The holidays are coming. For newly divorced parents with children, this definitely requires some deliberate planning. In fact, even if you and your ex have been apart for awhile, the emotional and logistical hurdles of the holidays can be considerable.
First, let's consider the emotional level. This can be tough because it often takes time to get over the hard parts of a divorce. But our culture, at Thanksgiving and Christmas, keeps sending us the message that families are supposed to be together, going over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house.
To some extent, you just have to be strong for your kid or kids when faced with this challenge. Keep in mind, however, kids are more resilient than you think. Mom and dad may not be together anymore, but you can each still have experiences with your children - separately.
In other words, the road to happiness can take many twists and turns. And they don't all lead to grandma's house at the same time as your former spouse.
Logistically, there is of course the underlying legal structure. This involves questions of what the custody arrangement is, who has parenting time, and how the arrangement is reflected in the divorce settlement approved by the court.
Beyond the formalities, though, there is the need to be creative in carving out your new life. This may mean a type of sharing and even sacrificing that could take some getting used to.
For example, as much as you'd like to have your children with you at Christmas every year, you may want to consider switching off from year to year with your ex-spouse. Think of it as sharing the joy.
Source: "O, Come All ye Newly Single Parents: How to Get Through the Holidays Without Singing The Blues," Huffington Post, Christina Pesoli, 10-19-12
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