Clearly, divorce brings a lot of challenges, no matter the divorce situation. When children are involved it just adds another layer of challenges. Holidays can be the happiest times but also the hardest times. Surviving the holidays without your kids will be difficult but it doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to help these moments be the best that they can be.
Divorce and Surviving The Holidays Without Your Kids
It is no surprise that divorce, no matter the situation, changes everything and as we enter the holiday season I find myself focusing on these changes more and more. This will be my first holiday season divorced but my second holiday season of doing things separate and following a parenting plan. I wish I could say it gets easier but to be honest, I am not there yet. The idea of missing out on 50% of my children’s lives and experiences still hits fast and hard with every milestone, experience and moment.
It is bound to happen, a holiday will come along that you do not have your kids. Just thinking about that fact makes my lose my breath. So…what is the solution? How do divorced parents survive those holidays without their kids? There is no right or wrong solution but there are a few things to keep in mind as your plan your holidays away from you children.
Create New Traditions With Your Kids
A holiday can be celebrated on any day, not just on the day listed on the calendar. Keep this in mind as you prepare for the time you have your kids during the holiday season. Create new traditions on those days you have your children and make them as special as possible. Creating new holiday traditions isn’t easy but it will be well worth the effort. You will build new traditions and memories of the holidays that will stay with you and your children forever. The holiday season doesn’t have to be a time of stress or worry.
Through all of this, remember that your children have their own feelings to deal with during the holidays as well. Do your best not to put them in the middle of their parents. They deserve to enjoy their holidays, no matter what day, with both parents.
Self-Care Is So Important
With your time alone, self-care is key! Do not drown in sadness, instead find things to do that will benefit your physical and mental health. Practice self-compassion as you find new traditions over the holidays for yourself.
- Read a book
- Create a Spa Day at home
- Sleep in or Take a Nap
- Cook or Bake
- Find a show to Binge Watch
As parents we often feel guilty when we do things for ourselves. Do not feel this guilt! You need to enjoy this time you have with out your children too. As you prepare for your time away from the kids, make a list of things you would love to do and use that as a checklist!
Find A New Project
Staying busy is often helpful, especially on a holiday without your family or kids. Look around the house, is there a bookshelf that you have always wanted to paint? A picture wall that needs updated or rearranged? Need to clean out the kitchen cabinets? How about rearranging your living room furniture? Take this time to create or update a space that will benefit your mental health and daily living!
Plan A Getaway
If you have more than a few days away from your kids during the holiday season, the idea of staying at home might be too much. Planning a solo getaway to a cabin in the mountains or a girls trip to a beach might be a great use of your free time. If you go on a getaway, do make sure you communicate with your children in creative ways such as FaceTime or text. Once again, these special kiddos are feeling all kinds of emotions as well – they need to hear from their other parent as well.
Attend Family Gatherings As Normal
Holiday traditions will more than likely go on as normal. Thanksgiving Day Dinner and Christmas Eve Church service will still be something you can attend with your family and friends even if your children are not with you. Spending time with your extended family and friends doing enjoyable activities will be rewarding during the holiday season. BUT, you do NOT have to go to all of the normal gatherings either, it is okay to set personal boundaries and say NO.
Friendsgiving Or Friendsmas
How about creating a new tradition with friends! Maybe being around extended family is too difficult during this time. Invite your friends over for something that we all need sometimes. FRIENDS!!! Create a theme – soup night, holiday movies, ugly sweater – the options are pretty endless. ENJOY and have fun!
Cry – Be Sad
No really, it is okay to be in your feelings during this hard time. You can control your reactions to loss by substituting positive self-talk for negative talk BUT again, if the tears fall, let them. Having moments of sadness is perfectly normal. What you are going through is grief, grief of a family you once had, grief of holiday traditions, grief of a partner during the holiday season.
I am not a expert in this area but I do know that these simple tips have helped me in the past and I know I will be relying on them again this year. No matter how you are spending your holidays, make sure you remember to give yourself grace. Give your children grace. And remember to cherish every moment with your family and friends.