How to Deal With Your First Christmas Divorced
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A mummieslist mother recently wrote me asking for some insight on how to handle her first Christmas separated from her husband. Her questions hit straight to my heart. Knowing that there are so many women out there who are planning to spend their first Christmas as a divided family for the first time, I asked her permission to share her entry.

“This Christmas will be my first Christmas divorced from my husband of 18 years. I have 3 children who are still enthralled by the idea of Christmas and I have no idea what to do. Should we still do it together? Will I be alone? I have all of these thoughts and questions on how I can possibly manage to put the best face forward for my children, all while I can barely pick up my own pieces. Worst part is my now ex-husband already has a new girlfriend and I can’t stand the idea of my kids spending it with her. Do you have any advice on how I can keep myself together and how I should plan my first Christmas broken? I mean… divorced?”

Here are a few suggestions on how anyone dealing with this situation can manage the additional stress during this particular holiday and how to satisfy your children’s needs at this time:

 

Respect Your Ex

This might be the hardest pill to swallow but according to Dr.Fran Walfish, a child and family psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent, she says it’s best to “suck it up for your child’s sake. Be courteous, polite, and respectful to your ex.  If you can’t be friendly, be benign”. Therefore, remain mindful of the readjustment period that children experience each time they transition from one setting to another. This means working together as a co-parenting team, communicating, and above all else, avoiding the impulse to argue.

Create New Traditions

Traditions are great. Old ones, however, can get you stuck in the past. By creating new ones, everyone in your family can start looking towards the future with a positive outlook. As stated by Terry Gaspard, a writer for Moving Past Divorce, “creating new holiday memories isn’t easy but it’s well worth the effort. You and your children can build new traditions and memories of the holidays that will endure the test of time and nourish everyone.” You can even ask your children to contribute ideas on new traditions they would like to implement.

Stay Flexible On The Day You Get With The Kids

Now that you’re separated, you and your ex will need to figure out which day the kids will spend with you and which day they will spend with him. Don’t get caught up on which day you get, even if you’re not with them Christmas morning. Just make the most of the time you do get. Your children will not get hung up on which day is spent with who, and they might even be excited about the idea of getting double the presents and celebrating Christmas twice as long. Although keep in mind that, “getting organized and prepared well in advance and putting the interests of your child before your own. By keeping that advice in mind, parents can ensure that the holidays remain a special time of year,” says Joe Cordell, the founder of Dad’s Divorce.

Make Plans With Your Side of the Family and Get together With Friends

Even though you may not be with your kids for the entirety of the holidays, that doesn’t mean you need to be alone. The holidays are a terrific excuse to hang out with others—invite them to your place or celebrate at their place. Why sit at home alone moping when you can be around others that love you?

Or …Celebrate With Your Ex

“Consider celebrating part of the holidays together with your children’s other parent, especially if your separation is fairly recent”, says Robert Emery, a writer for Psychology Today.

Please share any feedback you have that could help this mum out in the comments below.

Xo Melany

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