Father’s Day in the UK takes place on June 21 this year, and for some it’s not the nicest of times.
I’ve seen some step mums dreading the day, families having to split their time between dads and step dads, and others genuinely excited to celebrate.
I wish I could say there is a guide to the perfect Father’s Day for all, but the reality is that every family is different, and I can only speak from experience myself.
I am one of those people that gets excited about any occasion, be it Father’s Day, birthdays or Christmas. I love buying gifts for others and seeing their face when they open the present or find out what surprise I have in store. I’ve always been that way.
The first Father’s Day I think for me was the hardest, it was new. I wasn’t officially with Chris yet, I’d only just met Lily, and I almost felt excluded from the event – which looking back is silly because Chris and Lily have always included me – and Father’s Day isn’t exactly about step mums or daddy’s girlfriend is it?!
At the time, I felt jealous that Lily’s mum bought Chris a gift, I felt hurt that Chris’s ex partner was putting thought into a gift for my boyfriend. It’s a natural feeling, you’re going to feel threatened – they have history.
BUT looking back now, I know there was absolutely nothing to worry about, and that Lily’s mum still wanting to buy Chris a gift for Father’s Day was a lovely gesture, and showed she cared about his and Lily’s relationship, and valued him as a father, not as a partner, or an ex, but as a dad.
Buying that gift for him showed that she accepted how amazing he was as a dad, and that no matter what had happened between them, that his role as a dad to Lily was still important to her.
I honestly think we got the best possible outcome of that in the first year – everything was new and fresh, but what was most important was that Lily was able to give her daddy a gift to show her love for him, and the fact that gift was bought by her mum is irrelevant.
Now, fast forward five years, and I have purchased the gifts/cards for every occasion on behalf of Lily since the end of our first year together.
And that’s not because Lily’s mum stopped caring, because she didn’t, and to this day would probably still buy Chris gifts on behalf of Lily if that is what we agreed.
But as Lily’s mum found a partner, and Chris found me, we made the group decision that we deal with occasions within our own family units. So, for Mother’s Day, Lily’s mum’s partner will buy gifts, and on Father’s Day, I will get the gifts and make plans.
And I know for a fact, both sides will now get the step parent a gift on their respective day also, because that is something Lily wants. She sees me as a second mum, or a bonus mum as I’ve heard it be called – and love!, and she sees her mum’s partner as a father figure also – which is so lovely.
But us buying gifts for our own family units is so much easier, it gives me the opportunity to have quality time with Lily as we pick out gifts and decide on what craft we will do to make it special, and after almost six years, I know Chris pretty well when it comes to gifts! (I would tell you what he’s got this year but he reads my blog and I’m not spoiling the surprise!).
Once a decision has been made on what you are doing for special occasions, everything does just fall into place, the biggest step is making that decision as to whether you would like to be involved or not.
Personally, I love coming up with gift and craft ideas, and I’d be sad if I didn’t have that opportunity to be involved, but I know some step parents like to keep themselves separate from occasions also, that’s okay too.
Just remember, every family is different, and if you’re new to step-parenting, everything will fall into place in time! My biggest bit of advice is to not try and force anything, and to just be honest about your feelings towards occasions and how much you’d like to be involved!
Oh and to all the dads and step dads, Happy Father’s Day for Sunday!