Guest post by Carrice Quinnie
Holiday Tips for Divorced Parents
Being a divorce parent has its daily struggles. Holidays are no different, maybe more stressful. My older two girls have learned from an early age that they have to sides to their family – my side and their father’s side.
Even while married we split holidays between both families. My family would get Thanksgiving one year and his family would get Christmas or vice versa. After our divorce I tried to keep that same pattern. Even if their father would not be at his parent’s house, the girls still divided the holidays. They may have not been with their father, but they were around their other side of the family.
People ask me, “How is it so easy for you to let the girls go during the holidays?” I respond, “Because it’s not about me, it’s about them.” Our children are made from two different strands of DNA, not one. As mothers, we must let go of any resentment or unresolved feelings towards our ex and his family. Be confident as their mother. No one can take your place. Just as you can love more than one child, they will love more than one parent.
The focus should be on the children and their betterment. If there are no risks of injury to the children; be open to experience a holiday without them. If this is a struggle, try to incorporate some sentiments into your mental rolodex.
Here are some holiday tips for divorced parents.
Plan in advice.
Before the holidays, communicate with your ex about his plans. Make a holiday schedule in advance. This may reduce any sudden holiday request from all parties involved.
Divide birthdays and holidays. Remember it is not about you, but the children. Their father was involved in the process of making them, so let him be involved in the process of celebrating their life.
Do not put kids in the middle.
Do not make them decide where they will spend their holidays. Picking one parent over the other may make them feel guilty. Remember they’re children. As parents we are the mature decision makers.
Do not over gift.
Never over compensate or try to “out do” your ex. Communicate with your ex about any gifts he may be giving to the children. The primary guardian may not want the children to get a puppy and they live in a two bedroom apartment. Both parents should always be respectable and discuss what gifts are acceptable.
The holidays are a time for families to come together and make cherished memories. Being away from the girls during the holidays is not depressing. It gives me the opportunity to love on myself, while they are away. I make plans to visit friends or make a solo appointment to the local spa and treat myself to a meal cooked by my favorite chef. I nourish myself, and the girls develop connections with their other selves. The family is not weaker by the separation, but stronger. I reunite replenished and the children have memories to connect the dots to become whole, mature women.