If you are newly divorced, or maybe just separated, you could be facing your first holiday season without your children. That can leave you feeling raw and untethered.
Failing to address these very real fears of missing out (FOMO) on your children’s holiday celebrations can lead to serious depression. Below are some tips for handling the holidays as a single parent.
Practice good self-care
Whether your kids are with you or not, the adage that one cannot pour from an empty vessel applies here. You must take care of your own physical, psychological and emotional well-being to be the best possible co-parent for your children.
What that means differs from person to person. It could mean seeking therapy for unresolved emotional burdens, taking a spa day or re-engaging with old friends and making new ones. No matter what you need, you must remain healthy for your children.
Don’t overspend to compensate for missed time
If your kids are with their co-parent this holiday season, you might be tempted to outdo them in the spending department. Resist this very human impulse. You’ll only face a mountain of bills in January. Kids aren’t going to remember in five years what you bought them for holiday gifts. But they will remember you as an involved participant in their lives.
Begin new traditions
If the kids will be with your co-parent this first holiday after the split, plan some pre-holiday traditions like attending a Nutcracker performance or taking a family trip to an ice-skating rink.
Remain flexible when possible
You should follow your custody judgment signed by the court. But that doesn’t mean you can’t accommodate reasonable requests from the kids’ other parent. Allowing them to spend an extra day visiting distant cousins and other relatives in town for the holidays is a kindness to the children.
If you and your ex can’t reach an accord on the custody terms, you can ask the court to make modifications.