It’s almost here. You’re counting down. And maybe you’re alone, or at least – you’re home without your kids.
This is the Divorced Mom Nightmare… alone at the holidays. At least, it can be, if you let it. So tell me. Does the very thought make you MISERABLE? Are you in the midst of last minute packing for a Yuletide transfer of kiddos to their their Dad, while holding back the tears, hoping the dog will be comfort enough, and wondering what you’re going to do with yourself for three days or four or maybe a week?
This could be just the down time you’ve been needing. It’s all in how you approach it.
So which is it?
Alone for the holidays – No no no? Or alone for the holidays – ho ho ho?
I’ve had my share of holidays without my boys. As much as I wanted a break from mothering nearly all the time on my own, not having my children at an any major family day was not what I considered “normal” or desirable.
But agreements being what they are – and kids, after all, have a right to see both their parents – inevitably, either Thanksgiving or Christmas I was without my boys and Not. Happy. Alone.
However, over the years I found that occasionally the time entirely to myself was not only okay, but blissful!
I could sleep! I could read! I could watch whatever I wanted on television during a few days when I was (hopefully) actually not working!
And I didn’t have to feel guilty about it either.
Here are some from my own list. They have served me well over the years.
- Stay in bed… all day, if you want!
- Eat in bed… out of the pot, pan, or can. (No one is looking.)
- Serve yourself whatever you prepare – on your fine china! (Seriously. On a tray, too, if you like. The sort of thing you can’t do with the kids around.)
- Watch chick flicks! No limit is applicable (again, no one is watching). Popcorn optional. Every night can be movie night!
- Take a soak in the tub or long hot showers. Whatever is your preference.
- Read that novel or those magazines that you haven’t had time for.
- Read with a great glass of wine. Maybe even two. Add chocolate for the ultimate decadence.
- Give yourself a mani-pedi!
- Facebook or Skype with an old high school or college chum. One of the “real” friends who always reminds you how terrific you are – NOT one of those faux-friends who will make you feel badly about yourself.
Look. We all have our concepts of Dream Self vs. Real Self. We have images of what family life should be and of course, what that means for the holiday season. And God knows, some of us feel pretty Grinchly this time of year, and we have very legitimate reasons that no one would refute.
But no one’s real life is without bumps and bruises and forks in the road.
We get through. We make the best of things. We find opportunities when we allow ourselves to do so.
Please note that none of the above requires other people or any $$$$. That’s because – if your world is anything like mine has been for years – you may not have uncoupled friends around, and you may not have the budget to treat yourself to much.
But here’s the point. You don’t need people around to enjoy time to yourself – and for yourself – getting to better know and enjoy yourself. And you don’t need money either. What you do need is this: understanding that you are deserving of feeling whatever it is you feel, in any mix, and that includes some sadness, some regret, and some relief at having only yourself to take care of.
That last part?
No guilt on that one either.
Now pour yourself a glass of wine (remember – no driving), settle in for that soak (you’re a bathing beauty!), then plan on a great book, a nice little meal, four hours of chick flicks, then Skyping or Facebooking with long lost friends.
Take the “no no no” and insist – yes, insist – that instead, you find your inner “ho ho ho.”
They’ll be back sooner than you think, with plenty of stories to tell. Isn’t it better that they come home to a mom who is relaxed?