DIVORCE OR SEPARATION IS A VERY HARD STRING OF EVENTS FROM THE MOMENT IT BECOMES AN APPARENT COURSE OF ACTION TO WHEN IT BECOMES A REALITY. IT IS OFTEN DURING THE FIRST HOLIDAY SEASON THAT THIS SEPARATION IS FELT THE MOST, AND THAT ITS IMPACT ON THE FAMILY IS MOST APPARENT (NOT EXCLUDING ALL 11½ OTHER MONTHS OF THE YEAR, OF COURSE).
One of the things that come up most in a divorced family is who gets the kids during the holidays and important events. It’s a hard conversation to have with your ex-partner, but it’s a very important one, and so needs to be done. Eventually, your ex and you will come to an agreement, and you will try to stick to it as much as possible for you and for the kids.
Your ex-partner will eventually have a turn with the kids during Christmas. Then what? What are you supposed to do when the kids are with the other side of the family and you don’t have them with you during the usual Christmas festivities you had grown so accustomed to? Where do you fit in? What helps? Hard questions to ask yourself, aren’t they?
Well, first of all, know that you’re not alone. You’re not the only person going through this. We’ve all had to cope with the first holidays without the kids, and it has to happen eventually. But what can you do to make it less nostalgic, less sad, less lonely, less angering? Let me let you into some great secrets and tips about what to do when your ex-partner gets the kids during Christmas.
What to Do When You’re Alone During Christmas
Sometimes we seek the company of friends and family, and sometimes we just want to be alone after everything we’ve been through. When you feel like being alone for the holiday, don’t go against that. Just be alone. Be yourself. Wear the comfiest PJs you have and pop on a Christmas movie that you’ve been wanting to watch. Throw on your nicest outfit, make yourself some delicious little snacks, and enjoy your guilty pleasure Christmas music.
If you want to be surrounded by loved ones, invite your closest friends over for a Christmas potluck, bake up your famous dessert, dress to kill, and have the time of your life. Decorate your house, enjoy having loved ones over, be in the moment, and trust that the kids are doing exactly the same. Enjoy yourself — it’s your Christmas!
But how do you cope with knowing that your kids are with your ex-partner having Christmas with them? Well, remember that you made this agreement in order to ensure the best childhood experience for them possible, and Christmases with your ex are part of that.
They’re still your kids’ other parent, and you’re just as loved and just as missed as they are, and that will never change. They love you even though they’re spending Christmas at their other parent’s house — that’s a fact. So if anything, don’t forget that you’re loved and cherished by them this Christmas, and they can’t wait to get home to tell you what Santa brought them!
What if it gets to be too much? Reach out. It’s not easy, and it definitely won’t be a cure-all. But reach out to your best friends and your closest humans, and tell them how you’re feeling this Christmas. Chances are that they are just waiting for you to open up to them so that they know how they can be there for you. Talking about it really does help, and you will end up feeling at least a little bit better once you don’t feel so alone in this. And no, you won’t ruin the “Christmas cheer” by talking about your feelings. They love you feel and all.
If your friends or family aren’t really who you want to talk to, talk to your therapist about it! Make an appointment and just have a nice freeing session with them. Open up about everything that you’re feeling, and just get it off your chest. They will give you some great tips and advice that will help this Christmas, and you’ll be glad you reached out.
During this Christmas season away from the kids, just remember how loved you are by them, remember that this was an agreement made for them and because you love them, and don’t forget to prioritize yourself when you get the chance. So turn the Christmas songs on, think of them having an awesome Christmas, and have an amazing Christmas yourself.