Even when your divorce is as amicable as possible, the first few big holidays after you’ve been living apart can be painful, confusing and awkward.  If you have children with your ex-spouse, it can become exponentially more complicated. It’s ok, you can do this. We’ve got some tips to make it a little easier for you.

Giving Thanks for Your Family

You may not feel like there’s much to give thanks for right now, but the truth is that you still have most of your family.  Missing your former spouse during the holidays is absolutely valid and can be hard to get past, but there’s a reason you divorced in the first place.  You don’t want to ruin the season for the children you share, so we’ve come up with a few tips to help you take control of the situation:

Coordinate holiday events with your ex.  This is not to say that you should share these events, but you both need to know when the other wants to have Thanksgiving, for example  This ensures that your kids get to see both their parents during the holiday season. Some families plan different days to get together. For example, you may have your Thanksgiving feast on the Thursday of and your ex could have theirs on Saturday.  Another option is to split the holidays and rotate yearly. No one wants to be the parent that never gets to have Christmas with their kids.

Start new traditions.  It’s never easy to reshuffle your family and its traditions, but when you’ve gone through a divorce certain touchpoints could serve to reopen wounds rather than act as a source of comfort and joy.  If you and your spouse used to make a big breakfast on Christmas morning before the kids got up, go out for some pancakes before opening gifts this year. Changing traditions can be fun for your family, especially if everyone is involved in the planning.

Be sincere and honest.  Your kids will know there’s something bothering you, and depending on their ages, they may assume it’s something they’ve done.  It’s important that you tell them in an age-appropriate way that you’re just a little sad because things have changed a lot.  Don’t swallow those feelings until they turn into anger — it’s far too easy to model negative attitudes to your kids when you’re still healing from your divorce.  Be honest, own your emotions and make it perfectly clear that your children are not at fault for your current state.

After a divorce, it can be hard to be thankful for much of anything, especially if you’re now facing additional financial pressures this holiday season because you’ve downsized to a single income.  Your children will understand better than you might imagine, just make sure you’re working with their other parent to ensure that their holidays are a success.

Remember Self-Care This Season

Even if you don’t have children with your ex, the holiday season can feel empty and upsetting after your separation or divorce.  Things you used to do with your ex are sad reminders of your relationship problems and you may even feel like there’s nothing to celebrate this year.  You definitely need some self-care this holiday season.

Friendsgiving is a fairly new tradition where friends get together to have a celebration on Turkey Day because their families may be far away or there’s some other tension they’re hoping to Savoid.  It’s a lot of fun and you won’t have the same pressures that your family might have put on you. Ask everyone to bring a dish, set up a buffet and let Netflix provide the entertainment. Your friends will appreciate it and you’ll be surrounded by the people who have supported you this far through your divorce and recovery on a day when you may feel really vulnerable.

The holiday season can be difficult after a huge life change like a separation or divorce, but you can look at this year as the year that you started new traditions.  If you do need help handling the details for holiday visitations, Rodríguez Family Law is here to support you all the way. We can act as mediators for holiday planning or simply put the details all down on paper so you have a legal record of your  plans moving forward.

Call us at 862-241-1228 or send us an email to get started.