Blended Holidays

Gifts

I came from divorced parents, and so did me co-parents. I think it’s one reason we have worked so diligently at this co-parenting thing. We have had our days, weeks, and even months when not all of us have gotten along as well as we could, but all relationships fluctuate. I remember the first year, when I wasn’t quite used to the idea of my marriage ending. There was a part of me that clung to my marriage not so much because I still loved my husband, as much as I wanted the best life possible for my children.  Being from a “broken home” was not ideal, but neither was living in a household where neither parent felt completely loved and accepted for being themselves with their partner. After all, they would be learning how to behave in future relationships, and how to allow men to treat them down the line from us. The first Christmas was difficult because when you build a family, you collect many traditions over the years, and with divorce most of those suddenly change. It can send most moms and dads into a tailspin. The most important thing to remember is that even if you are feeling panicked and unsure of the future, it is tough to move forward by looking into the rearview mirror. Focus on making new memories, new traditions, and keeping things as routine as possible during the transition. Stability is extremely important, although I understand you can only control yourself and not the other person .

Tree

That very first Christmas was celebrated in my old house, which I had shared with my ex and my children, as we had not quite moved out yet. In between gifts and food, I snuck into the bathroom, reassured myself in the mirror that I could get through the day, erasing the evidence of tears etched into my make-up, and went back out to my girls. They never knew how much it hurt.

Each family is different and shares custody during the holidays differently. It works better when you are open-minded, be flexible, and understanding to the other parent and their spouse. Above all, remember everything you do is for your child, benefits your child, and when you nurture your child’s relationship with the other parent you are nurturing your child.

This Christmas Day was my year not to have my girls. I have been remarried for three years now, so I’m not new at this. It does not matter how long you have been divorced, it sucks not to be with your kids on a holiday! But no matter how bad it hurts, I had my turn last year, so I do not bombard my kids with calls, texts or even pictures while they are with their father. I try to focus on the wonderful memories of when they were here. We had a fantastic Christmas Eve last night, and I am truly blessed! When it is My ex-husband’s turn with the girls, I give them that time. I take a step back. I give their house-hold the same respect I want for my own. If the girls want to call me they can. If they want to text me they can. When they were a bit younger I called them and told them good-night, and one nightly call is understandable. I’ve seen threads on Twitter and articles about divorced families where one side will not stop pestering the other, apparently sabotaging the other parent’s visit with the child. I do not understand what this accomplishes for either the parent or the child.

Does the other parent or step-parent pester you or your spouse when it is your holiday? If so what are some of the things you do to defuse the situation?

Are you a parent who has a tough time letting go? If so, what are some things that help you in coping?

Trish Eklund is taking a nontraditional approach to parenting children after divorce and remarriage. Raising her two daughters of eleven and fifteen with her husband, ex-husband, and his wife, they consult one another on all parenting decisions. Trish is the owner and founder of Family Fusion Community. Trish has been featured on www.playground-magazine.com, and www.bigblendedfamily.com. She is a regular writer on www.herviewfromhome.com, writer and co-editor for Her View From Omaha. Follow her on Twitter: @trishiewriter, Google +, and Pinterest.

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