With Utah divorce rates running higher than the US average, many parents will feel the effect of divorce this holiday season. Whether you share child custody or are currently fighting for rights to see your children, the holidays can be difficult. There are several things you can do to make the season a little brighter.
Plan Ahead for the Holidays
Your divorce decree spells out where your children will spend the holidays, make sure you adhere to the designated plan. If there is not a firm plan, try to form one with your ex. Remember, your children want to spend time with both sides of the family. In most cases it is optimal for the parents to each have the children on alternate holidays, or even split the holiday’s mid-day if time and distance allow.
When discussing arrangements, find out where the kids will be spending time while they are with the other parent so there are no surprises later. If you aren’t pleased with the plan, have a civil conversation about your concerns. Even if you cannot come to an agreement you are both happy with, never speak ill of the other parent in front of your children.
Don’t Go It Alone–Spend Time With Friends
Friends and extended family make good company. Find out what those closest to you are doing for the holidays. No family in the area?
- Have a small get-together at your place and invite members of your church
- Make a plan with a buddy to throw a dinner for veterans that don’t have a place to go
- Volunteer at a local homeless shelter or even a children’s hospital
It is hard to be away from your own kids during the holidays, however, you can do something to help others while your children are with the other parent. Participating in constructive activities will help the time pass. Furthermore, consider having your egg nog sans alcohol–it will numb your mind for a short time, but it won’t help you process these new changes.
Pass Some Time by Starting Your New Year’s Resolution Early
Last year you vowed to join the local softball team and workout at least five days a week. The year before you wanted to lose that last ten pounds from 2008’s diet. Now is the time for a new beginning. Use some of the time that your children will be with the other parent to do something for yourself. Not only will you feel better about yourself, you will have more energy to be active with your children as well.
Keep Gift Giving Simple
Speak with your child’s other parent about the gifts you each will buy. Some duplications are okay if they mean your child will have a few favorites at each home. Try not to go overboard with purchases. The holidays are for sharing love, not spending money.
Focus on the Quality of the Time, Not the Quantity
For as long as you can remember, you watched the football game as a family after Thanksgiving dinner. You all piled in the car to get the Christmas tree together. You and the boys strung popcorn while Mom and the girls hung ornaments.
It’s time to start some holiday traditions of your own. The time will go fast if you are splitting the holidays, so plan ahead. Perhaps ice skating on Christmas Eve when you have the kids or a New Year’s movie marathon with a friend when the children are with the other parent. The opportunities to make new memories are endless.
Healthy Mind, Healthy Body
With so much going on, it is easy to forget about your own needs. If you find yourself feeling anxious or depressed, speak with a trusted friend or a counselor. Eat balanced meals to keep your energy in check.
Count Your Blessings
Finally, when you are feeling overwhelmed, think about the things you are thankful for. Take the time to make a list, then print it out and frame it. Hang it on your wall so each time you are feeling down, you can take a look at it and be reminded of all the things that are good in life.
Try to remain calm when it comes to holiday arrangements. Take each holiday one at a time. If you need the help of a family law attorney to help with your divorce during the holidays in the Salt Lake City, Utah area, call the law office of David Pedrazas. We want the best for our clients and their children.