The most magical morning of the year can be the hardest for those of you learning how to survive Christmas alone as a single mom. Perhaps, like me, your custody agreement lets you spend Christmas morning with your children every other year. When you wake Christmas morning and your children aren’t there, it’s a difficult situation to endure. Scratch that- it hurts.
As the years of single parenting go by, it gets a little easier and you learn how to better cope with the arrangement. Here are just a few of the ways that you can be mindful of your feelings, while making the best of what can be a heart-wrenching holiday.
- Think of Christmas as a season, not just a day. Spend as much time as possible doing activities and experiencing Christmas with your children while they are there. That may mean going out and looking at Christmas lights, catching a holiday movie or having a snugglefest at home with a few holiday favorites. By maximizing your time together, you know you’ve already made some great memories and you can pick up where you left off as soon as the kids return.
- Spend time with friends and family who can empathize. Know your limits emotionally when it comes to the company you keep that first Christmas day. If you are spending it with family, know that it may be upsetting to see other children around or having family members asking about your kids, without realizing that it may make you uncomfortable. Also, lots of singles are alone on Christmas day due to distance, drama, etc. Grab some friends and spend the day with those who will help keep your spirits up and make a few memories with your friends as well.
- Do something for others. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer all year ’round, not just around the holidays. Find something that speaks to you and pay it forward!
- Take care of yourself, too. Haven’t you needed some alone time all year? Sleep in, read a good book, have a movie marathon and overindulge on Christmas desserts (I won’t tell). Your kids will be back in no time to drive you crazy (and keep you sane).
What are other great ways to feel less alone at the holidays? I’d love to hear suggestions in the comments below.