Whew! We made it to December 2020. Man, it has been one heck of a year, to say the least. Living through a pandemic, juggling working from home with a child in school (and therapy), and on top of that truly working at making co-parenting work with an ex. This year was a little different, due to it being the first time I had to co-parent during the holidays. Although it has been trial and error, I must say I am very proud of how mature and considerate my co-parent and I have been in how we would choose to do the holidays with our son. After successfully navigating through Thanksgiving I feel I have a better understanding of what it means to truly commit to putting your child's needs first.
Here are a few things you should keep in mind when co-parenting during the holidays:
Have an open line of communication goes a long way!
I have said this in past posts, and in all phases of co-parenting, it is essential to maintain clear and open communication about what is going on and expectations so you both can remain on the same page. Have conversations about how you would like your child to spend the holidays. With COVID, holidays look a little different this year. So if your concern is your child's exposure to it, voice it.
As it relates to Christmas specifically, having an open dialogue on gifts you plan to get your child helps prioritize what your child needs and to ensure you both aren't buying the same thing. One thing that helped me and my ex this year was creating a note on our phones that we shared that listed all the gifts we planned to get our son. As we got them, we noted it and were able to stay clear of buying the same gifts and confusion on what was important for him to have for
Have a flexible schedule
This is also very important in all stages of co-parenting but critical when planning for the holidays especially if you are new to co-parenting. Being flexible saves you from often being frustrated. Keep in mind this may be your first year co-parenting like mine and if it is know that it can be hard to think of holidays without your kids but the most important thing is your kid's happiness.
A good way to split time is to alternate weeks. So since winter break is usually for two weeks, you can take one week and your ex can take the other. Due to my ex's work schedule, we found it beneficial to stick to our normal schedule of every other day and alternating the weekends (keep in mind, if you do not live close this might not be ideal). As he gets older we might change this, but it works for us now.
Your Kid's Feelings Matter, Not Yours
Always! Always!Always! Put your kid's feelings first... you might not be on good terms with your ex but know that your child loves both of you and the holidays are already a little harder when your parents are separated. So whenever making decisions ensure you look at all possible outcomes of each decision and ask yourself how will this make your child feel?
Even though you might dislike your ex, showing your child that you can work together helps your child with overall stability.
Involve Eachother in New Memories with You Child
So like all families before you separate, you have traditions and/or things you use to do as a family. One tradition we use to do as a family was paint ornaments, make Christmas cookies, and watch Christmas movies the night before Christmas. Although we won't be able to do that as a family this year, we decided to start a new tradition which was doing a family activity together with my ex.
Yes, this can seem quite impossible especially when you and your ex are not on good terms. We decided to try ice skating, and seeing my son's face light up as his dad walked into the ice skating rink was confirmation that kid only knows love. So don't make your kids choose, allow them to love you both.
Take Care of Yourself Honey!
Self-care is so important during this time. Especially for newly single mamas, it can be downright exhausting on taking this new journey alone. But I am here to say you got this. This year I decided to invest in a membership at a wellness spa and as apart of the membership you get a massage or facial once a month. By doing this, I was able to take time out once a month, no kids, no work, and just truly enjoy an hour massage or facial. It did wonders for my overall mental, emotional, and physical state.
So whether you decide to take yourself out to eat, take a bath, or get a massage do something for you, mama, because you deserve it!
Remember to like, share, and subscribe! Wishing you all a happy holiday and a happy new year!