*** A post courtesy of Integrous Resolution Services ***
It’s that time of year again –
Oh, Thanksgiving… a time to give thanks for the blessings in your life, including the blessings of what or who’s no longer in your life – perhaps a former partner or spouse (hint, hint!). Whether you’re happy to be divorced or separated, that doesn’t make the first Thanksgiving after a split any easier. The traditions you had established with your former spouse or partner are now broken, and you now may be forced to come up with a new plan for celebrating Thanksgiving, especially when you have children. As much as it’s easier said than done, here are 5 ways you can make Thanksgiving memorable after separation.
#1 Take Care of Yourself
If your parenting time agreement means your children will be with your former spouse/partner and not you on Thanksgiving, be sure you accept an invitation to celebrate with others so that you’re not alone, wallowing in grief or sadness and missing your children. Appreciate the opportunity to take care of your own needs on this day. That doesn’t mean downing a few bottles of wine to get through the hours or causing sudden panic on yourself about their well-being. Eat well and eat heartily with others you love – extended family, spiritual family, friends. Lean on the positive support system that has been there from the beginning.
#2 Don’t Steal the Show!
It’s out. They may have heard some things. Here you are right in their home and everybody wants to know. Don’t take the spotlight from the main attraction, the turkey! Giving thanks! Spending time with family! Laugh! Don’t even steal the spotlight from that one family member who everybody has to brace for each year. What you’re facing in public is completely different than what you’re facing in private. If you’re in need of sharing or simply letting out some frustration, don’t wait till the gravy is being passed around. Discern and designate just one person you trust and share privately.
#3 Establish New Traditions
Maybe you always hosted a big Thanksgiving dinner at your house. There’s no reason you can’t continue to do so, but when you have kids it might be hard on them to not have one of their parents present. New traditions can help take the focus off of who is absent or what’s not taking place that usually happens on this holiday. It might be as simple as eating in another room, serving different foods, or going to the home of another family member or friend. Make attempts to set the atmosphere to “normal” and “comfortable” for them. They are the most vulnerable and are often under-looked.
#4 Don’t Subject Your Children to Loyalty
If I could make this heading flash in neon colors, I would. Separation and divorce affects your children more than you think. Their watching you, you know. If you’re the parent with most time, it’s likely that your attitude rubs off from you to them and may affect their response toward the other parent. Do not play with their emotions – you’ll live if this year they’ll spend thanksgiving without you. They’ll live if they spend Thanksgiving with the other parent and their family. Encouraging them and putting their needs first is extremely important. Talk with your kids about the things they really want to participate in and don’t inject your “feelings” upon them. This is a period of transition for all of you. Conversely, don’t feel obligated to make everyone else happy if it isn’t the best thing for your children or you right now. And don’t feel obligated to spend Thanksgiving together with your former spouse/partner for the sake of your kids – if your divorce is at all contentious, it could be a disastrous holiday rather than one that’s “normal” for the kids.
#5 There’s Always Something to be Thankful For.
Like waking up this morning, your health, the fact that you’re reading this post…(lol). There’s a saying I’ve always heard and wish to share with you… “What If you woke up today with only the things you were thankful for yesterday?” Such a powerful question and meaningful statement in itself. The point is, there is always something to be thankful for, so give thanks!
Integrous Resolution Services wishes everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!
To learn more about Integrous Resolution Services and the services we offer for divorce and family mediation, visit “Our Services” and “Contact” page to see if Integrous Resolution Services is right you and others involved.