Parenting when you are no longer in a relationship together is difficult. This is especially the case at Christmas time. Along with the presents and the grub Christmas is about family. It brings people home from foreign lands and you visit and talk to people you might not have done for the whole year. We all have that one Grandaunt somewhere. So when your family is not the traditional model you have to change the way you approach things. This will by my fourth Christmas as a single Mammy so I’ve learned a few things over the years.
The first Christmas I was on my own I spent the day crying. I was pregnant which didn’t help but I found the emotion of the day overbearing. I cried for myself. I cried for their father because he didn’t get to spend the day with them. I cried for my children who were oblivious and had a fantastic day. I couldn’t maintain my composure. It’s a bittersweet memory because I was surrounded by people who loved me and who were delighted to have me and my boys there, but the sadness was overwhelming.
The following year things were better. My baby girl had arrived and we were settled in our new environment. Decisions had been made about the time sharing. They would spend Christmas Eve with their Dad and Christmas Day with me. This works for us. That’s the goal. To find out what works for you and your family. Some people might find it strange that we don’t alternate who gets them on Christmas. This is what we came up with and there’s a certain security in knowing what is happening year in, year out.
People often ask me, what would you do if their Dad wanted them Christmas Day? Well sure it’s a no brainer…… I’d have no issue with it. One thing that I have learned being a single parent is that you can’t focus on the times you don’t spend with your child. I am so lucky that I get to spend so much time watching my children grow. The magic for me is in the small moments. The laugh we have on short car journey’s to the school. Finding a random movie on a Thursday night that we all love and munching our way through it.
These large days of significance are just days to me. If they spent Christmas Day with their Dad then we’d just have Christmas another day. I’ve applied the same to birthdays. If they fall on a day they are in their Dad’s I no longer feel that pang. I am so lucky in so many ways, focusing on those few day’s seems pointless to me now. This didn’t happen overnight but it’s worth working towards.
I suspect that when they are older they might choose to go to their Dad’s and it won’t be easy. I may have to drink the whole day to make up for the loss…… ok it does not seem so bad when you say it like that. Of course I’d miss them and of course it wouldn’t be the best day ever but I’d get through it. What’s most important is that they are ok. I would hope that they would feel happy and secure in the knowledge that both their parents love them whether they are with them or not.
I would ring……of course I’d ring, I’m an Irish Mammy after all.