The first Christmas Post-Separation was excruciating! The memories of previous Christmases’ seemed to overshadow the first and even the second Christmas in this NEW world post separation, HOWEVER with time, you WILL feel better about the holidays and have new traditions (least this was my experience).
Was BIG with my family and went a little like this: Open Santa presents at home, Church with extended family (i.e. 30 people) then a HUGE extravagant lunch with a jumping castle and family games!
Christmas day Post-Separation:
It was “agreed” (or let’s say negotiated) that the NEW world Christmas day post separation would be experienced as follows:
1. Kids wake up with me on Christmas day
2. Mr Ex would turn up early in the am to open presents with us (this only lasted the first Christmas, as his parallel partner to me mandated that it was inappropriate to spend the morning with his young kids 3 & 6).
NOTE: As I always say: there are 3 sides to a story – His, Mine & the Truth, so this is MINE!
3. Mr Ex would leave, while the kids and I attended church as we always have with all the cousins’ kids and extended family ever since we both got married. I had always gone to church with my HUGE family of approx. 30, each year since I was 5 years old!
4. Mr Ex would take the kids at 4pm on Christmas day, crying about being ripped away from their cousins and my family. The kids were VERY emotional (being 3 and 6) during this “extraction” of being taken away so that they could spend with my Ex and his family (including the “other woman”, where there were no other kids involved). They would stay over night with Mr Ex and be returned on the 30 th December.
After the kids left the premises (all festivities were usually at my aunts’ home), I usually left too. Everyone usually stayed on sometimes until the next day, however I always felt deflated and devastated to comprehend smiling and pretending I was OK.
I WAS NOT OK!
I used to go back home and just sulk. I now reflect back wondering how I coped! That emptiness and loneliness was excruciating. The kids crying when leaving during the “extraction” traumatised me. My only hope is that they do not remember those horrible moments and only remember the fun we used to have during Christmas.
Of-course over time (approx. 3 years later), Mr Ex finally saw how traumatic the “extraction” on Christmas day was for the kids, so he apprehensively conceded to picking them up on the 26th Dec instead (in addition to having them a few days proceeding the 24th December. This realisation came after quite a few conversations to convince him about the impacts on the kids and the kids themselves begging him to stay with my side of the family. Who wouldn’t? With all the extravagances we undertook to make it memorable for ALL our kids.
Tips to attempt Happiness during Christmas Post-Separation:
Now that you have an idea about the complexities of my situation (which may be similar to yours), here are a few things I learnt about negotiating the terms during Christmas:
1. The Minimising of emotional duress on Kids should be paramount!
2. Have an open conversation with your Ex
3. Be prepared to COMPROMISE
4. Prepare the kids
5. Work on letting go
6. Discuss present exchanges
7. Choose your BATTLES
8. Setup mechanisms to cope
9. Focus on what YOU can change
10. Finally: Learn to look at the positive in each situation! Each effort to do this will perpetuate and strengthen your VIBE!
After a period of sadness and struggle, revealed a person who was forced to sort her shi# out and find the strength needed to raise 2 young kids without a partner!
And so, a new journey began with new dreams: www.TheSeparationExchange.com
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