Navigating raising a child with an ex-spouse is tricky enough but throwing holidays into the mix can place an even bigger strain on the co-parenting relationship. The biggest, and most important, takeaway parents need to remember when co-parenting—put your child first. Always. Being mindful of that going into the holiday season will only ease some of that added stress. These four tips may help keep that mindset in check.
Communication is key. Create a plan together and be sure to not overschedule your kid. Remember that your child has two families to spend time with; it’s important to consider holiday events and traditions that may be important to the other parent so that the child can enjoy the holidays with both families. Planning ahead, creating a schedule, and informing your child where he/she will be will allow for a smooth and happy holiday season for everyone.
This coincides with planning ahead, but it’s worth noting. Never try to “one-up” the other parent with gifts—it will only lead to hurt feelings and less money in your bank account. Coordinating gifts with the other parent will not only help avoid unnecessary drama, but it will reduce duplicate gifts between houses.
Learning to share your child’s time with an ex-spouse is hard, especially during the holidays when it may mean giving up some traditions. Instead of thinking of it as giving up time or giving up traditions, think of it as a great opportunity to trade in the old for the new. Start a new holiday tradition with your child that is just as special for the two of you. Make sure your child knows it’s okay to be excited about new and old holiday traditions with the other parent as well.
Treat Your Self
Most parents don’t want to give time up with his/her child. Don’t get us wrong, that’s great! But one of the best pieces of advice we can give a newly separated parent when struggling with the idea of not being with his/her child every day is to find new ways to enjoy “me” time. It may come as a surprise, but having one or two days per week to yourself gives time to slow down, take a break, and to reenergize. Maybe there is a hobby you’ve always wanted to pick up, a massage you’ve been dying to get, maybe you enjoy lounging out at home watching holiday movies with nothing else to do, or, maybe you just need to get some holiday shopping done. Whatever it is you choose, having that time to yourself allows more focus and energy towards your child when he/she is with you at home.
At Hollingsworth Roberts Means, LLC, P.C., our team has the experience, the understanding, and the compassion to assist with your family law needs. If you have questions or concerns regarding divorce, custody, mediation, collaborative law or any other family law concerns, please contact our firm at 317.DIVORCE.