Coach Aleasa Word Gives Tips on Getting Through Holidays Without the Kids
Being by yourself for the holidays can be tough. It can be even harder for parents of kids when they have shared parenting situations and it’s not their year with the kids. The first year, of course is the hardest and it brings to light many feelings we as adults have stuffed away all year long. We know this was not the life we envisioned for our kids but somehow holiday times SHOW us this is REALLY not the life we envisioned for them or us.
When you have a good relationship with the other parent things can be a little easier. Sadly, more times than not the relationships between parents can be ugly as each person tries to maintain their place of significance in their children’s lives. New mates come into the picture. New family traditions must be created. Schedules have to be made when previously you just kind hung out wherever the family was. For some, even new religious or non-religious traditions come into play and it leaves us feeling lost and dis-empowered. We feel like we failed our kids and ourselves and struggle how to make the new normal seem normal in our own heads.
The good news is kids bounce back. The bad news is they don’t always bounce in the direction we think they do. They tend to do about as good as we do and it’s up to both parents to make a conscious effort to make the season as smooth as possible for them while keeping in mind you need to heal your own wounds as well.
To help get through the season here are a few tips:
- Establish a new normal for you and your kids making sure to include them in the decision making process if they’re old enough
- Give them a few dollars to purchase a gift for the other parent – EVEN IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE OTHER PARENT. This teaches the kids that their happiness is greater than your disagreement
- If it’s not your year with the kids and you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Los Posadas or some other tradition, schedule your personal celebration for when you have them
- Don’t negate the kid’s feelings of grief and loss over the change in holiday celebration because of separation or divorce
- Seek healthy things that make you happy if you have to spend the holidays alone with friends, co-workers
- Volunteer at a homeless shelter giving out meals to those in need if you can and it’ll make a world of difference in the way you view the world
- Buy yourself a gift…splurge on something you really want if you can afford it and if not, go window shopping
- Remember IT’S JUST ONCE A YEAR and before you know it you’ll be on to the new year
- Think about volunteering to work for the day if you’re alone and you really need to get your mind off of things
- Lean into your own feelings and acknowledge them so you can heal (but seek professional help is it gets too bad)
The end of the year can be a depressing time even for those who have their children around as it represents the “end” of something…being the year. But remember, with every end there is a new and better beginning. You have an opportunity to create the canvas for your new normal in a way that makes sense for you.
Photo: Beverly & Pack/Flickr