When I was around five my parents divorced and I still have the vivid memory of the day my dad left, while watching my mom crying all at the same time. From this moment on my life changed when it came to the holidays.
I will admit that at times I HATED the holidays because of having to be bounced between households due to whatever prearranged agreement my parents had set up in the Parenting Agreement. Kid’s do appreciate that there are two families that love them and want them to be happy even at the time the kid’s do not really understand.
Divorce sucks and yes dare I say it (and this is my opinion so bear with me) the holidays suck and then put them together one big suck. It can and will get better I promise you but you will need to have faith. Yes, I can walk the walk when it comes to divorce both from a child of divorce as well as an alleged adult.
Once I finally figured out as a dad that the holidays are not about me and about my family it really changed me.
In order to help you through this I want to offer four tips that I learned while going through the holidays. If this is your first holiday as a single parent then I truly do hope these help you get through the days a head.
Do not try to buy your kids’ love or forgiveness. Yes they want the newest toys or technical gizmos but keep it within your budget and focus on spending time with them.
- Find some place to go and be with friends or family if you can’t be with your kid’s. The holidays are difficult enough in the wake of a divorce so don’t go it alone.
- If you do have the kids, DO NOT use this time to get back at your ex by not being flexible with the parenting agreement. Your ex MAY deserve it but your kid’s don’t. Meaning this is not about bad mouthing your former spouse. Take the dreaded high road.
- Create new holiday traditions for you and the kids. These are the memories they will cherish. Again this is about spending time together.
The holidays can be a wonderful time but the key is handling them in a positive way. Whether you have the kids for all, some, or none of the holiday, the main point is it’s about the kid’s.
My divorce was finalized on December 23, 2008 and I was a mess that first Christmas. My first thought was that as a man and as a dad I was a failure. My fight or flight response hit me so what I did was “fly.” I could not face my son as a failure so I spent time with my mom and bonus dad.
Making the difficult choice of hiding still haunts me during the holiday season because I should have been a man. My only defense was of the mental state I was in. Feeling as if I was not worthy as a husband and that my former spouse had moved on with a new man was also part of my pain.
- Believe me when I say that it HURTS having your marriage end.
- Believe me when I say it does get better.
Today I look forward to holidays because I know it is not about me but about the kid’s creating new and hopefully happy memories.
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