father’s day to him but the stepsons did not agree and made a Father’s day celebrations every year to him although they had their real dad as well.

    Give your children the choice, like you say, Yme is part of their everyday life. They see him as a father figure.

    Just my 2 cents

  • JessicaGiggles June 18, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    I think Yme should be honoured that your kidlets want to celebrate Father’s Day with him. Although they know he isn’t their dad, he is the father figure and it’d be nice to spoil him.

    I think you should encourage your kidlets to make cards for G and send along a current pic of them each. And you should encourage G to make more of an effort with sending them pics of himself and phoning more often. There is only *so* much you can do, but as long as you try keep a relationship between him and the kidlets going, you can’t go wrong… *hugs*

  • tiah June 18, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I think there is two issues – isn’t there?

    The Step-dad: which is, “Happy Step-dad…thank you for being an active part of my life.” Making it clear it is “step” and not dad. Or make up a whole new name for him. Don’t even have to call it Father’s Day. BFG day? (Big Friendly Giant – which Po uses on her blog)

    As to dad…always tricky. They say it is better to take the high road, but that doesn’t mean you always have to take bend like gumby. Like the idea of a nice framed photograph of each child (or hand print), then make the child make a card to the best of their ability (decorate the handprint as the card?). Then you played nice, the children made an effort, nobody can say 15 years later that you stood in the way.

  • Sharon June 18, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    G can still have a relationship with his kids if he wants to. He can email & comment on their blog they now have. I understand that with your recent “connection” issues this wasn’t possible but it always has been and is now again. How much he communicates with them is up to him.
    I agree with Alet, I am celebrating “Fathers Day” and not sperm donors day. We are also going all out and J is making a card for L, we have a gift and will spoil him on Sunday. If you kids want to spoil Yme then let them, it is their choice. They know he is not their dad, but he is still fulfilling that role in their lives and if they want to celebrate that fact then let them.

  • Laura June 18, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    This is a hard one but my take (after dealing with my ex for 4 years) is that their relationship with their father is not your responsibility. He needs to maintain contact in a way he sees fit. He needs to deal with Caleb not wanting to talk to him and take it from where it comes.

    Just read Damarias comment and understand that side too – I still wouldnt push it. Keep the channels as open as you can and encourage them to talk to him etc but I wouldnt push!

    Let Rachel do what she feels comfortable doing and explain to Yme that chances are if you dont let her do it it will create more questions and confusion for them both. She is old enough to know who her dad is so knows where the line is but clearly wants to show appreaciation for what he has done!

  • Barb June 18, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    (said with love)
    I think as a mother it is your responsibilty to keep the door open for a relationship with their father – you do not have to lie but you do need to do everything you can to keep him in their thoughts and love in their hearts (just because the love for you is not there does not mean it is not for them or cannot still grow kwim) – no matter what he is a good dad and though his motivations may in most minds be strange, in his head his decisions resulting in him being away is also for them (he may imo have it wrong but the intention is what he thinks is for them).

    All the things you mentioned in your last paragraph are good ideas – you do not have to do anything for him but you do need to help THEM have their dad in their life.

    As for having Fathers day for Yme – let the kids lead you, the day is as much about the children as it is about the father (or in this case father figure). It is a day that makes them feel special having someone special.

  • Astrid June 22, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Sally, well done on coming this far :) love the hair and I love the new you !!!! You are pure aspiration to me. Astrid x

  • Esther June 27, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    I agree with those that say you should keep the lines open for the children and G from your side as much as possible. Decide for yourself how much is enough. And then the rest he has to do. Relationships with natural dads are always difficult after divorce and the great ones are when the dad made extra effort. He wasn’t just a sperm donor.

  • I am send my step mom a mothers day card every year, I believe she should do something small for yme.

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