The holidays are supposed to be the happiest time of year, but anyone who has a child custody arrangement knows that it can also be one of the saddest. You likely split the holidays with your ex-spouse, and your year without the children inevitably rolls around. If you’re facing the prospect of the holidays without your children, you might be feeling sad or isolated. Follow these tips to add some cheer to your year and start 2018 on the right track:
Do Something Just for You
Now is the time to treat yourself to something you wouldn’t ordinarily do. Whether it’s a massage, golf lessons, or getting tickets to see a show with a friend, make plans and stick to them. The busier you are, the easier it will be to be apart from your children. Give yourself something to look forward to, and your children will be back before you know it.
Make Holiday Plans with Others
Whatever you do, don’t plan on spending the holidays by yourself contemplating your own sorrow. Make plans with family or friends, even if you don’t feel like it. Plan on leaving for a celebration shortly after your children leave. You might not feel up to celebrating anything, but being around those you love will help make your day easier. You never know – you might even have a little fun in the process.
Talk to Your Kids
On a more practical level, prepare your children for this change and their plans, especially if this is your first holiday apart. For their sake, don’t focus on how things used to be or disparage the other parent. Instead, talk up new holiday traditions and talk to your kids about how you’ll celebrate together when they get back. Talk to your ex-spouse ahead of time and arrange for a brief goodbye on exchange. A drawn-out, tearful exchange will make you feel worse – and may make your children anxious. Keep them involved in the process and keep their spirits light.
Rely on Friends and Family
We understand that you may want to curl up in a ball and not socialize on the holidays. Being without your loved ones can be extremely difficult, but keep in mind that there are still a lot of people that will want to see you. Rather than wallowing in bed all day, commit to seeing those you love and who love you. If you must be antisocial, order all your favorite comfort foods, indulge in chocolate, and have a friend over to socialize.
The holidays can be a difficult time, especially if this is your first year without your children. Divorces are highly sensitive situations that affect your whole family. By keeping the experience positive for your children, creating new traditions, taking care of yourself, and making plans with friends and family, you can still enjoy this holiday season. Though it may be a tough situation, your children will be back in your arms before you know it.