Both of my parents taught me a great deal about parenting. But today let’s focus on mothers. Historically, mothers have been viewed, or perhaps romanticized, as the nurturing parent. Fathers were the bread-winners, the providers.
Today most families have two working parents and parenting roles have both changed and blurred. Parenting has become more collaborative, with both parents playing an active role in raising the children. Mom may be bringing home the bacon while dad is changing diapers. Dad may be cooking dinner while mom is doing online banking.
When a couple separates, each parent has to assume some of the roles of both mom and dad. This is not necessarily a bad thing. In my opinion, children who see dad doing laundry and mom working outside the home generally develop a more balanced gender identity. If you are a man going through separation and divorce, you should recognize that your wife or ex-wife is the mother of your children, and she always will be. Even if your separation is contentious, the two of you brought a child into the world and that child needs and deserves the love of both parents.
Mothers have a tough job. Nowadays they have to juggle work with the everyday demands of being a parent. Mothers get pulled in many directions and having to deal with a contentious divorce simply adds to the stress. Even if there is conflict between you and your spouse, her role as a mother is important to your children. If you hurt mom, you hurt your children. If you support your spouse, even children of divorced parents learn that they are important to both of their parents and are more important than the conflict between their parents.
So, on this Mothers’ Day, acknowledge the role your wife or ex-wife plays in raising and caring for your children. Put aside your disagreements long enough to simply say “thank-you.” Consider it a temporary cease-fire. She will appreciate it. Your children will appreciate it. And it may pay dividends come Fathers’ Day.