You hate this time of year. You used to really love all the festivities. Getting together with friends and family more often, watching your kids light up as they get to open up presents for the holidays, and cherishing that extra time as a family with the more frequent days off work.
Then your world changed and now you’re a single mom. You don’t want to go out to the fall and winter festivals because all you see is the families out together while you’re trying to juggle your kids by yourself. It twists a knife in your gut seeing other kids get to spend time with both of their parents at the same time, and seeing how those parents trade off duties. It instantly depresses you because your kids don’t have their dad there to build memories with.
You used to love decorating the house for the holidays but now you couldn’t care less. What are you even celebrating? A broken family!? There doesn’t feel like anything joyous about this time of year anymore.
You don’t want to see your friends or family because it’s exhausting to try to plaster a smile on your face and pretend like everything is ok. You’re happy their relationships have worked out, but you don’t want to spend long amounts of time with all of the happy families when you and your kids don’t have that.
You no longer have the money to get your kids amazing gifts that you can take pictures of them opening and have as memories for years to come. You know gifts aren’t everything but a part of you feels inadequate because you can’t give them what you want to give them.
I get it. I’ve been there. It can absolutely suck going through the holidays as a single mom. The first time I went through the holidays, I could barely make it through. And although I can’t promise you the holidays will go back to being your favorite time of the year, I can give you tips that can help you get through those rough times.
1. Visit close family and friends. Now I know we just covered why you probably don’t want to see other people. But I’m telling you if you don’t get out of the house and get around other people, you will become very isolated. I legitimately used to avoid even going to the store during that time because I couldn’t handle the Christmas music and decorations. I felt like it was being rubbed in my face that it was the happiest time of the year and my family was broken. But I knew being alone all the time and sitting with those feelings weren’t doing me any favors.
So I visited my close friends and family to get out of my house.
Getting out of your house can improve your spirits, even if it’s just for a short while. It’s a distraction from those dark feelings you’re having. Talking and connecting to those friends and family can help to improve your mood as well. You’re kids will build memories with the people in their lives who will be there for the long haul. It may not be the memories you were hoping they’d have, but they will have happy memories with people who love them.
2. See a doctor or therapist. There is absolutely no shame in seeing a doctor or a therapist. This is a very hard part of the year and if you can’t seem to shake the funk or you start to feel that you’re not your normal self, go see someone!! You want to be as healthy and happy for yourself and for your kids. No one will think less of you. Or if you don’t want to tell anyone that can remain your private business.
3. Think of your kids. It was truly hard for me when the onset of the holidays came. I couldn’t get out of my own head and kept thinking about what my kids didn’t have. Instead of thinking negative thoughts, you need to think about what you can give your kids. You can absolutely give them great memories. Play holiday music and sing or dance with them. Get outside and go sledding, have snowball fights, make snow castles, or make snow angels! Decorate a tree, watch holiday movies and snuggle, and bake cookies! It actually helps you to get out of your own head when you focus on creating happy memories for your kids.
4. Give to charity. Focusing on giving to others who are less fortunate than you can help put your situation into perspective. I know your situation isn’t the greatest, but there are people who have much less. Incorporating your kids into the act of giving to those less fortunate is a great life lesson as well. You can go through old clothes and toys with your kids and donate them. You can give food to a food pantry or volunteer at them. There are lots of ways to give during the holidays and it can bring you and your kids closer and improve your spirits.
5. Make time for self care. You need to make time for yourself. You have to give yourself room to breathe, cry, get angry, meditate, pray, whatever! But bottling those feelings up will just make you feel worse. You’ll constantly feel on edge and you may end up taking it out on those closest to you, (i.e. your kids). Instead, journal, take a hot bath, watch a sad movie and cry, watch a happy movie and laugh, get a sitter and go out alone or with friends, listen to cathartic music, write a list of new goals for yourself, start a new hobby, and the list goes on! Getting those feelings out can help rejuvenate you and help get a handle on your emotions.
Yes, the holidays are hard as hell as a single mom. But the fact that they are rough, doesn’t have to get the best of you. You can make amazing new memories with your kids and start new traditions. You can teach your kids to give to others who are less fortunate. Consider seeing a doctor or therapist to help manage this incredibly difficult time. And make time for yourself because you’re mental health matters! The holidays can be an opportunity to celebrate who you do have and those people are priceless.
One Last Thing!
This is the third month in a 7 month series that will feature other single mom bloggers to provide a single mom resource!! Each month we will discuss a different aspect of single mom life.
Check out this page to read about other ways to manage the holidays as a single mom! Single Mom Resource 101