MomTalk.com March 22, 2019:   The women's magazine for moms about children, family, health, home, fashion, careers, marriage & more

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Single Parenting for the Holidays

Do more than just survive the holidays

by Katriena Knights

It's the ultimate family time--the holidays bring everyone together for meals, gift giving, catching up with relatives, showing off the kids--but your family isn't quite what it used to be. You're a single mom now, and all the usual family holiday traditions don't fit quite right anymore.

You can still have a happy holiday, though. If you're recently divorced, it might take a few seasons to get into a pattern you're comfortable with, but there are some ways to make the adjustment a little easier, and the holiday season in general a little happier.

Create Your Own Family

If you're feeling out-of-place among friends with more traditional families and ways of celebrating, consider teaming up with one or more other single parents for a joint celebration. Or think about reaching out to needy families. Shop together with your children to buy gifts for a charitable organization, or "adopt" a child through one of the many available programs, and share accounts of your celebrations with him or her. Let your kids help decide how to expand your family--keep them involved so they can reap the best of the rewards.

Create Your Own Traditions
While you'll want to keep things familiar at first, in the long run you'll want to come up with your own holiday traditions. Introduce small things here and there, and involve the kids in decisions about how to celebrate, what to eat, when to open presents--anything you might want to modify to arrive at your own traditions apart from your ex.

On the other hand, if there are some traditions your kids are particularly attached to, don't toss them out just because they're the "old way." If there's something you find particularly difficult, explain to the kids that it makes you sad, and maybe you'll try to do it next year, but don't dismiss it out of hand.

Don't Diss Dad
One of the hardest things to do as a single mom, whether your ex is estranged or still involved with the kids, is to hold your tongue. You'll always have issues with the ex--if you didn't, you'd still be married--but don't air those differences in front of the kids. Whether it's being unable to buy the presents your children want because Dad reneged on child support (again), or something as trivial as difficulty sorting the kids' Christmas lists between you and the ex, keep it to yourself. The holidays can be stressful enough without dwelling on things you can't control, and your ex's behavior is definitely one of those things. And being agitated or angry isn't going to help either you or your kids enjoy the holidays. Consider it your gift to your kids, yourself, and maybe even your ex, to just let it go when he buys everything on your kids' lists, or doesn't buy anything at all. Your holiday will be the happier for it.

Editors note: Find more articles about the holidays on MomTalk.com

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