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A Minimalist’s Guide to Dealing with Father’s Day as a Divorcee

Because any more steps and you risk being “that ex-wife.”

(P.S. You don’t want to be “that ex-wife.”)

Step 1. Go ahead and just say it.

Say it with me: Happy Father’s Day.

See, that wasn’t so bad was it? You’re still alive. You’re still intact…for the most part. And notice that I didn’t force you to put an exclamation point at the end.

Just say it, keep it simple, keep it sweet–not too sweet unless you’re really compelled to do so.

No matter what kind of husband he was or even what kind of father he was before today, the fact is today your children are celebrating their father, and I recommend acknowledging that. Show your kids that mommy and daddy can not only get along but can appreciate the other for what they do. If bitterness if making this first step tough, focus on the kind of person you are showing your children that you can be instead of all the wrong he has done. It takes 2 seconds, and it’s the mature thing to do.

Step 2. Reward yourself.

With the kiddos gone for the day, find a way to reward yourself for all that you have done for your family this year so far. Make a pedicure appointment, take you and a fellow divorcee out to a pasta dinner, hit up the gym, dance around naked, go to a grownup movie, splurge on a nice bottle of champagne, whatever it is that you haven’t been able to do when the kids are around. Surrender your responsibilities for the day to your ex-husband and focus on you.

Step 3. Now disappear!

Yes, go away. Don’t make a peep. Let this day be for the father of your children.

So he slept with half of your office before cleaning out your bank account and spent your kid’s college fund on a pair of silicone bags for his new 22-year-old girlfriend?

Let it go. Just for today at least.

Aside from a single check-up call, don’t blow up his phone, don’t show up to his place uninvited, don’t bring up the past…just don’t. Tomorrow, if you must, you can go back to the tongue lashing and side-eye glares, but let him have today. Whether or not he ever let you enjoy yours is irrelevant.

Again, it’s about being the kind of person you should be for your kids. They are watching and feeling everything you do. If your ex-husband is being a great example of how one handles such a tragedy as divorce, count your blessings and be thankful for not only you but your children as well.

And if he’s not, all the more reason for you to be that person they can look up to later in life when they inevitably have to deal with a crisis. They’ll remember how well you handled your own situations and how you did it with grace, maturity, and restraint from causing automotive harm.


  1. Elisa, you’re so wise and poised! As hard as it is to show respect to someone who didn’t earn it, being bitter does not make one feel better either, so… this step-by-step is the way to go 🙂

    • Thank you so so much, Iris! <3
      Trust me, I know how hard this can be, but I'm so glad you agree that bitterness and resentment are harmful to everyone involved.


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