Is this it? Is this the first time since the birth of your babies that you will be forced to spend at least part of the holiday without your children because of separation or divorce? It’s no fun and it can be stressful for all parties involved. But it does get easier after the first year. I remember mine. I sat in front of the Christmas tree all by myself and cried my eyes out. Not exactly my finest moment. Had I to do it over again, it would be very different.
Let me give you some helpful tips.
- Accept that life is different now and will never be the same again and IT’S OK!! Embrace change!
2. Plan early! Don’t wait until the last minute to coordinate the schedule with your ex. And remember that the kids want to spend time with BOTH parents.
3. Christmas does not have to be December 25! If you won’t be with your kids on the 25th, simply plan a “Special Christmas” when you will be. There is no reason to give up anything, just rearrange.
4. If you have an amicable relationship with your ex, talk to them about what they might want or need for Christmas and divvy up the responsibility.
5. If this is your first Christmas without the kids, reach out to friends and family, invite yourself if you have to! Don’t spend it alone!!!
6. New traditions are a great thing! To help both you and the kids embrace the new reality, start some brand-new traditions that you’ve never had!
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Speaking of budgets, don’t let yourself fall into the “best parent” trap and try to outspend your ex on presents. The kids see right through it and trust me, they don’t care. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll love all the gifts – for about 2 seconds. I remember buying my son a really expensive software program that I thought he’d love and that darn thing just sat unopened for years. Kids need your time not your money. Pass on the iPad and buy a board game that will force you to interact with each other for an extended period. These are the memories that all of you will treasure.
Good luck this holiday season. Remember, it doesn’t have to be defined as the end unless you choose to. Choose to see the beauty of a new beginning. You can do it!
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At Smarter Divorce Solutions, we help you with creative solutions and sound financial decisions surrounding the dissolution of your marriage, because we know that in the end you will still be part of the same family. Happy Anniversary to those that made it, and a kinder, gentler and more affordable divorce to those that didn’t.