The Holidays tend to elicit a range of emotions for all of us. The excitement of gifts and special time with family and friends, offset by the stress of extra shopping and events. Many of us are either directly or indirectly affected by divorce. The complexity of the additional houses and celebrations often intensify the stress. While over time families tend to acclimate to the day-to-day challenges of multiple houses, the holidays have the potential to trigger difficult emotions even a decade or more past “I Don’t”. It’s often difficult to keep the focus on the spirit of the season when dealing with divorce. Here are a few tips to make the most of your holidays regardless of how many houses you and your family need to navigate:
- Set an intention. Whether it’s creating a special experience with your kids and grandkids, a productive goal or simply to rest, write it down and make sure you make that top priority happen.
- Focus on the objective of spending treasured time with those you love and uplift you.
- Commit to avoid focusing on past issues or even comment on them – encourage family members to do the same.
- Commit to focus on your kids, grandkids, extended family and future.
- Try to keep as many routines and historical family traditions that still work while being flexible and adapting where needed.
- When a past tradition no longer fits, simply let it go or create a new meaningful tradition to honor your priorities without adding to stress.
- Consider gifts that keep on giving like investing in experiences or making contributions to 529s, a down payment on a house or a retirement account.
- Remember to HAVE FUN and look forward to 2018!
If you have children that will have shared time with you and your ex-spouse on a holiday, remember to let your children know you will be fine when they go with their other parent. Even adult children often feel guilt and need to know each parent is okay. If it is at all possible, consider a joint event with your ex-spouse and your children. Outings such as a movie or play allow your children to enjoy time with both of you in a neutral setting without requiring too much interaction with your ex. The main thing to remember is that while life does not look the same when anyone in a family gets divorced, the holidays can be an opportunity for quality family time to create new positive memories.
If you have a divorcing woman on your gift list, a couple of fun, light reads are “Divorce Girl Smiling” by Jackie Pilossoph and “Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn” by Kris Radish.
Also, our BDF Divorce Practice Group just published “The Next Chapter – A Practical Roadmap for Successfully Navigating Through, and Beyond, Divorce”. While it’s not a light read, it is a good guide. Please let us know if you would like a complimentary copy to give to someone you know who is contemplating divorce or in the process to help them navigate their 2018 a little easier by emailing email@example.com.