For us single parents at Christmas time, let’s get real and really real. Sometimes it is easier to NOT to feel. To push our true feelings under a rug, ‘fake it til we make it’, or try and escape the reality of the situation. To stay busy. There is no time to pause, reflect and be in the present moment of how you are actually feeling. Especially at this time of year. When all the happy (or pretending to be) couples do their family celebrations. Post amazing happy family pics onto Instagram. The reality for many solo parents is, this is a tough time of year. Unless you have been through it, you have no idea. Sure, we can focus on the good and positive things in our lives and yes, in the coaching and personal development space, that is what we teach and are taught. However, that journey may not be for everyone. There is still the reality to deal with, the facts to face, the lessons to learn. This time of year can bring up past memories of when we were happy families and the excitement of seeing your kids unwrap presents, but also, when you too received a gift from your significant other. It can also make you miss what you had planned for the future. I have decided to ask some male friends of mine for their thoughts and ideas about being away from their kids at this time of year and how they too deal with the emotions and situations post separation and divorce. Some separated couples buy their children gifts for the other parent. Some do not. Check out this post that went viral from a ‘now Facebook friend’ in Boston wrote about this. When I originally saw this post I just had to share it and now even more so. Could you do this exact same act for your children and your former partner? Billy openly says ‘It took time and work to get to this phase of our relationship’. How could you too be an example to your children that makes them proud in 10, 20 years time? You can read the full article in the Independent Journal Review on this link. http://ijr.com/2016/10/722409-when-dads-kind-birthday-gift-for-ex-wife-has-his-friends-puzzled-he-explains-who-its-really-for/ Then closer to home, here’s what Tim, divorced Dad of 4 says : “Yeah, it hurts to be away from your kids at Christmas time. I mean it’s your kids who bring Christmas to life, however it is so important to remember to be there for them, even if from afar. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing better than waking up with your children on Christmas Day. Not being with them feels like a piece of me is missing. I have to remind myself what is important. I try to do everything I can to create good memories for my kids. They deserve nothing less.’ How can you create magic moments for your children? I think it is really important to share in their excitement of having two Christmas’s and what gifts they receive from other family members. Note to self, might need to buy less next year. How are you really feeling with Christmas only being 3 days away? I miss sharing that day with a significant other. I miss unwrapping a surprise and I also miss buying someone else a present too. I am so grateful that Xmas last year, Mother’s Day this year and my birthday just recently, that two of my close girlfriends have stepped up, seen what the kids need and bought presents for them to give to me. It has made the smile on my two little people’s faces even bigger to feel ‘they bought Mummy a present’. Right now, I miss that I will not spend Xmas Eve with my two little people for the second year in a row. We celebrate from 11am Xmas day and then for the next day to wake up with the kids and unwrap a few presents on Boxing Day. It is what it is. I know that they are happy and having fun, which is what matters most.
Here are my TOP 3 tips to deal with the festive season
- Stay off social media if it is too hard for you. There is no need to compare your situation to another family’s photos.
- Get social, and by this I mean, the connected type of social. Surround yourself with family at a gathering or friends at a new bar.
- Know that it is just ONE day in the year, maybe two, but not the whole year. It is ok to feel a little sad, then let that go and enjoy the celebrations.
Know that all those feelings are OK. It is how you deal with them that is important. Do you need to pick up the phone and speak to a close friend and let them know how you are feeling? Do you need a professional to assist you? Or do you need a good cry – go do that too. You can also request to join my closed Facebook group and be surrounded by likeminded women too. Who knows who you may be spending next year with or perhaps you will find this time a little easier as the years pass by. Make the most of the day and who you are with, and do focus on the good and all that you have. Focus on all the good that came from the relationship and all the good your former partner brought to the relationship. It is the time for happiness and forgiveness.
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