School holidays can be hard. Parenting is challenging when care isn’t shared. Co-parenting also presents difficulties but for different reasons, making it tough for both.
If you are sharing the school holidays with your ex-spouse, I’m going to sound like a broken record, but please focus on your children and how great it is for them to be able to spend holiday time with each of their parents. It might be that they get two holidays away, or it might be that they spend a significant amount of time in activities you would prefer they didn’t. Whether it’s too many video games or hours in vacation care, the holiday time they spend with their other parent is valuable – regardless of whether you approve of the way it is spent.
It’s not just valuable for your children. It’s also valuable for you, even if it doesn’t feel that way. Going without seeing your children for large block periods, and maybe even without talking to them, is very challenging. Parents often advise enjoying their ‘me’ time, pursuing hobbies, or working extra hours, but keeping track of their child’s daily life can be challenging and may require learning to ‘let go’.
You know what I say? Do whatever you need to do to get through.
Now, I’m not condoning illegal activity or anything that creates an unhealthy or harmful environment. If working 80 hours a week with children is your coping mechanism, do so. If you need to spend time at the movies, spend the week at your partner’s place instead of your empty house. If time and money allow, consider visiting a destination like the Great Wall of China, lie on a beach in Fiji; ski the slopes of New Zealand.
Do whatever you need to do to get through. Despite potential criticism and guilt, taking your children on holiday can be enjoyable. The couple will enjoy exceptional dining options, top slopes, and personalized service from knowledgeable guides and concierge, ensuring a memorable experience.
During scheduled conversations, maintain a positive attitude, express love, and engage in conversation about your children’s activities, even if you don’t approve of their actions. If it’s something they know you wouldn’t like, don’t let them feel guilty – remind them that there are different rules in your house and what happens with their other parent is up to that parent. Let them know it’s okay that they’re having fun! My eBook gives some great suggestions about how to talk to your children on the phone – whether they’re toddlers or teens. It’s available for free for a limited time so download it today!
During a difficult time, it’s important to find joy in everyday activities that are part of your normal life, such as cooking dinner, walking, or doing housework. If you don’t want to eat, freeze a meal for a backup. If your house is clean, do ironing, sort through toys, donate to Lifeline, or have a garage sale. If you need to spend time in bed, go for a walk, let the sun shine, and be grateful for the things you have. Remember that your children will be home soon, and you’ll be thankful for the frozen dinners, clean clothes, and warm hugs. Despite the sadness and loss, finding joy in one activity each day will help you get through the difficult times.
Most of all, enjoy the time you DO have with your children, even if it’s only weekends. ?Be present in their life, with your time. It’s not about what you can buy them or where you can take them. It’s about talking and playing and cooking and eating and reading. It’s about you … and them … together, interacting and being truly present. Turn off your phone, turn off the tv. Go outside and kick a ball, make a puppet, bake a cake and prepare dinner together. Visit friends and family, the Science Centre, a new park on the other side of town. Have adventures in your backyard and find new hiding places in the wardrobe. Be together, be grateful and make the most of the time you DO have.
This stuff is tough – do what you need to do to get through.