Being a parent in general for the holidays is difficult and stressful. We have so much pressure on us. We have to find the perfect gifts, host parties, find the most perfect outfits, and much more.
I used to love the hustle and bustle of the holidays. It used to make me in the best mood. I loved the atmosphere and just being around people. Three years ago, my “holiday mindset” changed completely. Three years ago, I spent my first holidays as a Single Parent.
The holidays are a time for family closeness, family Christmas Cards, and everything and anything that involves family. I have shared custody of my boys, and sharing them for the holidays is the hardest thing in the whole world.
Two years ago, my boys slept at their dad's house on Christmas Eve. This was my first Christmas Eve without my boys. The way I felt that night still makes me sick to my stomach. I cried, and when I say I cried, I mean I CRIED myself to sleep. I felt as if I was punched in the stomach.
Did they leave cookies out for Santa? Are they in the Christmas jammies that I buy them every year? Is their dad going to remember to put stuff in their stockings? The questions and concerns kept running through my head.
All night. I remember I woke up and immediately texted my ex-husband, and he sent me pictures of our boys, and I was okay. I did it. I got through my first Christmas Eve without my boys. I couldn’t wait to get them that afternoon and show them what Santa brought to my house for them.
As the years go by, I wish I could say that the holidays get easier, but they don't. It never gets easier. Ever. Luckily, there are a few things that can make the holidays a little easier for us single parents.
Make New Traditions
I used to love decorating my house, putting up my tree, and having matching ornaments all perfectly placed. Now, the boys and I put our tree up together, and I let them put ornaments wherever they want.
My OCD does click in, and I want to move things around, but I let it all stay wherever the boys had placed them.
One of my Best Friends is also a single mom of two boys, and we have our own holiday parties. Just us 6. We play reindeer games, play holiday bingo, bake, and so much more. It's the little thing we do that all the boys enjoy and look forward to.
As single parents, we really have to watch what we spend, especially during the holidays. If you really want something that you have been putting on the back burner to buy something for your kids…. BUY IT! You deserve it!
It could also be a massage, a pedicure, or even a trip. One of my oldest and Best Friends lives in Denver, so I treat myself during the holidays by going to visit her. It does not only help with loneliness, but it also helps the holidays go by faster.
When the kids are with their dad, I try to keep as busy as possible but even more during the holidays.
I do all of my shopping when I don't have the boys. I talk to my friends and make plans for lunches, dinners, and drinks. I love self-help and going to the gym. Something else a single parent could do to help the time pass would be to volunteer at a local hospital or nursing home.
As the holidays are fast approaching and the craziness is about to start, I already have anxiety and feel a sense of loneliness. I have to remember to do the things that I mentioned above. I do give myself pep talks very often. I also try to remind myself that memories last a lifetime. They are made in the small moments. No one can ever replace memory, and that is what I try to do with my boys.
How do you get through the holidays as a single parent?