Advice for those going through a divorce during the holidays
by Jackie Pilossoph for Chicago Tribune Media Group
Going through a divorce is one of the most difficult life transitions a person can endure. Worrying about finances, the kids, and becoming a single parent amidst the intense emotional pain of the breakup can feel daunting, hopeless, and exhausting.
If that isn’t hard enough, add in the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and all of those December parties and get-togethers you feel pressured to attend can make you feel like you’re getting punched in the stomach every day. In other words, you might be saying to yourself, “How am I supposed to be festive, jolly and fun-loving when all I want to do is lie in bed and cry?”
The answer is, not only can you get through the holidays, but you can actually enjoy them, and no, I’m not saying you have to fake it. Here are four pieces of advice in surviving and thriving the holidays as a newly single person:
1. Accept that the parenting schedule is what it is. In most parenting agreements, moms and dads take turns being with the kids for the holidays. So, as a newly separated parent, let’s say this year, the court has ordered that your soon-to-be ex will be with your kids on Christmas Day. Most likely, this is the first Christmas Day of your kids’ lives that you won’t see them. Can you say devastating?? But while a scenario like this is upsetting, I promise you will be OK. My advice is, have Christmas with them on another day. Opening presents, singing songs, and having a nice dinner with family and friends doesn’t have to be on the actual day. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be on Christmas Eve. Make plans in advance to celebrate Christmas with your kids. Any day in December is acceptable! They will remember it the same as if you celebrated on Christmas Day. Also, if your kids are headed to their dad’s (or mom’s) place, please don’t cry and get them upset. Support them and reinforce what a wonderful time they are going to have, and that you are going to be just fine.
2. Traditions: Out with the old, in with the new.
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