Divorced Mom Worries: Can I make this a happy holiday for the kids?

Posted by Delaine - December 25, 2010 - Parenting, Single Moms - 1 Comment

I just finished tucking my three children into bed this fine, Christmas Eve.  They protested the entire time that they’d be awake “all night” cause they’re so excited.  But right now I’m just so happy we shared a lovely evening together.  More than happy, I am relieved.

I don’t know if I’m alone in saying this.  But throughout the day today I actually worried I wouldn’t be ’enough’ for my kids on this special evening.  Memories from my own childhood Christmases replayed: carloads of  family and friends at my parents’ house, carolling, thunderous laughter, the doorbell’s steady ringing, us kids gorging on sweets and goodies till our guts ached…

And I compared and judged those happy times against what I, a divorced mom with no family in town, was offering tonight: a buffet dinner out, just the four of us, Christmas carolling on the car ride home, followed by snuggles on the couch watching “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.  And I worried:  What if my kids’ felt let down or like they were missing out?  What if they wished they were at my ex’s house?  Cause at least he has a girlfriend and his parents are in town visiting.  What if any kind of  ‘group experience’ would seem merrier to their young hearts than just being alone with their mom?

This is the third Christmas Eve I’ve shared with my children since my divorce.  And I can honestly say I’ve never had worries like these before.  Maybe cause the kids were younger and I didn’t think they’d notice it as much.  Maybe cause in years past, we’ve also always met up with friends.  Whatever the reasons, bottom line was that I felt inadequate; and I really didn’t like feeling that way…

Turned out in the end that my children and I had a most delightful evening together.  Countless times I heard them say how happy they were to be with me, how this was the best night EVER.  And I totally forgot about my worries/fears…until now.

So I write this tonight to remind both myself and you, dear reader, not to expect perfection of yourself during the holiday season. And though it’s easy to get bogged down with guilt and sadness when reminiscing of holidays past, we don’t have to recreate what we once had or may have hoped for, to create wonderful memories for our children.  Even if all the fancy trimmings are missing, even if it’s minus all the hoopla, the joy and love of our togetherness is the greatest gift of all.  That is the essence of the holiday spirit.  And it doesn’t lose its splendor just because we’re divorced parents.