With Christmas just days away there are many single parents that have shared custody and are dreading being alone for part of the Christmas break. Our hearts go out to you and we want to encourage you. I’ve been there.
If you are lucky enough to have a positive parenting experience, with your coparent, perhaps you will be able to work out arrangements to meet Christmas morning at your co-parent’s house and watch your child/children open their presents. But for many, who have joint custody, Christmas morning can be one of the toughest days of the year.
I’ll never forget the first Christmas that Jillian spent away from me. I thought I was going to die of depression. She was seven and it was the first year that my ex husband had her Christmas morning, according to our custody calendar. He picked her up at the last day of school before Christmas break and had her until 2 o’clock on Christmas Day. That was the first time since she was born that I did not wake up on Christmas morning and hear her squeals and see her dash to the tree to see what Santa brought her. If you told me years earlier, that I would have been in the middle of a high conflict divorce with a set visitation schedule I would’ve said you were crazy.
I did survive, but barely, and decided that I would never allow myself to be that lonely and depressed again. I don’t wish that feeling on any parent. Christmas at my house became open house to anyone who didn’t have anywhere else to go.
I believe that we can take times like these and turn them into blessings, so here is what I suggest. Put that “alone time” to good use.
Co-parenting schedules are usually made out ahead of time in your “parenting plan” so therefore you have plenty of time to plan other scheduled activities. My Turn Your Turn offers a wonderful online custody calendar to help keep track of your joint custody arrangements.
Take the Tour http://myturnyourturn.com/default.aspx?page=tour
Be a blessing in other peoples’ lives. Here are some suggestions:
1.) Plan a very early breakfast with other single parents in the same situation. Host it, so you can’t back out. Set some ground rules that this is going to be a fun, uplifting, time together where you can tell great stories have fellowship. No negativity. Play some games that help take their minds off of the situation. Have fun.
2.) Host an early morning cookie exchange. If you’ve not heard of a cookie exchange here’s an example below. http://simplemom.net/how-to-host-a-memorable-holiday-cookie-swap/
3.) Play “daughter for a day” and make someone else’s Christmas special by hosting a breakfast or luncheon for widows or elderly who have no one. Perhaps even go to their house if they are not mobile.
4.) If you have a very close friend, get up early go to their house to share in their early-morning Christmas experience. I know that if I had thought of that I would’ve had many friends who would’ve gladly shared their Christmas morning with me.
5.) Get up early and take some cookies or small gifts to a women’s shelter or help serve breakfast or lunch at a homeless shelter or Food line.
It’s great to make a plan but now you have to stick to it. Don’t let yourself off the hook. It takes commitment and dedication to put others before yourself but by doing this you will be helping yourself in the long run and you will be happy you did.
Visit us on our official website at http://www.MyTurnYourTurn.com. My Turn Your Turn is a co-parenting website designed to help organize families and improve communication between co-parents sharing children due to divorce or separation. Specializing in co-parenting tools and shared parenting resources including an online custody calendar, online divorce journal, child support tracker and more for blended families, single parents and high conflict divorce cases.