Are you a single parent for the first time this holiday?
Are you newly divorced? Been divorced for awhile?
There is a unique kind of grief for single/remarried parents
when their parenting plan calls for their kid(s)
to be with the other parent on special holidays.
However you end up dividing the holidays,
whether every other year
or splitting up the days,
it is inevitable that you will miss your kids
on a day you really wish you could be with them.
I call this grief, “The Parenting Plan Holiday Blues”
I also include those parents
who grieve over the reality that the other parent abandoned their kids
and won’t show up at all this holiday,
As well as those parents who have to deal with a messed-up other parent
who is around and Does want time with their kids.
It’s all hard. I’m not going to tell you it’s not.
But you can learn how to work with the hard parts.
You can feel some “comfort and joy” during the holidays.
You can have magical moments and create memories with your kids
even though it won’t look like a Hallmark holiday.
Here are four things you can do to help ease your grief:
1. You are going to miss your kids. No matter how old they are.
No matter how many holidays you’ve followed the parenting plan.
Lean into your feelings and let them roll right through you.
You’ll feel better if you do.
2. Have a plan for the time you aren’t with them.
Find ways to care for yourself and to celebrate anyway.
Be with others who love you or love yourself in your solitude.
Be careful not to split by imagining their holiday with the other parent
as all wonderful while yours is pathetic.
Guard against envy. It will make you feel worse.
3. Be flexible with planning.
Pay attention to their needs.
Pay attention to your own.
Start new traditions.
Learn from holidays past.
What worked? What didn’t?
4. Take care of your inner kid.
I know. I know. But it works.
Take care of your inner kid
when you don’t get to be with your other kids.
Eventually, you will find new ways to celebrate with your kids.
It takes time. You won’t feel as bereft.
It does get easier.
How about you?
what have you found to be helpful
when you are missing your kids during the holidays?