Divorce and the holidays

A friend sent me this excellent article by Alan Ravitz at the NYU Child Study Center about making decisions during the holidays for divorced or divorcing couples. It goes along with the suggestions you all made months ago about considering what's best for the kids, and doing those things even when it makes you uncomfortable.

These were the things that jumped out at me:

"We know that kids do best when raised in an environment in which theirphysiological needs are consistently, predictably, and lovingly met.
But in order for them to develop the capacity to initiate and sustain
healthy interpersonal relationships throughout their lives, their
emotional needs must be addressed as well. For children of divorce,
this includes overt and covert permission from each parent to maintain
a loving, intimate relationship with the other."

And then this:

"Imagine what it must be like for a child to know full well that if his
mother is happy, his father must be sad—or vice versa. Is this the
model of relationships you want to convey to your children? One in
which interpersonal relationships are zero-sum games, every decision is
a conflict, and there is no such thing as compromise, only victory or
defeat."

Want to talk about the things that hurt or the things that made you feel good growing up with divorced parents? Or how you do things now and how you like them?

I'll start: This was probably the easiest part of our entire settlement! We've been alternating which family gets Thanksgiving and Christmas for years, so we just stuck with the same schedule. No fuss, and no difficult negotiations (so far) and no hurt feelings, because it's just the schedule–it's nothing anyone "wins." Of course we won't know how the kids feel about it for years. But it's one of the things I feel most confident with and happy about in our whole situation.

41 thoughts on “Divorce and the holidays”

  1. My parents separated when I was 10. Holidays were not insanely difficult for me through college (although I suspect that they may have been for my parents). However, they are much more difficult now that I am an adult. They first became more difficult when I got married, then it was compounded when we had a baby. I have a mother in law who does not travel well in one location, brother in law and kids in another, father in a third, mother in a fourth, and grandmother in a fifth. Everyone wants us at their place for Christmas. Not the week of Christmas but on Christmas. It makes the holidays stressful and unpleasant-but we travel everywhere to see everyone. Arrgh!My point was, keep reevaluating the situation-

  2. My parents had a bad marriage from the time I was born until my mom finally left my dad when I was 15. That was over 20 years ago, and to this day my father has only once slipped and said something negative about my mom. It was true, and I was old enough to find it to be a learning moment for me, and not an attack against my mom. I really respect my father for never making us choose between them, for never bad mouthing my mom, and for letting me figure out my mom’s weaknesses on my own.My mom, on the other hand, bad mouthed my dad all the time. My dad’s not perfect, but he was a great dad. I understand that he wasn’t the right man for my mom, but honeslty, that was her fault. She knew it when she married him, and expected him to change.
    One of the hardest moments for me during the separation/divorce process came about three weeks after my sister and I moved out with my mom. My sister quickly realized that the situation wasn’t working for her, and decided to move back in with my dad. My mom’s entire world shattered at the news. She felt that she had lost a battle. To her, it said that my sister loved my father more than her. She felt betrayed, and fell into a serious depression. I was the one, at 15, who got to deal with the mess.
    It was hard enough for me to deal with a mother that I beleived may be suidical, but to top it off I was very hurt and confussed. I felt like I would betray my mother if I loved my father, and ended up getting very angry at him. I also felt betrayed by my mother. Here she was, suicidal over my sister leaving, but the fact that I stayed didn’t seem to make her feel any better. It made me feel worthless and unloved.
    Things are much better now. Both of my parents come to family get togethers, and my mom does her best to behave. I now understand that my mom is not perfect either, and that she did the best for me that she could. I’ve tried to make the best of the situation by trying to understand why my mom is the way she is, and to learn from the mistakes she has made. It still bugs me when she makes a snide remark about my dad, but I know that I can’t change her, and I need to love her for who she is anyway.

