8 Ways to Handle Father's Day Without the Kids

By: Wendi Schuller
Last Update: November 01, 2016

It can be difficult when Father’s Day does not fall during one’s time with the children. Perhaps a holiday swap is feasible, with trading Mother’s Day or another one for Father’s Day. With my parents’ divorce, I spent the holiday with whoever’s turn it was to have me. Decide if you want to be around others or by yourself on your special day. Sorting out your feelings will be a guide for what to do on Father’s Day.

1. Do something enjoyable

I was on my own for Mother’s Day, so I bought a book and went to a coffee shop with comfy chairs where I could linger. Some of my male friends can happily spend a chunk of the day wandering around a large hardware store. Check with the Chamber of Commerce to see what events and activities are happening in your community. Think about taking a guided walk in your own city. One divorced fellow told me he had a great time going on a “Ghost Tour” when living in London.

2. Volunteer on Father’s Day

Charities are particularly short-staffed on holidays and can use an extra pair of hands. Shelter dogs have to be walked and the homeless have to eat. Think about what gives meaning to your life and consider volunteering for a non-profit in that area. Divorced friends have volunteered at lively festivals, and ushered at concerts and plays.

3. Find out if your family is having a get-together on Father’s Day

Give your dad special attention and take your folks out to lunch. Perhaps you can go over to a sibling’s house and have some fun with nieces and nephews. This can be family time even though your kids are not there.

4. Check something off your to-do list

Distraction works great for taking one’s mind off troubles and missing the youngsters. Is there a film you have been longing to see, but is not kid friendly? Are there some projects that you have been meaning to finish? This could be the day to visit an exhibit or museum that has been on your to-do list.

5. Do something physical to let off steam and release angry or sad emotions

Some guys go to the batting cage, hit golf balls, play squash, and so forth. Gather up your buddies to go on a strenuous hike, swim, or run. Focusing on a physical endeavor helps your mind stay on the task at hand and not dwell on disappointment.

6. Spend time with friends 

Are there other fathers who are in the same predicament – not being with their kids? See what they are doing and join in. Perhaps go en masse to a sporting event or have your own football match. Stave off loneliness by doing an activity with friends.

7. Get away and have an adventure

If you have been wanting to tick something off your bucket list, this could be the weekend to do so. One divorced dad went golfing in Scotland. Others have taken treks in foreign locales, including a jungle in Indonesia and the Inca Trail. Visit a nearby national park. This would be a good weekend to go camping. Studies have indicated that being outdoors improves mood and well-being. Go whitewater rafting, kayaking, or some activity out in nature.

8. Catch up on work

Get ahead so it is easier to clear your schedule for when you have the kids. Some divorced people work on the holidays when the kids are with their other parent. This is particularly doable in the medical or retail setting. It is also a way to get some overtime pay.

It is okay to pretend a holiday does not exist when not with your children, if you would rather not deal with it. Some co-parents celebrate the holiday, like Father’s or Mother’s Day on another weekend when the youngsters are back with them. Father’s Day can be just as fun on a Saturday when going to a movie or amusement park with your children.


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