So, you’re officially divorced. You have completed the paperwork. The ink has dried and everyone has moved on. Now it’s time to worry about your first holidays after divorce. And let’s not forget about school breaks like Spring Break. Up until this point, you’ve spent all of the holidays and school breaks with your kids… every waking minute. And I’m sure the thought of you not doing that this year is heartbreaking. The first year is ALWAYS the hardest, and you might feel like things will never be normal again.
Don’t worry; it’s not all bad. Yes, things are different, but it doesn’t have to be sad. You can do little things during the holidays and school breaks that will make things easier for you and your kids. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Things Are Different Now
Everyone involved has to accept that fact and embrace the new reality you and your Ex create. Things will not be as they were, and that’s a good thing. After all, if things were as they should be, you wouldn’t have needed a divorce!
Plan and plan early. Now that you and your Ex are split, the kids may have multiple places to go and many people to see—be sure to come up with a schedule beforehand, so the kids have plenty of time to spend with both parents.
Celebrate holidays after divorce on your schedule. Try other dates if you can’t make a schedule work for everyone. No one should miss out because of scheduling issues. The most important thing is making sure your kids get to be with both parents, so do what you have to. The date is not what makes a holiday special; people make it memorable.
Now that things are different, you have an opportunity to make new memories and try new things you may never have before. This is a great way to start something special with you and your kids.
Lean On Your Support Network
If you find yourself alone during your first holidays after divorce, reach out to family and friends. I’m sure they would be more than happy to keep you company and support you through this difficult time. If being alone is too hard, find someone you can connect with.
It’s Not a Competition
Don’t compete with your Ex with presents or activities. Your kids overlook stuff like that, so don’t bother. It should never be a competition between you and your Ex about anything regarding the kids. Despite what you may think, your kids want your time. Focus on being the best parent you can be, but not for any other reason than your kids deserve that.
It’s really easy to let your emotions get the best of you during your first holidays after divorce… And if your divorce is still fresh, ups and downs are bound to happen. But I recommend trying not to dwell. It’s important to express your emotions, but you don’t want to get stuck in them. Instead of thinking about the past, try to look to the future – is there something you always wanted to do that you haven’t done? In fact, this is one of the first steps that you should take before you even divorce! If you haven’t yet, now would be a great time to start!