How to get through the Holidays after a Divorce?
Are your children full of excitement, knowing that the holidays are soon upon us all? Are you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by just thinking about the upcoming holidays? Does the thought of them make you want to curl up and sleep, only to wake when the season is all over? If so, you are not alone and you will get through the holidays - it simply takes some planning and forethought.
Create New Traditions!
Perhaps you are recently divorced and your former spouse has moved onto a new relationship - you may be feeling so many emotions just in regard to that! Well, it is time to pull yourself up and create new traditions for yourself and your children. Depending on the age of your children and their interests, dare to try something new! Don't discard the old traditions - keep what works, and add some different and fun things for you and your kiddos! Ice skating in the park, a trip to view the lights and sounds of the season, making cookies together or simply watching a favorite holiday movie in your pajamas and drinking hot cocoa - anything that is fun for all of you! Engage your children in this process. What do they want to do? This will help them to build new memories and create new traditions. Enjoy this time! If it is at all possible, make a plan with your ex-spouse to continue the kids/parents gift exchange. Take your kids to the mall to choose something for the other parent that can be given during the season. This may seem so hard to do, but it really will mean a lot to the kids when they have a present that they picked out themselves to give to each parent.
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!
Do not worry that every aspect of the holiday is perfect. Nothing ever is - simply do your best to get things done in advance, as much as you can, and enjoy the season and your new traditions. If you are feeling really overwhelmed, remember there are things you can drop off your list: skip the Christmas cards this year, forget the stress of making many varieties of beautiful home-baked cookies and just buy pre-mixed dough and let the kids do the decorating! Whatever it is that causes more anxiety than enjoyment for you, figure out ways to switch that around to more enjoyment, less anxiety. More than likely, no one will notice!
Sharing your Children during the Holidays
Shared parenting can be very difficult, not only for the first holiday after being divorced, but for future holidays as well. That is why it is so important to create new traditions. Do not forget to create new traditions for yourself as well, once your children are off with their father or mother; this will become something you treasure and look forward to. Make sure you encourage your children to have a wonderful time with the other parent and do not place any guilt on them that you will be alone. This is not an easy time for them either. So, be good to yourself when your children are with your ex-spouse. Take care of yourself. Spend time with other family or friends - you may find that there are more opportunities and fun than you realize during this time of the year.