We are fast approaching the fun filled and sometimes stress filled time of year known as the holidays.
As single parents it can be a tough time in many ways. We feel sad and lonely about past holidays when we were partnered, there is money stress, add to this the lack of time and you have a recipe for some very hard times. So, letís take a look at these three issue of sadness , lack of money and lack of time and find some solutions!
When we are newly divorced it can be hard to let go of what you once had and feel happy. I will never forget the first time I saw my children go off to have Thanksgiving without me, it broke my heart. One thing that got me through was knowing that a holiday is only 24 hours, no longer than any other day. The second thing to do is to make your own plans, whether itís being with friends or family, or deciding to take some time for yourself. One separated man I knew took that time to volunteer at at homeless shelter. If your choice is to spend time alone make sure you plan it so that you are not caught off-guard. Be prepared, it is much harder if you just let it creep up and are hit with being alone - plan a walk, a bath, a movie, reading a great book - whatever fills you up.
My 17 year old son plays football, so for now every Thanksgiving is spent at his game. They go with their Dad after that and I have created my own tradition - everyone gathers at my house later in the day for dessert, games and sitting around the fire. The time they are gone at their Dadís I spend warming up in a hot bath and making desserts. Itís different, but I took control and created my own tradition.
Money is often tighter for everyone after you take what once supported two households and now supports two. Depending on the ages of your child(ren) explain that Christmas isn'tít only about the gifts, itís the entire season of sharing and giving. Itís an important reminder to you too. We all want to give our children the world, but usually, thankfully we canít, because what does that teach them? I try to find one very special gift for each of my children, I make a budget and I stick to it. I fill in with little things and they are very happy. Special doesn'tít have to mean expensive. Sometimes in the past my ex and I have pooled our resources for something that was very desired and too expensive for one of us. Remember, this isn'tít about you, itís about your children, put your differences aside for them.
It can be very hard as a single parent to find the time in an already tight schedule to make cookies, wrap gifts, shop and decorate. As much as possible include your children in all these things. Young children can make paper chains and paper snowflakes, older ones can help with baking, wrapping, even some shopping. Some of the best times I have with my kids are creating, laughing and just spending time together. Itís not about creating the "perfect" holiday, itís about making it perfectly wonderful for your family.
Things will be different now that you are a single parent, not bad, different. The only one who has control of your life is you. Take that control and with your kids create new traditions and wonderful new memories. Let go of old expectations and allow yourself to be open to exploring a new way of thinking, doing and being. You may be surprised at what you discover!
Submitted by: Candace Hammond * †
Return back to your last page ?