Well, it’s the holidays again! I enjoy the holidays, but the holidays are often a reminder of the wrong choices I made that I cannot change. Each year my two older boys are either away for Christmas or Thanksgiving with their dad. Although I am happy that they have a relationship with their father, I always feel guilty because I made the choice to divorce.
Most years I deal with feeling sad either Christmas or Thanksgiving and I have made a vow to myself “NO MORE”! I am done being sad over making the best decision I could have ever made for my boys and I! Divorce is hard on kids but if I had stayed, they would be seeing two parents arguing, fighting, and there would be no example of love around them. As a mother it is always my priority to prevent the boys from experiencing trauma due to my actions. Since I was raised in trauma, I want to break the cycle for my boys! So, this Christmas will be joyful because I have accepted my past choices and I stand on them! If I am being truly open and honest, I have had a hard time with clinging to the past. Sometimes I find myself stuck in trauma, replaying certain events and situations over and over in my head. What I am learning through healing and growing is that replaying those memories is a form of self-harm. It is okay to explore memories, but it is toxic and completely unhealthy to allow myself to stay stuck in the past. Therefore, for the holidays this year I vow to be present and focused on the now!
This year for Christmas I will celebrate with my family that is present! My husband and our two younger kids deserve to be happy and enjoy our holiday together until the boys return. I have decided to look at the holiday visitation as my time to have a small break. It is easier and cheaper to hire a sitter for two kids, than for four kids! (Lol) I have decided to look at the bright side and positives of the situation. I do not want to focus on the negatives anymore because it drains my energy and is not worth my time. On the brighter side the boys need and want a father, and since I have physical custody, it is only fair they spend time with their father throughout the year. When the boys are teenagers and young adults, I want them to have good memories and I want them to know that my mom loved us and only wanted the best for us, so she put us first.
Regardless of how nasty my divorce was, or what was done in the marriage… bottom line is I ended it and the kids should not have to suffer or feel guilty about it! Children are so innocent; they just want to love who they love without any drama or feeling like they must choose. I reassure my boys that they are loved on both sides and there is no need to choose or feel sad when we are not together during the holidays! I remind them we live together and will be back together soon. To make the holiday breaks easier on the kids and us, moving forward we will celebrate our holidays on whatever days we want to celebrate them! There is no particular day or time to enjoy time together as a family! Life is complicated! Things happen, but the best thing you can do is learn to adapt and be resilient, especially when you have little ones watching. No matter how bad your situation gets never allow your children to witness unhealthy behaviors, unhealthy forms of communication, or unhealthy relationships. It is important that children have good examples and role models, so they understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy.
I know I am not the only parent going through the ups and downs of coparenting during the holidays. Coparenting is one of those things you just must learn to deal with and the quicker you learn to accept your situation, the better it gets! Time apart from anyone you love will be hard but seeing your kids happy should always be priority over your adult feelings. If the separating from your children is too hard and you feel stuck, I would recommend professional help! My therapist, my husband, and mom have all helped me through my difficult co-parenting times. And each of them kind of gave me the same advice: everything does not require a reaction, and silence is golden! Therefore, move with grace and always put the kids first! If the main focus is always the kids nothing can be misconstrued! If you are struggling and want more tips on dealing with coparenting during the holidays, I have posted a slideshow below that give advice coparenting during the holidays. Also, remember this “Anything or Anyone that does not add value in your life, is not worth your time”! Use your time and attention towards the ones that matter and stay present in the now! We lose so much valuable time with people we love, wasting time on people and things that do not matter. Put what matters to you first (Your Kids)!