  3. I have never, ever heard my dad say anything negative about my mom. When I was a kid my mom never trashed my dad, although when I was in my late teens she would say things like “Don’t do that (about some unconscious gesture I had made); that’s exactly like your dad.”The divorce settlement, from my understanding, was always very clear re: vacations, holidays, etc. It only got tricky when I got older and started having my own opinion about where I wanted to be; then when I moved with my mom to a place 2000 miles away (started out 200 miles away) things got renegotiated. Also I wanted to move in with my dad instead of move with my mom (I was 15), but all the grownups thought sticking with the custody agreement would be best.
    I do remember my dad throwing up a fuss when my stepdad’s work created opportunities to move to a) El Salvador or b) the Sudan. Can you blame him?
    They always agreed and both contributed when it came to camp, actitivies, and college. The whole process was made easier for me by the fact that they separated when I was 2 years old; I don’t remember them married.

  4. “this includes overt and covert permission from each parent to maintain a loving, intimate relationship with the other.”This part really resonates with me. My parents split when I was 18, my brothers and sister all younger, and we never got this permission from my mom. Even now that we’re all adults (i’m 33 now), she still resents the close relationship we have with our dad. And it’s really had a negative effect on our relationship with her.
    From the time my kids were tiny, there was a lot of pressure (from Mom, due to her own insecurities) to have equal ‘visit time’ as our dad, especially during the holidays. The fact that they live in the same town as each other, but two hours from us, compounds the issue because it facilitates the keeping score of ‘visit time’.
    We’ve had to deal with this by basically telling her we’ll be visiting from x time to x time, and that’s the end of it. She still thinks we blame her for the divorce and somehow see her as the bad guy, which I now know is her own internal guilt problem, but it took me a long time to recognize that and not allow her to make me feel guilty.

  5. No problem at the holidays with divorced parents when I was a kid. Two Christmases, what more could a kid want? But I agree with Stugi above that as an adult, it’s so hard to have multiple families at the holidays. It’s hard enough when you get married and have your family and your spouse’s, but now we have to add in my two families, and everybody’s vying for our attention during our brief trip out west to see them. I guess maybe I could look on the bright side and say that it’s nice to have so many people love you, but it’s also very stressful to juggle everybody.

  6. This is very timely for me. The eight year old goes back and forth from our house to his father’s house and has lately been requesting to spend more time there. All fine and well except Dad can be irresponsible and manipulative. A recent discussion about the boy’s holiday schedule ended with a threat that if you don’t give me what I want, I won’t bring him back Christmas Eve. I *hate* the power struggle and as a stepparent am so powerless to do anything at all about it. It breaks my heart for him. Anyone who has dealt with an uncooperative ex and found a solution that didn’t involve complete acquiescence to all demands, please share.

  7. I always love chiming in on divorce topics because my parents were not-so-good at divorcing when they did it, but it has worked out so well. There are just things you do and you do them. I have certainly heard each of my parents say not-so-nice things about one another, but the things are usually true and not terribly hurtful.My Dad always got to see us on Christmas Eve. Always. That was just it. Period. I am 32 now, and they have been divorced 25 years. This year my step-mother suggested alternate plans for Christmas Eve and my Dad and I both shut that down right away. Dad “gets” Christmas Eve. And I get it too.
    This past Sunday, I had my mom and her husband, my dad, his wife, and their kids, my sister and her family, and a few other random relatives over for a photo shoot with a professional photographer (and to welcome my new BABY to the family). Everyone gets along well. The photos are great and everyone stayed for Chicago-style deep dish pizza and Bakers Square pies! It took my step-dad a while to warm up to the idea of socializing with his wife’s ex since his own divorce is not like that, but everyone handles it well.
    In our situation, once the monetary aspects were removed (when I graduated high school and went off to college), things got markedly better. My mother always thought my dad did not contribute enough. I got a job as soon as I was old enough so I could pay for my own things (basic things like the registration fee for the SAT/ACT and maxi-pads) so no one needed to ask for money (and my mom always wanted me to be the one to ask my dad for money and I just wasn’t comfortable doing that).

