Fathers Day for some families can be a minefield of loneliness, isolation and frustration – a time when the distance from family feels massive for those dads who are separated by work on the day that is chosen to recognise Dads.
We are a FIFO (fly in fly out) family and this year my husband will be home for Fathers Day – the first time in five years. We will treasure this time together, especially as he has missed all family birthdays this year and flew out at 6am on Easter morning.
Our family, I am proud to say, is mostly happy, functional and very connected. We are well practiced in being able to make events special, even when one of us is not be physically present.
Here are our top five tips for Fathers Day when you are apart -
- Eliminate the pressure – there is no perfect way to celebrate Fathers Day. Did you know it isn’t even the same day around the world? So, instead of feeling down and miserable all day why not make the most of it in other ways. If a family member is feeling the pressure, listen to their concerns and help them see it in another way.
- Make a time to connect in ways you can – phone, Skype, text, send a video and send pictures. Be funny, be serious, and be thoughtful.
- Loud and Proud Gratitude – Whether you are the kids, dads or mums, each of you can take turns to share what you are grateful for. What makes Dad special, what makes your kids special to you, what is it that Mum does that makes Dad’s life easier?
- Praise and presents – Plan ahead and have notes hidden in luggage and around the house. Have packages of special things ready to be posted so they arrive for the day. Get everyone involved.
- Move Father’s Day – Which is the Sunday closest that you are all together? Why not make that a day filled with celebrating Dad?
Most parents I speak to aren’t so much affected by how they feel missing out on special occasions or days – they are more concerned, and plagued with elements of guilt, as they worry about how their children may feel. The school had a fathers day stall, other parents are planning a big day out and the media hype around Fathers Day is relentless. Here is a secret many parents eventually discover – kids can survive anything, and heal, if they have parents who listen and support them processing their emotions.
Children look to their parents to understand the world around them. Instead of making the separation on a specific date a negative one, make it mean something different – the surprise package preparation, making funny videos, planning your own personal Fathers Day when you are all together again. You will be teaching your child how to be resourceful in their thinking and actions when there are life obstacles in the way.
How can your family be different and create special celebrations and moments this year for your Fathers Day – or could it be Fathers Month? Share with us below.
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