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Merry Ex-Mas: Advice for Divorced Parents During the Holidays

Christmas decorations (1)When my ex-husband and I divorced twenty-or-so years ago, our sons were three and four. Being divorced was, needless to say, hard, but the holidays could be the most difficult times.

One of the things we did right was to agree on how holidays would be spent. Easter is very important to me, both for religious reasons and for my extended family’s get-together. In exchange, I agreed he’d get the boys every Fourth of July, since it’s when his family got together, and his mom’s birthday.

Christmas was split down the middle. I’d always have the boys on Christmas day. He would always get the boys the day after and keep them until New Year’s Day. For me, this meant Christmases spent in my own home, instead of driving halfway to meet him in some lonely McDonald’s parking lot for a sad Christmas Day hand off. Since we lived hundreds of miles apart, it would kill any Christmas plans.

I credit the painful wisdom of being a child of divorce, and having my dad for a lawyer. Our agreement worked well for my ex and me. Years later, with our sons grown, I feel like we both did our best to make the holidays for our kids happy and less stressful.

It’s not easy. Women who are going through divorce, and even ones who have been divorced for awhile, are too often overlooked during this time of year — it’s hard to negotiate and adult with your ex, about your kids, through the holidays!

I recently watched this video from with great co-parenting tips for the holidays. The women interviewed have been divorced for varying number of years, and share their best coparenting through the holidays tips for someone who is newly divorced or someone who is currently muddling through it. It is both light and heartfelt, and most importantly, it is honest and real.

The video really resonated with me, and I hope it’s of help to you too. I was nodding along as each woman spoke, noticing much of what they said mirrored my own experience.

If you have a tip for co-parenting through the holidays, I’d love to hear it!

Anne Parris

Anne Parris is a managing partner Midlife Boulevard. Her personal blog, Not A Supermom, is your typical mommy blog that her kids say used to be funnier. Anne has a business degree and a dusty résumé from a top accounting firm and a Fortune 500 company, which she reminds herself of every time she is washing underpants. She lives with her family in Virginia and blogs mostly to support her coffee habit.

Carol Cassara

Friday 11th of December 2015

I am glad to see so much attention paid to coparenting skills in recent years. Unfortunately, those who really need to hear this message never see it! I know too many people who can't get out of their own way in this situation. Including my own brother.

Anne Parris

Friday 11th of December 2015

That's sad, mostly for the kids' sake. Also, he's wasting emotional energy that could be much better spent on positive things. I have to admit, once my younger son turned 18, I was relieved I was no longer responsible for all the decisions on holidays.

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