As a mom who has children with an ex-partner, the holidays can be a challenge. Trying to put aside your issues for the sake of the kids, while still fulfilling your parental obligations. It’s important to remember that co-parenting doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with your ex. Because let’s be honest, that’s not always feasible. But it does mean you have to work together to do what’s best for the kids. Here are ways to make the holidays with your ex and kids go as smoothly as possible.
Have a Co-Parenting Plan
The key to successful co-parenting over the holidays is having a plan. Now, when I say a plan, it doesn’t have to be etched in stone. It just needs to be a framework or guidelines that both of you can agree on and stick with. That way, expectations are clear for everyone. For example, it can be as simple as deciding who has the kids on which days, or if you’re both going to celebrate together. Or, if you want to be really organized, make a holiday calendar with all of the details.
Communicating with your ex may not be the highlight of your holiday, but your kids will be grateful for it. Especially when they are not caught in the middle of any disagreements.
Communicate About Gifts
This is especially important if your children are still young and believe in Santa. It’s important that you communicate with your ex about gifts. This may seem unnecessary to some but when one parent goes overboard or the other doesn’t, the kids may start to figure out where their gifts are coming from. This can cause an issue with your co-parenting relationship. The best way to avoid this is by talking it through and setting some ground rules.
For example, let’s say your kiddos are still believing in Santa. Make sure you both agree on a budget for gifts. This way Santa doesn’t go too crazy at your partner’s house and not enough at Mom’s. And the same goes for gifts from parents. Make sure you each agree on the budget and what kind of gifts are appropriate.
Equitable vs. Equal
When it comes to co-parenting during the holidays, it’s important to remember that equitable does not mean equal. Being equitable means that both parents are doing their best to give the children what they need, according to their individual circumstances. Let me explain.
For example, if one parent is the primary provider and has more money than the other, that doesn’t mean that both parents have to spend the same amount of money on their kids. It just means that each parent should give what is fair based on their individual circumstances.
However, the best way to avoid any issues is to communicate and come up with a plan that best fits both of your individual needs. Perhaps, each parent gets one big gift and a few little ones. Or maybe one parent gets the big ticket item while the other covers the smaller gifts. There are endless possibilities when it comes to creating a plan that works for both of you.
Modeling Flexibility and Kindness for Your Kids
The holidays are a special time of year to model kindness and flexibility for your kids. Even if it’s hard to be around your ex, remember Mama that your children benefit from both of you being civil and kind to each other. This way they can be around both of you, even if it’s just during drop off, and feel loved and appreciated.
During the holidays, it can be a good time to be more flexible. For example, if your partner wants another hour with your kids because the Christmas party is still going on, see if you can be flexible with your schedule. Maybe you can drop them off a little later the next day. It’s important to remember that a little bit of kindness and flexibility can go a long way.
So, take a deep breath and enjoy the holiday season with your ex and your children. After all, it’s only going to benefit you and your children in the long run. Just remember that communication, equity, and flexibility are key when it comes to co-parenting during the holidays.
Interested in Counseling For Women in Orange County, CA?
No one may understand how spending the holiday communicating with your ex may be difficult. But, counseling for women in Orange County, CA can be a place where you can talk to a professional about your feelings about navigating co-parenting. Our team of caring therapists is here to help you work through any emotions that may arise while spending the holidays navigating co-parenting with your ex. To start your therapy journey with Moxie Family Therapy, please follow these simple steps:
- Contact Moxie Family Therapy
- Meet with a caring women’s therapist
- Enjoy the holidays and better co-parenting!
Other Therapy Services Offered at Moxie Family Therapy
At Moxie Family Therapy, we know there are plenty of women struggling with various issues during the holidays. This is why our therapists provide a variety of therapy services online and in-person at our Orange County, CA-based practice. We offer counseling for young adults, children, women, teens, and couples. Additionally, we offer therapy for therapists, clinical supervision, adoption therapy, art therapy, and play therapy. Our team is also happy to support the LGBTQ+ community. Contact us today and learn how we can help you reclaim your moxie.
About the Author
Melissa Mellon, LMFT is a compassionate therapist in Orange County, CA, who understands that co-parenting during the holidays can be stressful, especially when dealing with a difficult ex-partner. Melissa offers a safe and supportive space to help women manage the challenges of co-parenting and reduce the conflict with their ex-partner. She provides practical coping strategies to help reduce stress and anxiety during the holiday season. Melissa helps clients set boundaries, communicate effectively, and focus on what’s important during this time. She offers a consultation to see if she would be a good fit for therapy, and is committed to helping her clients find peace and joy during the holidays.