Christmas has always been and will always be my favorite time of year. I love everything about Christmas, the lights, the songs, decorating the tree and just spending time with family. The first Christmas after my separation was tough as, unfortunately, our marriage fell apart just days before Christmas in 2010. It was hard on my kids, myself and my ex and figuring out the logistics of it all was not so amicable.
Fortunately, those awkward, unfriendly times are behind us as we head into the fourth year post mess, and it has gotten easier with each passing year. It was never really difficult for me as I was the one who wanted the separation and divorce, but for the kids and my ex it was tough.
This year will be the first year since our split that I won’t have the kids for Christmas dinner on Christmas Day but I am okay with that as we both deserve to spend time with the kids and I will have them Christmas eve and Christmas morning. One thing I have learned over the past 4 years is that whatever our differences or beliefs about one another are, they don’t matter in comparison to what the children deserve.
They didn’t choose us for parents and they sure as heck didn’t ask for the divorce, so we need to be sympathetic to them and realize that spending time with both of their parents and not feeling guilty about it should always remain our number one priority. So this year, it is his turn to enjoy them for Christmas dinner and even though it is different than what they are used to, it will be nice for them to be with their dad.
So here are 5 tips from my house to yours that hopefully will help you deal with the festive season and have the kids come out on top:
- Split the time as equally as you can. Having the children spend time with each parent is very important for the kids. They need to be able to share in the holiday with both of you no matter what the is.
- Don’t argue about how it will all work in front of the kids. They don’t care about the logistics, all they care about is spending time with each of you and the fact that it isn’t in the same house is hard enough.
- Be realisitic. The holiday season is full of dinners and family and when you were a couple you could easily make that all work, now that you are not, you need to realize that it may not always be possible to see all the people you once did when you were together and you may have to choose different arrangements during Christmas to accomodate both families separately. If that means waiting until Boxing Day or later then do it, so the kids don’t feel like they have to choose.
- Always remember that this time of year is for family and friends and trying to out do the other when buying gifts is ridiculous and stupid. Talk to one another and maybe come up with a plan of what they kids really want or need and split it down the middle. There is nothing worse than one parent buying super expensive stuff while the other struggles to just get a few small things. Things can not buy a child’s love.
- Remember that although you are no longer together, you used to, at one time, want to be with one another and if you can just remember at least one good thing about the other, you can get through this season with as few bumps and bruises as possible.
If you are celebrating this Christmas season post separation and divorce, even if the whole thing is still a fresh wound, please remember that your children are the only thing that matters and you have to be the bigger person and let them enjoy both of you, no matter how hard that may be.
Merry Christmas from all of mine to all of yours!