How do single parents survive the holidays?
This may be the first time since having kids that you have been single during the holidays. It can be difficult finding yourself alone during the holidays for the first time.
Maybe you’ve been alone longer than you would like to admit. It may be discouraging to realize that you’re single during another holiday season.
There are many reasons that being alone during the holidays is difficult for single parents. Here are just a few that I hear of frequently:
- Grieving over the fact that life didn’t turn out as expected.
- Not having another adult around to help with traditions, bills, and all of the day to day business that comes along with the holidays.
- Feeling like the only one who’s alone at parties or family gatherings.
- Custody situations can be difficult to deal with. Is it just you and your kids? Will your kids be with your ex? Or will you still be with extended family?
- Can’t afford the holidays. Some single parents are struggling just to get by daily and can’t handle the extra cost that the holidays bring.
- Feeling bad that there’s not another adult around to help the kids put together little gifts, or help them do something nice for you.
Be okay with the way that you feel. Don’t be too hard on yourself and know that it’s okay and it’s normal to be sad, frustrated or angry that things might not be the way you want it to be.
Feel the emotions, but don’t get stuck feeling sorry for yourself. Find ways to move on. I know that it’s easier said than done, but try to let go of expectations you have on yourself and be okay with who you are and where you are in your life right now.
8 ways that single parents can survive the holidays:
1. Create consistency and a routine.
Most kids do much better with consistency and routine. It can also help us adults. Staying busy can help us get things done. It can also help to keep our mind from focusing on things we can’t change.
2. Stay positive.
Focus on the positive and what you have instead of what you’re lacking. If the past is difficult for you to think about, try to focus on the future and on what you are doing now to improve your situation.
3. Focus on your kids.
Do things together. Really focus on spending quality time together and take the focus off the gifts and stuff that comes along with the holidays.
4. Make memories this Christmas.
Find things to do as a family. There are always several free activities you can do at this time of the year. Make cookies, watch Christmas movies, or even drive around looking at Christmas lights.
5. Find other friends or family members to “adopt” for the holidays.
Unfortunately, there are many people who find themselves alone during the holidays for many different reasons. Find someone to include in your holiday traditions. Or find some time to get away with a friend to forget about the holidays for a night.
Give gifts or give of your time. Giving to others is a great way to keep your mind off your own situation. Plus, sometimes it might help you to see the positives in your own situation. More on giving here: Giving During the Holidays
7. Take care of yourself.
Find time to do something for yourself. Whether you need to sneak away for a relaxing bath or time away with friends. Do something that makes you happy.
8. Avoid debt.
Unnecessary debt ends up bringing more stress and frustration in the long run. It’s not worth it. See my other post on surviving the holidays (financially). Or check out my single parent survival guide.
What else would you add to the list? What, if anything has helped you get through a difficult holiday?