So, as the holidays approach, stress between parents no longer living together increases. Who gets Christmas? Hanukkah? New Years?
Let me give you some observations that will hopefully help, or at the very least, start the conversation.
First, the more specific the holiday plan is between the parents, the higher the likelihood that it will work with few to no incidents.
Second, think about both traditions and what you want your children to learn when they become parents in the future. Some older traditions can continue, if both parents cooperate. Marketing to your children the positivity of creating new traditions can even be better. Remember, you and the other parent are both on trial right now, as your children are forming their opinions about how to celebrate the holidays by watching what the two of you are doing.
Third, think about what your children’s memories of the holidays will be. Do your best to create great memories for your children, as opposed to remembering it “as the Christmas my parent spent in jail because my other parent filed . . .”
Fourth, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, physically and emotionally. Stress abounds at the holidays. Surround yourself with friend, family, exercise, a pet and anything else that makes you happy or feel good. Note–I excluded excessive drinking and “free at last” tattoos!
Fifth, take a snapshot of twenty years into the future. Looking back, what do you want your children to think about their childhood? Chances are, no matter how well you think you and the other parent have insulated your children from emotions, they likely have a better handle than either of you do.