Co-parenting and the Holidays

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Co-parenting and the HolidaysWhen someone goes through a divorce and you have a child, sooner than later you come to the realization that the holidays will never be the same. For some holidays, you will either have your child for part of the day or not at all. It’s absolutely heartbreaking at times, but one thing that helps is having a good co-parenting relationship with the other parent.

When my first husband and I got divorced, it wasn’t a walk in the park.

Initially, we didn’t get along well, though we seemed to have a pretty good plan when it came to the holidays: my son would celebrate with whomever he was with on the particular holiday with the exception of Christmas when he would spend Christmas Eve with me and go to his dad on Christmas Day. I love Halloween, so I was happy that it landed on my weeks each year, but I realized last Halloween that it was the last one that landed on my week, and I cried myself to sleep that night.

As the years have passed, we get along much better and are able to co-parent during the holidays even better. For my son’s birthday this year, all of us (my ex-husband, my husband, my toddler, and I) went out to dinner together to celebrate and had cake at my house afterwards. For Halloween this year, my husband was working and my ex-husband let me and my other two children join him and my son for trick-or-treating. We had so much fun and I think it made a wonderful memory for my oldest son. Christmases have gotten better as well. We always send my ex-husband a food gift and he gets us a little something as well. I always make sure that my son gets him something for Father’s Day, his birthday, and Christmas, and visa versa.

There will still be difficult times, always.

This will be the last Christmas in which I have my son overnight from Christmas Eve until Christmas morning. It makes me incredibly sad that his little brothers won’t have the waking-up-Christmas-morning memories with him, but of course, his dad deserves to have those memories with him as well.

For the holidays in which I don’t have my son, I always try to make up for it with other activities to celebrate that holiday. For example, Easter last year fell on a week in which my son was with his dad, so I took him to the “Hug a Bunny” event at the zoo and we were able to have our own Easter fun that way. For Christmas, I will continue to take him and the rest of my family to Christmas events around town so that we have a whole month of wonderful Christmas memories to hopefully make up a little for the time we are apart.

Peaceful and successful co-parenting makes for a better life for the child who gets to see his parents getting along, and also makes for a better, more peaceful life for the parents as well. I am definitely not an expert and we still occasionally have our moments where we aren’t getting along at our best, but our number one goal is to always give our son the best life possible.

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