  8. Certain things were permanent. Christmas eve at my mom’s parents house WAS christmas. Thanksgiving and easter I think alternated… I don’t recall.but EITHER parent was always welcome at the other’s family even because they were MY parent.
    No one ever said a nasty word about the other, including extended family… until I turned 18.
    I was seriously divided by the divorce. I had this feeling of having no real HOME, but having two. I solved that on my own as an adult, making a home early. But I had lots of love, lots of ONE-on-ONE time with each parent.
    I think those things gave me the best of what can come out of divorce, happy parents, one-on-one time, so that I could process all of the other crap myself… I don’t think we can protect our children from everything (nor should we) instead we must give them the best tools to process and protect themselves.

  9. My parents very rarely spoke badly about each other and they remained friendly with one another, which help me immesurably. I realize now how difficult that must have been for my dad since my Mom is bipolar. Over the past few years I’ve had really good talks with Dad about Mom’s illness (she’s been hospitalized for the better part of 2 years now) that have helped me cope with her.Keeping a consistent schedule was so very important to me when I was a kid. Mom was the custodial parent, so Dad took me to dinner every Wednesday night and I stayed with him every other weekend, plus a week’s vacation in the summer. I stayed with Mom for most of the holidays, except they divided Christmas – I’d go to Dad’s on the 23rd and stay overnight. I’d celebrate Christmas with him and my stepmom on the 24th and he’d bring me home after dinner so I could spend Christmas Eve and Day at home with mom.
    My husband’s parents don’t speak to one another, 20+ years after their divorce. We still feel pressure to divide the time equally with them when we visit. Since we live 400 miles from his family and 900 miles from mine, the holidays are not an issue – they’re all too far away for us to travel every year.

  10. Guess I should have read the article first. :)We are going to try the “giving is better than receiving” approach and see what happens.

  11. My parents had a horrible divorce when I was 6 with lots of yelling, bad talk, and awful feelings. For Thanksgiving, starting when I was 6 or 7, they “asked” me to choose where I wanted to go, and claimed that nobody would be hurt. Now that I am 39 with my own family, I must goto EVERYONE’S house and run around like crazy and try and please everyone. The feelings are bad and old, and bad and new.What I learned from this situation is that it is very hard to parent when you are both not taking care of yourself and not specifically trying look out for your child. It sounds like a lot of you here (including Moxie’s kids, I would guess) are in situations, divorced or not, where the kids are loved, cared for, and mostly kept out of the difficult adult situations.
    Good job and thanks for the honesty and good discussion.

  12. My parents separated when I was in 7th grade and didn’t divorce until I was in 10th grade. Those were the most confusing and frustrating years of my life. Added to the confusion was that my dad insisted on coming over for family Christmas every christmas morning. It was awkward, painful and it made me dread christmas until I got up the nerve to tell him my brother and I would come to his house when we were done with my mom and then we could all go over to my grandmother (his mother’s) house together.Please, let your kids be in on the decision of they’re old enough. I really would have appreciated it if my mom and dad had asked what my brother and I wanted, but I was too confused and scared to say anything.
    Good luck to everyone negotiating this!

  13. This is a challenge as my husband and I have custody of my 9 yr old stepson. His bio-mom is minimally involved by choice (hers not ours). My stepson has some significant health issues and while he is fine now, his bio-mom didn’t want a sick kid and doesn’t like dealing with anything that is difficult or unpleasant.I don’t think she has ever had my stepson for Christmas morning,again of her own choosing. Since she “likes to sleep in”. Yes, I’m serious…we have offered to drop him off on Christmas eve night after my husband’s family celebration and she declines every time.
    And she works for a nursing home so she usually has to work on Thanksgiving and can’t get him anyway.
    On the other hand, she is somewhat fanatical about Halloween and she brought her toddler over to go trick or treating with my boys and my husband (I stayed behind to hand out candy). Only her toddler screamed and cried the whole time which sort of ruined the night for my stepson. And frankly, I thought it was pretty selfish of her.
    Anyway so we try to balance all the crap from her and still assure stepson that he is loved and wanted by all of his parents for the holidays. So we blame most of her absence on her job and let him know that you don’t have to celebrate on a specific day to share the holiday with someone you love.

