If the holiday season wasn't already packed with stress and overwhelming 'to-do' lists, being a single parent can add even more anxiety. When it's 'not your year' to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas, a sense of lonliness and intense sadness can threaten to take over. Below are some ways you can help fight off the holiday blues so that you, and your child, can enjoy a low-stress day.
- Plan ahead with your child and your ex so that everyone is clear about the schedule. Talking with your ex ahead of time about who will be picking up or dropping off, as well as what things need to be packed, etc. can help ease your anxiety. An added bonus to verifying the schedule is that you can talk with your child to make sure they are comfortable and understand what is going on. If arguments about times happen with your ex (and they will) keep that between the two of you. Your child will transition better if they don't know about it.
- Put on a happy face when your child leaves. Although you may want to burst into tears or yell out in rage, sending your child to dad with resentment and anger will not help anyone. Remind them to have a good time, be respectful, and that you will miss them, but will be fine.
- Take time for yourself by doing something you never get to do when you have your child around. Treat yourself to some spa treatments, make a favorite recipe and have a glass of wine, take a bubble bath and watch romantic movies. Whatever it is, make sure you use this time to remind yourself of who you are when you aren't a "mom".
- Celebrate the holiday with family and friends, even if you think you're too sad to have fun. Sulking at home won't do much good. Being around those you love will lift your spirits and take your mind off of your blues. Who know?...you might actually enjoy yourself!
It's normal for single parents to feel a mix of emotions during holidays that their children are away. However instead of wallowing in those feelings, choose to make this holiday one that both you and your child will enjoy. Use these tips from someone who is celebrating this Thanksgiving without her 2-year old son and you may beat those holiday blues!