While I still wish for the simple days of all of us together under one roof, the reality is different. What once used to be happy and busy times, now are still happy and busy but have a different energy around them as well. Regardless of the time we have been separated, the fact that we have not been able to have a legal agreement (not for the lack of trying or compromising) which binds us, always creates unnecessary stress. Agreements are a whole different topic, but the purpose of today’s post is to entirely focus around the coping skills newly separated parents need to have.
Here are my top 5 tips:
1) Breathe. No matter what the outcome is (and generally there is alternating holidays), the kids get to be with a parent. Unless there is a concern of safety or something else, learn to let go and let your kid(s) enjoy their time fully with the other parent. Be excited that they will have a turkey or something completely not-traditional.
2) Plan time alone. Literally – Make plan and put it on your calendar. Make exciting plans. Plan to go out with friends and not just stay in. Make plans to go to Starbucks and read, or to a library, or to a botanical garden. But do go out instead of moping around missing your kids. Or get things done like dealing with paper clutter around the house and then be excited to get that out of the way so you can spend quality time with the kids after.
3) Give yourself grace. If you have a friend who is recently separated, you would never say some of the things you may tell yourself – from blame to feeling sorry. Recognize that this is transition time and that it will not be like this forever. But most of all, that the situation is exactly as it’s meant to be – especially if you did everything to keep the relationship together even if it didn’t serve you.
4) Be flexible. Guess what kids love more than anything else – time with their parents! Guess what – for children of separated/divorced parents, that can mean double the fun! Double the gifts! Double the joy! They also love role play and celebrations, so celebrate a holiday or birthday on any day of the week. Celebrate when it’s good for you and do not feel bad about that. Your kids will not.
5) Be grateful. It is easy to focus on all the things that are not going our way, the ways in which our dreams did not come true, and well…every little thing that we can complain about. But the truth is, there is a LOT to be grateful for. Teach your kids to be grateful too. It’s proven that gratitude makes happy people.
Boy, would I love for my 2 kids to grow up happy and healthy, knowing that mommy and daddy love them! If you’d like to share any of your tips or rituals, for us to consider, please do so. Every idea helps ease a worried mind of a newly separated parent
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