  14. This is a challenge as my husband and I have custody of my 9 yr old stepson. His bio-mom is minimally involved by choice (hers not ours). My stepson has some significant health issues and while he is fine now, his bio-mom didn’t want a sick kid and doesn’t like dealing with anything that is difficult or unpleasant.I don’t think she has ever had my stepson for Christmas morning,again of her own choosing. Since she “likes to sleep in”. Yes, I’m serious…we have offered to drop him off on Christmas eve night after my husband’s family celebration and she declines every time.
    And she works for a nursing home so she usually has to work on Thanksgiving and can’t get him anyway.
    On the other hand, she is somewhat fanatical about Halloween and she brought her toddler over to go trick or treating with my boys and my husband (I stayed behind to hand out candy). Only her toddler screamed and cried the whole time which sort of ruined the night for my stepson. And frankly, I thought it was pretty selfish of her.
    Anyway so we try to balance all the crap from her and still assure stepson that he is loved and wanted by all of his parents for the holidays. So we blame most of her absence on her job and let him know that you don’t have to celebrate on a specific day to share the holiday with someone you love.

  15. I have nothing new to say but do see my situation growing up isn’t uncommon. Divorce sucks and no one really seems to win.

  16. I have nothing new to say but do see my situation growing up isn’t uncommon. Divorce sucks and no one really seems to win.

  17. My parents divorced when I was one. I am now 38. The first time I ever heard my mother say something negative about my father was approximately three years ago. (My dad has still has not said anything negative about my mother.) Both parents make a concerted effort to keep me out of the “fray.” Actually, my father asked my mother’s permission to remarry his current wife (when I was three), knowing that she would become my stepmother. Both parties have said that they were better friends than spouses, and I can see that.They alternated holidays until I was old enough to decide where I wanted to go (about 9th grade). Looking back, I’m glad they let me choose at that time… I did not feel forced into a visit I did not want to go on. When I hit high school, it was more important for me to choose where to spend holidays, and my parents agreed with that.
    I have (and had) many friends who were products of divorced parents, and I must say that I had it the best. I would hear stories of parents arguing in front of the children, using each other for gain against the children, and even using the children as pawns for whatever they wanted. Very sad. I’m one of the lucky ones.

  18. My parents divorced when I was one. I am now 38. The first time I ever heard my mother say something negative about my father was approximately three years ago. (My dad has still has not said anything negative about my mother.) Both parents make a concerted effort to keep me out of the “fray.” Actually, my father asked my mother’s permission to remarry his current wife (when I was three), knowing that she would become my stepmother. Both parties have said that they were better friends than spouses, and I can see that.They alternated holidays until I was old enough to decide where I wanted to go (about 9th grade). Looking back, I’m glad they let me choose at that time… I did not feel forced into a visit I did not want to go on. When I hit high school, it was more important for me to choose where to spend holidays, and my parents agreed with that.
    I have (and had) many friends who were products of divorced parents, and I must say that I had it the best. I would hear stories of parents arguing in front of the children, using each other for gain against the children, and even using the children as pawns for whatever they wanted. Very sad. I’m one of the lucky ones.

  19. Having just spent Thanksgiving with my (unhappily) married in-laws, I can attest that you don’t have to be divorced to benefit from some of this advice.The “zero-sum game” thing really struck me. If you force your adult children to pick sides in your arguments, if you complain about your spouse to your kids, and then you try to sit down and all eat a happy holiday meal together… well, let’s just say it’s not ideal.

