A Guide To Managing Fathers Day as a Solo Parent

by | Jun 11, 2023 | Solo mum

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

  1. Create New Traditions:

Those of you who know me, will know that I love to create traditions. As solo parents, we have the freedom to create our own family traditions. Whatever works for each of us. I know people who go away for this weekend every year, have an extended family gathering, show thanks to their donor, take part in an activity, anything that helps to create lasting memories together. I find that by focusing on building our unique family traditions, we shift the emphasis from what might be perceived as lacking to what is abundant in our children’s life.

 

Managing Father’s Day as a solo mother with a donor-conceived child requires an open mindset, honest communication, and a celebration of the diverse ways families are formed. By embracing an inclusive perspective, engaging in open dialogue with our children, celebrating role models, participating in activities, and creating new traditions, we can find excitement and celebration in the day. What truly matters is the love and care our children receive from all the significant people in their life, regardless of their biological connection.

I also want to recognise that it can be challenging for some of our children, who wished they had a father in their lives, and so acknowledging this, not trying to minimise it and supporting them through these feelings is essential. This is where open and honest dialogue plays such a critical role, and being guided by our children is so important.

Are you celebrating Fathers Day or do you prefer to avoid it? I’d love to hear how you approach it.

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