The “BER” months are officially my favorite time of the year. SeptemBER, OctoBER, NovemBER, DecemBER… If anyone can tell me why they all end in BER I’m curious to know. I love the colors of autumn, the cool weather, and I love the holidays! What’s better than the smells of soups and baking bread, pumpkin-flavored everything, the beautiful colors on the mountainside, hoodies, sweaters, boots, and hot chocolate! I’m in love.
In between my holiday reverie, there is a little commotion. Maybe you experience this with your in-laws but maybe even a little more difficult, you have to figure out how to split the time and share your kids for the holidays. Deciding who’s mom to see first on Christmas Day isn’t easy but becomes even more complicated when you are spending just every other Christmas Day with your own little children.
I have to tell you that we are blessed with civil communication and cooperation. Hiccups in-between homes are rare and usually resolved pretty quickly. That’s my first tip.
- Practice communicating and cooperating year-round. All four parents are included in texts and emails. We keep each other posted on activities, behavior, and school work all year. The kids know and expect all four parents to be on the same page all the time. No using one house against another.
- Keep the kids out of it. As we communicate, plan, or resolve it is all without the listening ears or worried hearts of the kids. When we do talk to the kids about situations or plans they know that no parent is against the other parents, all of us just want to understand and do what’s best for the kids.
- Don’t use the kids to schedule or pass messages. Not only will you lose the facts in translation, you’re giving the kids an adult role when you put them between you and their other parent. Even little messages will cause kids stress because they do not have the adult perspective of how minor the message might be.
- Stay as close to the regular visiting schedule as possible. There are a lot of events and activities during the holidays. Plan yours for when the kids are home and if you can’t, don’t stress the kids out about what they are missing. They aren’t missing anything. Let them be happy during their visit away from you.
- Create memories and traditions that work for your family. We have activities we like to do as the holidays approach like visiting a pumpkin patch, baking, service projects, go see Christmas lights and displays, and our Christmas feast.
- No competitions. No one wins when you try to compete with what the other parents are doing for the holidays, or the rest of the year for that matter. Decide and stick to your own plans. The consistency and traditions are going to be meaningful memories where competitions will not leave a nice holiday feeling in your grown children’s lives.
- Don’t sulk over the holidays your kids are gone. Make plans and celebrate with your spouse. It’s hard to have the kids away but it’s fun to tryout holiday alternatives you wouldn’t do if your kids were home. Brazilian Thanksgiving, anyone?
Do your kids visit their other parent? How do you manage the holidays? Tell us in the comments!