Co-parenting can present a challenge at any time of year, but no time is more challenging than the holiday season. Here are some things to keep in mind to make it through the holidays each year.
- The holiday schedule runs on top of your regular custody schedule. What this means is that during the holidays your custody schedule will change, BUT as soon as the holiday schedule is over the regular schedule picks back up as if it never stopped.
- Usually parents alternate the holidays. Parent 1 may get the kids on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve in odd years and Parent 2 will have the kids on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve in odd years. In even years the holidays would switch. It’s predictable and preplanned. You don’t want to make new plans every November and December because that’s just setting yourself up for trouble.
- Consider being flexible and respecting well established family traditions when possible. Does your side of the family always celebrate Hanukkah and your co-parent’s side always celebrates Christmas Eve? See if you can negotiate some mutually beneficial agreement where your co-parents always gets Christmas Eve with the kids and you always get the first or last night of Hanukkah.
- This is going to hurt, but please remember this is not about you. It’s about your children spending time with their other parent and their extended family.
- This is a chance for you to spend time by yourself or with your family without the added responsibility of having your children underfoot.
- Don’t renege on your agreements. You should honor your word even if you haven’t yet signed the agreement or it isn’t finalized. Refusing to do so will destroy any trust you have rebuilt with your ex.
As time goes on holidays without your children don’t necessarily get any easier but your perspective changes. Not having to be with the in-laws who don’t like you and not having to go to two places and eat two dinners in one night is a major win. Remember, next year your kiddos will be with you.
I wish you peace this holiday season.