Don’t dread your first post-divorce holdiay season, plan ahead!
The jack-o-lanterns are burning out and shriveling, the kidlets are hyped up on candy and the costumes have become toys, which can only mean one thing: The Holiday Season has officially started.
The holidays for a two-parent household bring forth a list of concerns and trials that most understand. As a single parent that list doesn’t just expand but it morphs into an emotional train wreck of which there doesn’t seem to be a station to jump off at.
In addition to the presents, the food, the who and then when that comes along with holidays now, as a single mom, you have to add in the challenge of sharing your kids with the ex and his new wife or girlfriend. This could rile the maternal tail feathers knowing someone else is performing holiday mom duty for your kids. Ugh, right?
The holidays as a single mom don’t have to be a three-month trip of emotional hell. They can be far more enjoyable and fun or relaxing and soothing.
So, let me share five tricks that will help you turn your first post-divorce holiday season from a “bawl” to a ball!
1. Emotionally prepare for the kids to be gone. Don’t just plan to miss the kids and feel emotional, expect it. It is one thing to have a plan but it’s an empowering thing to prepare for your emotions! Prep your mind for the negative feelings you expect to experience. Realize you might cry, feel lonely or miss the kids. The major thing here? Don’t feel guilty for enjoying holiday time when the kids are with their Dad. It’s not as though you gave them up permanently! Relax!
2. Put together a schedule for yourself while the kids are with their Dad. If you are one of those that get fairly weepy when the kids are away for special occasions with their Dad you might benefit from a strict schedule of plans to occupy the mind. Schedule your hot shower, a movie, phone calls to the kids, and evening out with friends, a day of shopping, everything! Whatever it takes to keep you focused for the day and your mind off the fact that you’re without your kids. This sounds kind of dumb but seriously, when you have things to do the time flies and you might even have some fun.
3. Don’t compare your holiday to your ex’s. Enjoy your time and whomever you spend the holidays with! There is no need to worry about who is having a better holiday based on who has the kids. Despite the commercialization, the holidays are not a competition. And, whether it’s on the exact day or not, you will have a holiday with your kids.
4. Give yourself permission to have a good time without the kids. Look, we all love our kids and we want to enjoy time with them. At the same time, we need to be able to enjoy time without them – if we are to be truly healthy individuals. In addition, we need to be comfortable that our children enjoy time away from us, even if that means with an ex we find less than favorable and his new wife or girlfriend. The kids have or should have, an entirely different relationship with the other parent that they enjoy. Don’t negatively impact it with your personal insecurities about being away from them.
5. Steer clear of social media. If a social media posts easily alter your mood, then don’t torture yourself. Resist the urge to troll your ex’s social media pages as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Rather, occupy yourself with the schedule of plans mentioned above and keep the experiences of others out of sight and out of mind. And that voice inside your head that says, “It won’t bother me. Let’s go look what he is doing for the holiday” is not your friend. In fact, “un-friend” that voice – you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
For newly single moms, it can be hard to navigate those first few post-divorce holidays. For seasoned single moms, you have experienced those first few holidays, realized the tough road and have figured out some of your own secrets to enjoying holidays without the kids! Don’t hold back! Share your tips and tricks with me and let’s see what you got!