A PSP parent wrote:
“So, my first major holiday without my kids is coming up this Christmas.
My office closes between Xmas and New Years, so I have at least a week off. Kids will be off with my ex.
What to do?
Same old plans but without the kids? Something new and different on my own, but without friends and family?
I can't even imagine how I will feel when Xmas or New Years is actually here, but that is the kind of thing that I have sudden strong emotions about (which could go either direction to missing family or why didn't I take an adventure.)
What did you do first holiday without kids?”
Find a fellow solo friend/family member to help support you and maybe even have an adventure with:
“Do you have any friends who also have the time off either away from your kids or are single. Two single friends of mine (no kids) went on a trekking vacation. They hiked/camped into the Grand Canyon. I'm sure you can find a lot of fun options like this. Maybe to the Caribbean?”
“My first Christmas without my daughter, I was so sad when I had to say bye to my daughter, when her dad came to pick her up, knowing I wouldn’t see her for about a week. I trained myself, though, bc after my daughter left I had about an hour to get myself to the airport.
I booked a trip to visit my sister in SF, and she took me to a natural hot springs. It was perfect.
The point is, have something for you to look forward to, whatever that is, and take care of yourself while doing it, whatever that looks like. I generally try to schedule things so time wo my daughter feels more like sacred time for ME, and I’ve come to enjoy single parenting.
It takes time, and there are some low points, but it generally swings better and better.”
“I'm so glad for this thread to help remind me how many of us are in this boat! Thanks all for sharing. :) Last year and this year, I've been planning family trips during the holidays I don't have my son, and it's been nice. Hopefully the cruise over Christmas will help distract me that I'm not able to experience his first trip to Disney World with his dad.”
Whatever will make you happy:
Whatever makes you happiest, other than being with kids..
If its dinner with friends, try to schedule as much of that..if you've wanted to swim with dolphins or bike across Cuba but couldn't because of family reasons maybe that...
Whatever things make you happiest…”
Similarly, as one fellow PSP member asks, “what will nourish you”? They write:
“im sure there will be sds events during the holidays. but maybe you can just feel whatever it is that comes your way during the break, anxiety from not knowing exactly what they're doing or fear of separation from them and look at what that means....ie from where I'm standing that means you're a good mom who is concerned about her children's welfare. and how we can generate more patience for our kids when we're well rested and nourished and happy ourselves. a happy parent and stable parent rubs off the same vibe in their kids. what would nourish you? I'm sure you will still be thinking about them whatever you end up doing anyway, might as well make that time count whatever that means for you! smiley emoji!”
Connect with fellow PSP members - host your own event! Be sure to check out the PSP Guide to Organizing a Meet Up.
“Maybe we should try to schedule a SDS event at some point during the break? Maybe there are others who would like to get together during the holidays?”
“So this will be my first thanksgiving as a single parent. I have my kids but have no other family around... if anyone would like to come to my place with or without kids and have a thanksgiving potluck I’m happy to host.”
Finally, accept that it might always be tough. Surround yourself with allies:
“I have been single/divorced for 10 years, since my daughter was 1. It does get easier over time, but it's still not what we signed up for and those first few years were awful for me. Even when I had my daughter with me, the holidays felt ruined. My family and friends live 1000 miles away, so when we can't make the trip to visit them, it is just the two of us. After all this time, I haven't figured out what to do, and even though it's easier, it's still a struggle for me. But I have limited funds to work with, so I'm sure it is easier if you have money to go on a trip or have good friends and family around NYC to hang out with.
I'm wondering if anyone is going to be spending Thanksgiving alone (with or without kids). I don't have room at my place to host, but my daughter and I might find a restaurant if anyone would like to join us.”
“I'm so sorry---There is nothing harder than this. I have been through it several times now and I wish I could say it gets easier but it doesn't. At least not for me.”