It can be difficult to get through the holiday season as divorcing or separating parents. Fighting over holiday time or coping with the fact that you will no longer be celebrating holidays in the same way can bring up feelings of anger and sadness. We know it’s not easy, but here are our tips to make this season a little brighter.
Make new traditions: Splitting holidays may mean that you have to let go or alter certain family traditions. You might not be able to go to certain parties or celebrate a certain way because you are not seeing your children on the same days you usually do. For example, you and your spouse may split the December school vacation, which often means that in some years you will not see your kids on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. While the day of the holiday certainly is special, consider making your own celebration during your time even if it is before or after the holiday.
Be flexible: If certain holidays are not important to you but are to your ex, consider giving them up. You lose nothing but you can breed good will that will help you and your children in the long run. On the other hand, if you are celebrating locally, consider letting your children spend a little bit of time on the holiday with their other parent if your plans allow for this. Instead of looking at it as your ex taking away some of your time, consider that you are giving your children the opportunity to spend time with both parents during the holiday season.
Know your limits: Sometimes one parent will ask to celebrate a holiday together “as a family.” If your divorce or split was amicable and this feels right to you, go for it. If this makes you even the tiniest bit uncomfortable, it probably is not the best idea. Kids are perceptive and will sense your discomfort. Also, young children still yearning for their parents to get back together can be confused. If one parent is not ready for this, wait a few years and revisit the idea when feelings are less raw.
Be forward thinking: If you are newly separated and are negotiating holiday time you may feel the urge to fight your ex tooth and nail for time with your children on a specific holiday. Before you spend thousands of dollars in legal fees, try to think ahead. In 99% of cases, parents alternate holidays, meaning that if your ex has the children on that holiday this year, you will have next year.
Prioritize your self-care: Holiday time apart from your children can feel very lonely. You will put a lot of time and energy into making the holidays special for your children, but don’t forget about your own needs. If your kids are with your ex for a holiday, consider making plans with friends and family to celebrate so that you are not alone. If celebrating without your children is going to make you feel worse, try to find something to do that will give you the break you need. This could mean taking a solo vacation or spending a day at a spa. Or maybe you just need some time at home by yourself. Whatever you do, just make time for you.
The attorneys at Greenblatt Law LLC have experience with negotiating custodial schedules for the holidays. If you need assistance, please be in touch.