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Should single moms help their kids celebrate Father's Day?

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Father's Day after a divorce can leave the single mom wondering if she should help her kids prepare a gift. We should, in my opinion, without breaking the bank. Here are four easy ideas to get it done.

mother helping daughter drawing

Photo credit: Martin Barraud/Caiaimage/Getty Images

Fathers mean a lot to their children. A divorce generally does not change that. Kids still need their dad in their lives to teach and guide them the way a father should. I am a firm believer that the kids should celebrate their dad. But with Father's Day approaching, I wonder if it is my responsibility to help the kids prepare something, or is it his girlfriend's responsibility?

Last year I went out, spent my own money, purchased paintable photo frames and spent an entire day helping the kids, getting them to dry, wrapping them up and sending them with the kids to his house. It was a lot of work and right in the middle of a very nasty divorce. But my kids wanted to do something so I helped them.

This year, though, I feel a little like it is not my job anymore. I feel like the girlfriend, who has been around the kids since the separation, should take on the crafting, wrapping, paying and giving. In addition, he did nothing to help the kids do something for Mother's Day even though they asked him to. That makes my spending time and money to help them celebrate him an even harder decision.

But yesterday, I sat down with another mom who was single her son's entire childhood. He is 25 now and she is still single. She is an amazing mom and I value her opinion on all things single mom. She stated that, yes, it may be that Father's Day is now the responsibility of the woman that is in his house to celebrate it with him, but my children are mine. So, for my children's sake, if they want to do something, it is on me to make sure they are prepared to celebrate Father's Day.

Since everyone who has ever read a post I have written here or on ADayinMotherhood.com knows that my kids’ happiness trumps all others, I conceded and am now on a mission to find a Father's Day gift they can give to their dad.

However, I don't feel I should have to spend a ton of money on that gift, as I did last year. So here are four easy gifts to help your kids make for Father's Day without breaking your single mom bank.

A handprint card

Nothing brings a smile like a child's handprint. Take a piece of construction paper, some washable paint and a marker and get ready. Put the paint on a paper plate or other flat surface and have your child put her hand in it. Imprint the hand on a folded “card.” Once it dries, let the kids decorate the card as they wish. Little effort, big reward.

Help them write a letter to Dad

If your kids cannot write yet, or are beginners, help them write a letter to Dad. It does not have to be long or perfect. But something that is in their words. I think an 11- by 14-inch piece of paper that he can hang somewhere would be a good size. Let the kids decorate around the words and make it unique to them.

Make a paper photo album

If you still have pics of the kids with the ex, or even just the kids alone, take a moment to order four or five prints. Once you have them, fold and staple construction paper into a “book.” I cut mine in half and then stapled the edges together. Use a glue stick to adhere the photos to each page and then let the kids decorate it as they wish.

Create a picture puzzle

This one might take a little more work but is still not terribly expensive. Have a photo of your child enlarged to 5 by 7 inches. Glue that photo to a thin piece of cardboard or photo board. Use a box cutter to carefully cut puzzle pieces and then put them in a box with a bow. When he opens it, he can put the pieces together to make his gift.

Any time I can help my children celebrate another person in their lives, I am willing to help. Sure, the cantankerous divorce and fragile relationship that has followed makes the decision to help my kids celebrate him a difficult and uncomfortable one. But in the end, my kids come first. So I will be helping them with a smile.

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