  20. Having just spent Thanksgiving with my (unhappily) married in-laws, I can attest that you don’t have to be divorced to benefit from some of this advice.The “zero-sum game” thing really struck me. If you force your adult children to pick sides in your arguments, if you complain about your spouse to your kids, and then you try to sit down and all eat a happy holiday meal together… well, let’s just say it’s not ideal.

  21. My parents are mostly pretty good about not bad-mouthing each other, they never argued in front of us, not even when we were all still kids, but the holidays and other special events were always enormously stressful for us kids. All of us have complained about our parents keeping track of how much time we spend with the other parent — “if you had three hours with your mom, then I want my three hours, too.” It was and is pretty exhausting. It’s just not realistic to expect that everything is going to be perfectly even forever, and parents shouldn’t demand that of their kids. (There’s gotta be some parallel here to the question of siblings and equality, fairness, etc.)In my experience, divorce is not something that you experience in a linear fashion — just because you find a good solution this year, doesn’t mean that solution is going to work forever. I know that my parents have subtly expected their kids to take care of the parents’ feelings — please, please, please don’t do that. The day will come when you’ll feel bad about how the holidays are spent. It’s human, and natural, and you deserve the space and time to feel those feelings. Just be clear to your kids that they aren’t the cause of the sad feelings, nor is it their job to fix them.
    For our family, the holidays, baptisms, and other celebrations have not gotten easier as we’ve gotten older. Divvying up the holidays became, if possible, worse once there were grandchildren (not least because all the grandparents are divorced, and none live close by). All the grandparents had to negotiate new jealousies — my mom really just does not thrill to the sound of my step-mom being called grandma. She mostly keeps it away from my kids, but it’s one more thing to deal with.
    There’s also the simple fact that, at 15, I remembered what it was like not to run hither and yon, meeting everyone else’s holiday needs while mine seemed mostly invisible (and still, to some extent, do). I missed the old Christmas traditions. It didn’t kill me, there’s no way that I’d want my parents married anymore, but the changes in holiday tradition were a genuine loss, and the fact that my mom felt good about how she was handling it didn’t really change the fact that I’d lost something. I couldn’t wake up on Christmas morning with both of my parents. I wasn’t moving on the same recovery path, nor at the same speed, as my parents. It would have been nice if someone had acknowledged that in the first ten years after my parents divorced.
    My brother, who was only 9, reports that he doesn’t really remember the loss. It was what it was. So this certainly must depend on the kid.

  22. When I was 18 (with 4 younger siblings, the youngest 4 at the time) my parents separated for the first time. It was one of those dramatic things where mom left in the middle of the night with us kids and we spent a few days/weeks with relatives, and I ended up camping out at a friends for a while. This was during finals, and I needed some things from the house to study, such as my laptop… so in a very covert James Bond-like mission my mom drove me and my brother to the next street and parked, we went out and snuck into the house, my brother grabbed my laptop and I went to grab a change of clothes – all the while with my dad (asleep?) in the livingroom with the tv on. We got out without him noticing us. It was almost exciting at the time, but at the same time, sickening. (My dad drank (still does) so that explains some of this… but I still don’t know what really happened.)After this my parents decided to keep things “normal” until after Christmas, for the kids. A decision I understand and respect, sortof. So Christmas happened as normally. (Then afterwards dad just didn’t leave for a few months, and they got together again, and then separated again, etc etc, until finally there was a very messy divorce that is still being fought out in courts, and three of my siblings don’t speak to my dad, despite him living 5min from our house, etc etc. A HUGE mess.)
    But what bugged me the most about that initial situation is how nothing was talked about. My family is notorious for bad communication, but still, something should have happened. There was no explanation to us kids. I understand that my mom was under a lot of stress and trying to keep things together, and my extended family totally stepped up to help (they’re awesome), but things just sortof… mellowed out. There was an elephant in the room but no one said anything.
    Needless to say, as soon as I could (two years later) I left that house because I couldn’t stand the oppressive environment… and it’s not until now (four years later) that I can finally muster up the courage and maturity to really face the situation head-on.

