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Who’s on first – Naughty or Nice? Five ways to make it easier to choose “Nice.”

 

 

By

Abbott and Costello: Who’s on first. What’s on second. I don’t know is on third. Why’s in left field. Tomorrow’s the pitcher. Today’s the catcher. Naturally, Who’s on first. I don’t give a damn’s the shortstop.

Co-parenting Team: Who’s at mom’s home? Who’s at dad’s home? What’s the plan? I don’t know if we will all be together Christmas day. Why’s this so complicated? Tomorrow will be easier. (Wel-l-l-l. Let’s make that next month.) Today we need to get this schedule planned out. Naturally, I don’t how we‘re going to split the expenses yet. Why all the drama? Because we give a damn.

The Holidays are a logistical nightmare for most families. Clearly for those of us with ex-spouses complexity doubles. Emotions are high, finances are stretched, traditions are challenged; it is not an easy time of year for single parents.

So let’s decide now. Are we going to be naughty or nice this year?  (I don’t need to tell you which to choose, right?) I don’t want a reindeer to fill my stocking.Let’s tackle five things on our co-parenting checklist for a planned Holiday season:

1) Schedule. Make a calendar with a proposed schedule. Prioritize importance of events; include school parties & plays, breakfast with Santa, work parties, church services, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, etc. Add details:  What time?  Where? Who will drop-off/pick up?

2) Gifts. Will we buy gifts separately or make a list together and each take half?  Or will one of us buy all the gifts yet split the costs? (Or percentage of total cost?) Who wraps the gifts? Are all the gifts under the tree at the home where the child wakes up Christmas morning? Will both parents be there when the child wakes up?  It’s a good idea to talk to your ex-spouse if a pet is being considered. (Yes, discuss that ear shattering drum set as well.)

Our kids deserve the joy of giving a gift to each parent. It is our responsibility to help them buy these gifts. Non-negotiable.

Other considerations:

  • It’s a good idea to prepare ourselves to give but perhaps not receive. We can only control our actions.
  • Gifts for teachers, babysitters, bus drivers, etc.
  • If you have typically created annual Christmas cards with a collage of family photos, go for it! Even after divorce, we all still have families. Sure, we have a different family structure but it’s an annual tradition I plan to continue.

3) Christmas morning. Do we plan to open gifts together as a family? If so, when child wakes up are they allowed to open one gift and then wait to open rest of the gifts until the other parent arrives? If not opening gifts together, how will presents be divided between homes?

4) Childcare. Most children are home from school for two weeks. For parents who work part-time or are not working, give consideration to the spouse working full-time (barring special visits from relatives). Most likely both parents work which means you’re going to need coverage for your peanut. Set it up now.

  • Daycare fills up fast.
  • Family schedules fill up fast, but they might be able to babysit if given enough notice.
  • Getting time off from work needs to be asked for sooner than later.
  • Figure out how to split the finances now if you need supplemental childcare.

5) Loneliness. How to handle alone time. What to do when your munchkin is with your ex. Ouch. We’ll come back around to this in a future post. For now let’s focus on the schedule.

Don’t forget to smile. It’s not that bad. Yeah, at times the holiday season totally blows but generally speaking, it’s a blip on the screen of life. Eyes on the prize. Our children. Let’s vow to express excitement to our children about the time they get to enjoy with their other parent. And if heartache strikes, we’re strong, we can deal. We can stay busy or we can dive into the heartache. I’m a big fan of both.

My plan? I’m a volunteer type chic. Last year during this time I founded a monthly BINGO-Pizza night for the homeless in our area. It was exactly what the doctor ordered to help keep me busy during the co-parenting chaos inherent in the holiday season. Working with the homeless continually keeps the gratitude in my heart ever-present. Downsizing from a 3-bedroom house to a 300-square foot apartment doesn’t feel like much to complain about. Large roof, small roof–doesn’t matter–it’s still a roof.  So this year I will be doing more of the same (30 guests last year … 1oo+ this year!). That is what works for me. Find what works for you. Volunteer, massage, pedicure, three-hour bubble bath (careful not to prune), dinner with friends or as Rachel on Friends once said in regard to staying in a night alone, “I think I’m gonna catch up on my correspondence.” Catch up on your correspondence. Find what works for you.

And after all is said and done and I’ve volunteered my butt off, caught up on my correspondence and put the last piece in my 500-piece puzzle, I know exhaustion will set in. (I know, I know. I’m such a geek but it’s a new hobby that I find very meditative!)  There is only so much time we can spend distracting ourselves. That is when I will slow down and soak it all in. I’ll grab a glass of wine, host a pity party for one, blast my iTunes playlist labeled “Random Emotional” (no lie), cry it out, collapse into my bed, hug Ana Lu’s blankie and fall asleep knowing tomorrow is a new day. Then I’ll get up the next morning and focus positive energy into my sweet Ana Lu. Time together is for decorating over-sized Gingerbread men ($1 at Trader Joes), blaring Christmas tunes on the radio and driving around at nighttime until we find a house decked out in festive lights that rival the Griswolds in Chevy Chase’s Christmas Vacation. Finally, reveling in the sweetest Christmas music of the season…Ana Lu’s joyful Ooh’s & Aah’s from the backseat.

Helpful reminder. Child’s List of Wants & Children’s Bill of Rights: http://www.sassysinglemom.com/here/?p=386

 

Originally Posted in Single Sassy Mom (dot) Com | Dec 6, 2011 |

A supportive community for healthy co-parenting and motherhood ups, downs, and are you freakin’ kidding me?!

 

You can follow me on twitter @GretSchiller and Facebook Sassy Single Mom (dot) Com

 

 

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Originally posted 2013-11-10 11:10:54. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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