Can you do a post about having to spend holidays with the ex or not see your kids?
I’m in another chat room for new moms. All the ladies there are talking about divorced parents and how they need to suck it up and hang out together for Christmas or not see their kids and grandkids for the holidays.
It’s makes me sad to know how little people know or care about the pain of infidelity and how little grown children care about their parents’ feelings.
It’s not the holiday season without judging. The refrain of HEY, YOU’RE DOING PARENTING ALL WRONG is about as familiar as Jingle Bells.
It bears repeating for the umpteenth time — you don’t have to be friends with your ex. That doesn’t make you uncivil, or churlish, or not moved on — it makes you divorced.
Opening presents together with your cheating ex is a shit sandwich buffet you can pass on along with the holiday fruitcake.
The sad (or liberating) aspect of divorce is that you have separate families. Separate traditions. Conflicting time schedules. All at a time of year that fetishizes the Nuclear Intact Family.
That Norman Rockwell heterosexual-once-married-for-life couple gathered around the heritage dining table is just one flavor of family life. There’s also pajama party with your tribe of friends eating chocolate from Xmas stockings. And I’m Jewish-Chinese-take-out-and-a-movie Christmas. Or I’ll-take-a-pass-this-year-and-cruise-the-Bahamas-with-my-new-partner.
BUT NORMAN IS THE ONLY WAY!!!!
If you feel that way, you’re going to be miserable.
Also, Nuclear Intact Family gatherings are not devoid of dysfunction. If you’re misty, remember at the heritage dining table is seated your Fox News watching aunt (“GLENN BECK IS A FINE AMERICAN!”), your opioid-addicted sister-in-law and your grifter brother.
Expand your definition of family and what “moved on” looks like and model that to your children. Don’t try to shoehorn yourself into a situation that doesn’t fit you (or could make you puke with stress sickness).
I have a lot of sympathy for chumps who have to share their kids at the holidays, and compassion for children of divorce, and the shit sandwich of having to schlepp between households.
The remedy for a divided holiday, however, is not forced reunification. It’s adapting. That goes for grown children too.
The holidays would go a lot smoother for everyone if we accept who people are — not who we want them to be. Fact is, mom cheated on dad and he doesn’t want to be friends. We shouldn’t expect bonhomie, demand it, or create hostage situations about it. (YOU WILL NOT SEE YOUR GRANDCHILDREN UNLESS YOU PLAY NICE.)
Like the marines, adapt and overcome.
CN, how did you adjust to sharing your kids at the holidays and building a new life? Share your strategies.
Oh, and Karen, the playgroup mommies can shove it.