  23. When I was 18 (with 4 younger siblings, the youngest 4 at the time) my parents separated for the first time. It was one of those dramatic things where mom left in the middle of the night with us kids and we spent a few days/weeks with relatives, and I ended up camping out at a friends for a while. This was during finals, and I needed some things from the house to study, such as my laptop… so in a very covert James Bond-like mission my mom drove me and my brother to the next street and parked, we went out and snuck into the house, my brother grabbed my laptop and I went to grab a change of clothes – all the while with my dad (asleep?) in the livingroom with the tv on. We got out without him noticing us. It was almost exciting at the time, but at the same time, sickening. (My dad drank (still does) so that explains some of this… but I still don’t know what really happened.)After this my parents decided to keep things “normal” until after Christmas, for the kids. A decision I understand and respect, sortof. So Christmas happened as normally. (Then afterwards dad just didn’t leave for a few months, and they got together again, and then separated again, etc etc, until finally there was a very messy divorce that is still being fought out in courts, and three of my siblings don’t speak to my dad, despite him living 5min from our house, etc etc. A HUGE mess.)
    But what bugged me the most about that initial situation is how nothing was talked about. My family is notorious for bad communication, but still, something should have happened. There was no explanation to us kids. I understand that my mom was under a lot of stress and trying to keep things together, and my extended family totally stepped up to help (they’re awesome), but things just sortof… mellowed out. There was an elephant in the room but no one said anything.
    Needless to say, as soon as I could (two years later) I left that house because I couldn’t stand the oppressive environment… and it’s not until now (four years later) that I can finally muster up the courage and maturity to really face the situation head-on.

  24. My parents are together, Mr. C’s divorced when he was 3. Things have mostly been pretty amiable with Mr. C’s parents–the issue we have is actually the married ones. They refuse to accept that we consider ourselves to have 3 sets of parents and Mouse to have 3 sets of grandparents (Mr. C’s parents are both now married/partnered). My parents initially wanted half our holiday time because (my mom actually said this) “it’s not our fault they got divorced”. They also don’t like that we let Mouse, who’s only 4, call Mr. C’s parents’ partners grandma and grandpa just for simplicity’s sake and because they act like grandparents (neither of them has grandchildren of their own).I guess what I’m saying is, you may continue to see dumb blowback, and not necessarily from your kids, for a long time–and the best thing you can do is continue to be as graceful as you can.

  25. My parents are together, Mr. C’s divorced when he was 3. Things have mostly been pretty amiable with Mr. C’s parents–the issue we have is actually the married ones. They refuse to accept that we consider ourselves to have 3 sets of parents and Mouse to have 3 sets of grandparents (Mr. C’s parents are both now married/partnered). My parents initially wanted half our holiday time because (my mom actually said this) “it’s not our fault they got divorced”. They also don’t like that we let Mouse, who’s only 4, call Mr. C’s parents’ partners grandma and grandpa just for simplicity’s sake and because they act like grandparents (neither of them has grandchildren of their own).I guess what I’m saying is, you may continue to see dumb blowback, and not necessarily from your kids, for a long time–and the best thing you can do is continue to be as graceful as you can.

  26. My parents divorced when I was 4. We tried splitting Christmas day (morning at one house/afternoon at the other/trade off years for which house gets morning) but we found it worked better to do Christmas eve at one house, switch just before bedtime to the other house to wake up there Christmas morning, trade off years for which house gets morning.Thanksgiving was just trade off years, and I must say that it was great practice for having in-laws.

