Being a single parent at Christmas

Being a single parent at Christmas is hard. Hell, being single at Christmas generally is hard. But as a parent, seeing all the Christmas advertisements involving families together can sometimes feel like a knife in the gut. I love how excited my kids get about Christmas, but it makes me very sad that I have no-one to share my children’s joy with. My family are great and this year I am lucky enough to be spending Christmas with them. But not everyone has family around and that must be extra-hard.

I will give you a little background if you haven’t read my blog before. I split up from my ex-husband 2 years ago. It happened just before Christmas. It was a shock and a very turbulent time for everyone involved but we got through Christmas (2014). As painful as it was, we made a fuss of the kids, made it all about them, even though we all knew our lives had changed forever. I don’t know if it was worse for me as the breakup was not my choice and the person that my husband had fallen for was someone very close to home – she lived in our house and looked after our children. But we kept up the pretence for the sake of the kids and gave them the last “normal” Christmas before we told them in January that Mummy & Daddy weren’t going to live together anymore.

When we first broke up, all I wanted was to keep everything as normal as possible for the children and for me. This meant spending Christmas together every year (me, my ex-husband and his then girlfriend – now wife). So this is what we did in 2015. I had moved out in the April into my own little flat. But I spent Christmas at my old house, now my ex-husband’s house, with him, his girlfriend and the kids. In some ways it was exactly the same as the previous 2 Christmases but in other ways it was awful. A lot of things had changed in the house. It didn’t feel like my own anymore. I felt like a guest that had to be on her best behaviour (not that they made me feel like that – they were both very kind and welcoming) but I knew deep down, although I didn’t want to admit it then, that this was not going to be manageable, or healthy for that matter, going forward. As time went by, we started doing more and more things separately. I fought for us to do things together – the odd pub lunch, summer fetes, this kind of thing, but in the end I admitted defeat and realised that we needed to do our own thing. That it was healthier this way.

So early on in the year I asked my parents if they were around at Christmas. Partly, I was terrified of being on my own with the kids on Christmas Day. I didn’t have room for a big Christmas at mine, I’m not a very confident cook and I was worried I wouldn’t manage. But I also wanted to have a family Christmas with MY family. The idea of Christmas at my ex’s house again made me feel very depressed. Thankfully, my parents said yes, they would be around. So I’m going to my folks this Christmas – it will be me, the kids, my parents, my sister and her husband. It’s been a long time since we’ve all done Christmas together and I can’t wait. We’ve already talked about stockings and my mum, dad and sister have gone out and bought a few things so it will really be a joint effort. I can’t wait to be in my parents’ living room, watching the kids open their presents. I actually feel good about Christmas and about being with my family.

Next year will be harder. It will be Ben’s turn to have the children for Christmas Day and I will have them on Boxing Day. I know this will be hard for me but my plan is to either spend Christmas Day with a friend or invite a load of single people (either those without kids or those parents whose kids are with their ex’s that year) and have a big friend Christmas.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas. If you are a single parent (or just single), please comment below with your own experiences of Christmas. I would love to read them.

17 Thoughts on “Being a single parent at Christmas

  1. Roy Denney on December 8, 2016 at 10:17 said:

    Hello sorry but I would have nailed him to the wall and stayed in your house he is the one that decided to end it…….

    • We’re all different. I chose not to take that path. And I’m happy about it.

    • I guess I can share my story ,
      I am an only girl and was the only child for a while before my siblings came along. And my mother was a single mother and she still is. With the help of my “grandparents” the real ones weren’t much help. They always made sure when I was younger , to make Christmas special , I remember always spending time there during Christmas. Now being the oldest , I try to make Christmas special for my brothers. Lately we have been using my little college apartment as our family’s base. And as it goes christmas they should be all spending the night. We watch , movies eat and just enjoy time together as a family. And that is what christmas is all about isnt it?

      • Roy Denney on December 13, 2016 at 22:57 said:

        Oh yes it is……. I was only child my parents divorced when I was 5 my maternal grandmother raised me my birthday is 23rd December my father hardly ever remembered so Xmas yeah its ok……

        • Christmas can be very hard when you have family that is not on the scene for whatever reason. My aunt just lost her husband/my uncle and I can’t imagine how it will be for her this year. We just need to focus on spreading the love where we can.

      • Hi Bianca, you are so right. Christmas is all about family and being with the ones you love. Hope you have a good one too xxxx

  2. Thank you for sharing your story, I’m sure there will be a lot of people who can relate and feel connection. Good for you that you’re able to give the kids a Christmas that will make you all happy and that you’re excited for. I’m sure that whenever your doing, your kids will be happy. Kids pick up on the emotions of their parents, so as long as they see you’re having a good time, they will too. Merry Christmas to you and hope you have a wonderful time with your children!

  3. I hope you have a great time at your parents’ place on Christmas Day. Best wishes for 2017 too. X

  4. It seems having Christmas at your parents is way better for everyone and I’m sure your kids will love it too!

Please comment so I know I'm not alone out here!

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