Can you believe that it’s already November? Where did the year go?

It dawned on me that the this year’s holidays will be a little bit different that last year’s, especially with the new custody arrangement in place.

Micah will be spending Thanksgiving and the day after at his father’s house this year.  It will be incredibly difficult for me to deal with the absence of my son during this holiday focused on family and togetherness.  Additionally, he will be with me on Christmas Eve and most of Christmas Day, but will be headed to his father Christmas afternoon.

I am finally getting used to the transition of Micah being gone every other weekend, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to share the holidays.  This one is especially important, as this is Micah’s first holidays where he’ll actually understand what’s going on.

I was hoping to make this a very traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas, allowing Micah to have the full holiday experience.

This started to make me very sad, so I decided to be very optimistic about the entire situation.  After all, I was getting what I always wanted.  I am able to offer Micah what I believe will help him significantly in the years to come — a relationship with his father.

Thinking this way, I decided to prepare a few guidelines to help me and other single moms get through the holidays…

  1. Focus on the purpose of the holiday, not the day of the holiday.  If you don’t have your child on a particular holiday, don’t fret.  You can still celebrate the holiday with your child before or after the holiday.  Just because I won’t have Micah on Thanksgiving doesn’t mean I don’t celebrate with him.  I can celebrate on the weekend and allow Micah to celebrate the holiday for a couple of days.  He loves food so he would definitely enjoy it! The day itself doesn’t matter as much as you and your child enjoying the time together.
  2. Show a little togetherness.  If you and your child’s father are under good terms and both of you have no special plans for the holidays, why not celebrate as a family for the sake of your child.  It may be a good thing to get everyone together and let your child know that although separated, both of you are willing to enjoy the time together for the child.
  3. Keep a brave face at all times.  Just because your child will not be with you doesn’t mean you have to make him/her unhappy about it.  When Micah leaves to spend the time with his father, I will keep a brave face, give him a big hug, and tell him to have a great time.  But the brave face doesn’t end there – spend some time with your friends, go shopping, treat yourself; do something that will make you feel good and enjoy yourself.  I know it’s the hardest thing to do, I have trouble doing it myself.  But it is so worth it to make yourself happy during these times; you’ll be miserable otherwise! And it will leak into your time with your child – don’t let that happen!
  4. Prepare for the return. Beyond making some time for yourself, prepare for your child’s return.  Think about the things that you want or need to get done.  Get the laundry done, do the dishes, get some long-needed dusting completed – that way, when your child returns home, you can spend that quality time and not waste time trying to do all the things you should’ve done while your child was gone.
  5. Lastly, and most importantly – just ask to keep your child! You know what I did? I asked Micah’s father the other night if he was taking Micah for Thanksgiving.  You know what he said, “You can keep him.” Now, I didn’t exactly ask him but I did lead the witness.  And he agreed that it would be best for Micah to be with me for Thanksgiving, especially with this being Micah’s first in memory.  I was surprised by his response, but I would have just been going crazy wondering instead of just asking.  You never know, sometimes it may work! Not all the time, but sometimes it will.

Hope this helps you single moms (and dads!) that may be going without your children these upcoming holidays.

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