  27. i’ll pipe up with what i observe from my sister and her son- his father left when he was a baby, and was minimally involved (she went out of her way to make sure he saw him at the holidays) for a few years until he just stopped bothering. to her credit, my sister has never, not even once said a negative thing about him- and clearly she could have.my nephew is 14 now, and struggling with all the adolescent issues of self and identity and esteem and worth- he has spent some time in the past year or two trying to figure out why his father isn’t a part of his life, and what that says about him. my husband and i (and sister, although when it comes from your mom i understand it’s not the same) have been working really hard to help him work through his feelings, validating his anger and sadness but *also* letting him know that *he* is not destined to be “broken” just because 1/2 of his dna is shared with his father. i try very very hard to let him know that i knew his dad, and all the good things and characteristics there were about him, and why his addiction ruined his relationship with his son, and how that was a choice/not a choice, and how it doesn’t mean anything about my nephew (since i went through similar stuff at that age with my own dad and still struggle with it from time to time). i need him to know that he is not his dad, but also that he is not junk because of his dad’s very human failings.
    all this to say that for all of you who are touched in any way by divorce, thank you for doing your best to keep it as healthy as possible, and respecting how it will remain fluid for as long as that dynamic exists. this is a tough time of year for anyone who has this as a part of their lives. my heart really goes out to you- be gentle on yourselves when it gets rough.

  28. Wow, unbelievable all the healthy divorces from (I assume) the seventies which I always think of as the heyday of insane divorces — at least if you go by me and my friends!My parents split up in a thoroughly horrid divorce when I was approximately 9 months old, there was screaming, yelling, blaming police, multiple court cases (including corporatelawsuits), at least one instance of a parent being hexed by a witch/nanny, kidnappings and abandonments (go figure, why would you bother to snatch your kid if you were just going to drop them off in the other parents empty house the next week when you figured out you couldn’t deal?). But holidays were pretty easy to figure out since Mom converted to catholicism with her third marriage, and the rest of us remained jewish…
    My parents did a lot of “asking” us what we wanted to do, quotes which were then weaponized as fast as possible and/or taken to the lawyers to incite another round of family court. In fact, though it’s hard to believe, my parents have been divorced for over 36 years and still don’t seem to be over it. The latest incident being when I visited each one on a grandparent tour with our new baby and my mother said she didn’t want us to take the pack’n’play she had bought for the baby to sleep in to my father’s house, so we had to buy a seperate one for that portion of the itinerary — possibly so it wouldn’t be contaminated?
    In my book you are doing fantastic, Moxie!

  29. I hated all the back and forth at the holidays growing up the child of divorce. But I can see how hard it is (with balancing my own divorce and our children) to get it just right. When married, we always did Christmas Eve with the in-laws, and Christmas Day with my family. So we’ve kept it that way for the kids–they spend Christmas Eve with him and Christmas Day with me. Given that we live about 8 minutes apart, the hand off is pretty easy. But having to split your time is never ideal… no matter how carefully you’ve considered their feelings. I realize that more and more with each passing day.

  30. I hated all the back and forth at the holidays growing up the child of divorce. But I can see how hard it is (with balancing my own divorce and our children) to get it just right. When married, we always did Christmas Eve with the in-laws, and Christmas Day with my family. So we’ve kept it that way for the kids–they spend Christmas Eve with him and Christmas Day with me. Given that we live about 8 minutes apart, the hand off is pretty easy. But having to split your time is never ideal… no matter how carefully you’ve considered their feelings. I realize that more and more with each passing day.

  31. I agree with AmyinTX–the hardest part was all the shuffling around. Unpacking the car and presents then moving them somewhere else, then off to another house, etc. I was lucky that my parents remained friends after they divorced but then even that caused tension. They remained so chummy they often invited the other to the holiday get-together. Sometimes it’s easier for kids when the lines of separation remain intact, if that makes sense? good luck. Divorce isn’t easy for anyone.

  32. I agree with AmyinTX–the hardest part was all the shuffling around. Unpacking the car and presents then moving them somewhere else, then off to another house, etc. I was lucky that my parents remained friends after they divorced but then even that caused tension. They remained so chummy they often invited the other to the holiday get-together. Sometimes it’s easier for kids when the lines of separation remain intact, if that makes sense? good luck. Divorce isn’t easy for anyone.

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