This year, I’m celebrating the season solo. Oh, the joys of co-parenting! My ex is picking up our daughter mid-month. Although Thanksgiving somewhat prepared me for her time away from “mommy’s house” as she calls it, her absence will still be felt. I’ll miss her making mashed potatoes on her kid kitchen and pretending to fix a feast. I’ll miss seeing her face light up like the angel on top of the Christmas tree when she sees her gifts underneath.
Instead of becoming blue, I’m inspired to come up with creative ways to celebrate the season. Here are a few ways to co-parent through the upcoming holidays, even if you’re not the one who will spend time with your child.
1. Start New Traditions
If your parenting time doesn’t fall on the actual holiday, you can still enjoy the season. Start a new tradition together. Perhaps host a tree trimming party, a cookie exchange or a Christmas movie marathon. Open presents on Christmas Eve. Purchase an Elf on the Shelf. Or throw a New Year’s Day holiday shindig.
2. Show Goodwill to Your Ex
Split the time to ensure your child creates memories with both parents as well as extended family visiting over the holiday. Meet in the middle for pick up and drop off, accommodate work schedules and avoid arguments. If you have school aged children, don’t add anxiety to their lives and ask them to choose where they will spend the day. Create a co-parenting plan in advance and share the schedule. Even if your ex is acting frosty, suck it up, and go on your merry way!
Remember, your child may not speak up, but he/she sees how you interact with each other and picks up negative vibes.
3. Remember the Reason for the Season
Don’t compete with your ex and go on a shopping spree. If it’s your year off for Christmas, save some money and put less gifts under the tree. What you have leftover, you can put toward a winter getaway or staycation. Enjoy the quiet moments in front of the fireplace. Focus on what’s important. Plan special activities, like ice skating or sled riding.
4.Give to Others
Instead of being a Grinch, spread holiday cheer and give to those in need. Spearhead a toy drive, volunteer at a homeless shelter or visit residents at a nursing home. When you focus on the needs of others, your problems don’t seem big as you first thought. And when you occupy your time, you won’t wonder what your child is doing without you!
Hey BMWK Fam–How do you celebrate the season when it’s not your turn to keep the kids on Christmas?