3 Tips to Co-Parent through the Holidays and Stay Sane
Surviving the holidays – it's the one goal that moms (and dads) have this time of year. If we can just make it through the school concert, those shopping trips, that dance recital, the classroom gift exchange, the church program, buying the teacher gifts, cookie baking, tree decorating, and the elf on the shelfing madness – then we will have a Merry Christmas!
Well, take all of these things and then wrap in a co-parenting situation, and you have the makings of an algebraic nightmare.
I'm entering my fifth holiday season as a divorced mom with two girls. You would think that by now that I would have it down and that it would be getting easier. I'm sorry to say that it's not.
My girls are now eight and ten. They are delightful, well-adjusted girls who split time evenly between their Dad and I. As co-parents, we work well together to keep things running smoothly for their schedules. The problem is that schedule isn't getting any easier.
A few weeks ago, I got together with some other moms in similar situations. We put our heads together to come up with advice that might help others and the result is a must have for divorced families, VProud's Guide to Coparenting During the Holidays. Here are my favorite tips from the video, the ones that have worked the best for our family.
Get together and write down a plan for Christmas celebrations.
This is the second tip in the video, and it's a really important one. I got remarried last June and my ex-husband has a new wife as well. With so many families to plan around, getting something in writing is much better than the potential for misunderstood phone conversations or quick texts where tone is hard to read. Having a clear plan for where the kids need to be and trying to limit back and forth trips is important. With Christmas vacation usually spanning 10-14 days, there is plenty of time to do some serious bonding on both sides.
Don't flood your kids with presents.
This is the sixth tip in the video, and believe it or not, this one is harder to do than it sounds. My girls now have step-families on both sides who want to love and spoil them. This is good news for me! I should be able to spend less while my kids still get more. Win-Win in my book. But this is easier said than done. Make a list and discuss this with your ex as well. You may even want to team up to get that digital device they want.
Take advantage of alone time.
And this this the fourth tip in the video, but I saved it for last because if there's one thing I want to leave you with, it's this: practice self care and take advantage of the alone time that you will end up having. Along with my daughters, my husband has four boys. That's six kids between the ages of eight and sixteen when they are all with us at once. Believe me, taking advantage of our time without the kids is not an issue. But it can be tough if you are newly divorced and feeling lonely. So practice some self-care. Make plans for reading a book, enjoying a movie marathon, or plan a fun day with friends. You may have flashbacks to life before kids and learn to embrace this time.
I know with a little effort and a LOT of communication, we can make this a season of joy. But I'm really going to breathe a sigh of release come January. Take a look at VProud's Guide to Coparenting During The Holidays for all seven tips that us moms came up with. I'm tip #3!
Andrea Gribble is the author of, “The Von Awesome Family In A Digital Daze,” a book that helps kids understand why technology balance is important from a child's perspective. She offers resources to help your family at AndreaGribble.com and she is also the owner of #SocialSchool4EDU, a social media training and management company for schools. Follow her journey of raising kids in a digital world on Facebook and Twitter.Read More