Father’s Day is coming up next weekend. It has been celebrated for over a century, dedicated to honouring the contributions and importance of fathers in our lives. However, as societal norms and family structures continue to evolve, we need to adapt to make it relevant in today’s world, if we even want to keep it at all.
For solo mothers who have conceived using a donor, this day can sometimes feel stressful. How do we approach it? Will it make our children feel sad, or like they are missing out? While it may seem like something to avoid at first, actually we can choose to navigate this day in a way that works for our own personal circumstances and preferences. We can make it a day of celebrating the love and support our children receive, no matter where that comes from.
These are my 5 tips on how to manage Father’s Day as a solo mother of a donor-conceived child.
- Communication and Connection
We can use the opportunity of this day to continue the conversations with our children about their conception story. We can read them one of the many books available about donor conception and have an open discussion about our family structure. We can talk to them about how they are feeling, answer any questions they may have. We can discuss with them how they’d like to celebrate the day, so that they have choice and a say in what it means for them. Or whether they’d prefer to just not acknowledge it. Giving them their own choice when they are old enough can be powerful.
- Inclusive Celebrations
Father’s Day traditionally emphasises the role of biological fathers, but not all children have a traditional father figure in their lives, so this doesn’t have to be what the day is about for everyone. In our house we celebrate FUDGE Day, which is a more inclusive version that celebrates: Friends (or Fathers), Uncles, Donors, Grandparents and Everyone. We love a celebration and this is a good opportunity to shape one that works for us.
We love the opportunity to recognise and appreciate the various individuals who provide love, support, and guidance to our children. Whilst our children may not have a traditional father figure in their lives, it’s a great opportunity to reinforce the diverse ways families are formed and to celebrate the love and support they receive from the important people around them.
- Recognising Positive Influences in Our Lives
We ensure that our Fathers Day (FUDGE Day) celebration serves as an opportunity to recognise, appreciate and celebrate the positive figures in our lives (not only the male ones). These individuals can include aunts and uncles, grandparents, step-parents, mentors, or family friends who provide guidance, support, and love to our children. Shifting the focus from a strict biological definition of fatherhood to a celebration of all nurturing and positive influences ensures that Father’s Day remains meaningful and inclusive for our children.
I encourage Daisy to express her gratitude and appreciation for the support, guidance, and love she receives from her nearest and dearest. We will be making cards and small gifts to show our appreciation for the significant people in our lives. This not only acknowledges their presence but also serves to strengthens the connection with these important individuals.
- Personalising the Celebration
Rather than avoiding Fathers Day completely, as this can be hard for our children, who may struggle to avoid it at nursery or school, as well as being a shame to miss out on a celebration, we can decide to view it any way we like. It can be an opportunity to personalise the celebration to fit our individual family dynamics. Each of us can redefine Father’s Day in a way that best reflects our unique circumstances. This may involve celebrating male influences, all role models, creating new traditions, or emphasising the importance of love, care, and support within our family. Of course, we can also chose to just completely avoid it, if that is our preference. I’m just always one to join in a celebration if possible and make it fit for us!