I’ve spoken before about my divorce and how I’m navigating co-parenting with my ex-husband. Each time I speak about it, I’m amazed at the feedback I get. So many of us are going through similar situations. It helps me to not feel so alone to know that my blog readers and Instagram followers are figuring out life after divorce, too. Since the holidays are upon us again, here’s how I’m navigating the holidays without my kids this year.
Recently I shared on my Instagram account about the holiday plans I have regarding my kids and my ex-husband. This year, they are spending a few weeks with their dad throughout the month of December and over Christmas day. As the days they will be gone have gotten closer, I’ve found myself struggling to stay positive and not slip into depression.
If any of you are struggling with this as well, here are a few tips I’ve found that I’m going to follow to help myself and the kids this Christmas season.
How I’m Navigating the Holidays Without My Kids
Reset Your Expectations
This might seem obvious to many people, but it’s a good reminder that just because we’ve done something in the past, it doesn’t have to be done that way forever. 2020 has definitely taught all of us to reset our expectations about how life should look, right?
When it comes to the holidays this year for my family, we are trying to remember that just because things don’t look exactly like they used to, and some traditions are changing, it doesn’t have to mean that Christmas is ruined. This year my kids will not be with me on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. This has been a hard reality for me. Honestly, I’m struggling with it. To help me and my kids get used to this new reality and still have a good Christmas, we are changing a few traditions.
View Each Year as A Learning Experience
Nothing is permanent. Next year will look different from this year. The kids will grow up, schedules will change, and life will continue to move on. I’m doing my best to remember that there is something to be learned from my kids not being with me as much this Christmas as they have been in years’ past.
Give Yourself Permission to Make Holiday Plans that Work Best For You
This tip is especially helpful if you are rescheduling the dates of your holiday celebrations to accommodate custody arrangements. Does it really matter if Christmas morning falls on December 25th? Think about that. In the grand scheme of things, the kids will remember the memories of being together with you more than they will remember the exact date of when they opened their presents.
It’s Ok to Not Be Ok
One thing I’m focusing on right now is letting myself be sad and grieving the loss of what I used to have. Grief is funny like that. You can be completely happy in your new life, but still be sad at what you used to have. And that’s ok! All of us need to feel sad sometimes. The important thing is to not stay in that sad space forever. I like to tell myself I can stay in bed and cry for so many hours, but then I need to get up and go exercise or meet a friend for lunch. This helps me to move through my grief in a healthy way.
How to Handle the Alone Time When Kids are Gone
While my kids are gone, I’m planning time to be sad, but I’m also planning activities and things to keep me busy. Some things I have on my list for navigating the holidays without my kids are:
-Taking Wrigley (my dog) on long, wintry walks
-Spending time with good friends
-Giving back to those in need in my community
-Spending extra time with Matt
-Getting organized for the New Year
I know that the holidays are tough for those who are in the midst of divorce and co-parenting. I hope you know that you are not alone and I’m in this with you. Let’s surround ourselves with support and love during this hard time. And remember, it’s most important that our kids know they are loved above all else. Life is hard. But it is also so beautiful.