Co-parenting at Christmas is like holding a precious glass bauble. As parents, we hold that bauble tight, desperate to keep it perfect, unwilling to share it with anyone else. But we have to share, we have to let go, and it isn’t perfect. I don’t think there is such a thing as perfect situation for co-parenting parents at Christmas, we just make the best of the situation we are in.
Each and every situation is different. There are so many factors involved in co-parenting at Christmas, all of which depend entirely on us as parents. What works for one family may not work for another, but today I thought I’d share what I’ve found works well, and the situations you should avoid in order for your children to enjoy Christmas with both Mummy and Daddy.
I’ve been a single parent for over 3 years now, but co-parenting has only worked well for the past year or so. It take’s a lot of inner strength and emotional resilience to co-parent successfully, especially at Christmas. I truly believe that in order to be able to communicate with your ex-partner in a way that is beneficial for your children, both parties need to reach a point in which they have dealt with events from the past. It’s really difficult to communicate and cooperate with an ex-partner when you still have feelings of resentment and anger.
At the very least, yourself and your ex-partner need to have reached a stage in which you can be in a room together before successfully co-parenting at Christmas. Nobody wants a tense atmosphere at Christmas, especially your children. Yourself and your ex-partner need to seriously consider what you feel able to achieve. Could you manage spending a short period of time together at Christmas to allow your children time to open their presents with both parents? Can you remain calm and friendly? If the answer to both of those questions is yes, then as long as both parties are in agreement co-parenting at Christmas should be a breeze, ok, so it may be slightly awkward, but awkward is better than angry!
It’s also important to remember that you might not get it right first time. You may find that uniting the family for a short while isn’t as beneficial as you first thought. It’s all trial and error, each family is different.
Christmas is a magical time of year and I absolutely love spending every moment of Christmas I can with my children, but I also appreciate that my children need an equal amount of time with both sides of their family. Waving them off and spending part of Christmas without them will never not be painful, but it’s okay, because after 3 Christmases of trial and error, tense atmospheres and awkward encounters, we’ve found what works for us. The children usually stay at home with me on Christmas Eve, Daddy visits on Christmas morning for present opening and then on Boxing Day or the day after, they spend time with Daddy and his family.
Their Christmas lasts longer than most and they absolutely love it – there are SO many perks to co-parenting at Christmas, you just have to find them! Below you’ll find a list of do’s and don’ts, a list written with heaps of experience in mind. I really hope you find it beneficial! Please do let me know your thoughts on co-parenting at Christmas in the comments below. If you wish to discuss your experiences confidentially, my inbox is ALWAYS open – firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Try and delegate an equal amount of time for both parties.
- Discuss the plan for Christmas well in advance.
- Discuss presents to avoid any double up’s.
- Be open minded about what is do-able and what isn’t.
- Compromise when required, and stay calm.
- Respect each other, regardless of any ongoing issues.
- Discuss co-parenting at Christmas arrangements in front of the children.
- Leave it until the week before Christmas to decide who is doing what.
- Try and compete with your ex-partner when it comes to gifts.
- Expect everything to go your way with regards to festive plans.
- Use the Christmas discussion to drag up other issues. Stay calm, focus on the discussion at hand and ensure a settled and calm Christmas for your children.