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Old 11-12-2012, 05:31 PM   #1
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cook The freaking holidays

Oh joy. A single parent's favorite time of year. You have to perform miracles to come up with gifts for your kids, family members, coworkers, and every little secret Santa and cookie swap and pot luck.

Then there are the family gatherings with so much drama. You get to be the only one there who is single. The weird comments and/or looks follow.

This is all IF you have your kids and your ex does not. You may be a lucky person who gets to argue over that with your ex, or adhere to a court-ordered schedule. Being w/o your kids at these events is even worse.

And don't forget the people who like to play charity case with you. You get invited to the holiday dinners of acquaintances you hardly know. Again, 100% worse if you're alone.

Or in my case, my kids and I get to spend the day w/ my rich, blissfully-married, perfect-life BFF. We'll sit there like THREE fifth wheels, eat like kings, and make uncomfortable, shallow conversation. Then we'll awkwardly accept the leftovers in disposable containers as they pretend they won't eat it. I know it's all meant with good intentions but it makes me want to cry and run away.

I miss the days when my kids were younger and people would really just leave us alone. For some reason we were ignored then. I could cook whatever I wanted, shut the door, turn off the phone and celebrate with just my babies and me. We were in our own universe and nobody could touch us.

So, we'll smile, go play along like we're ever-so-grateful for the awkward evening, and then go home and thank God the holidays are over for another year.
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:44 PM   #2
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

Do you have to go anywhere? Could you just opt to do holidays at home? We did a lot of travel back and forth when we first moved here. I put a stop to it. Too stressful on kids, I found I drove all day long between both families, dropping kids at one place, driving back to my family, picking them up and going to another family member's house...

One Easter we said "We're staying in Maine" We didn't even make dinner. Girls got their baskets, had an egg hunt, got all prettied up with easter dresses and winter coats and we hit the beach to collect shells and then went out to dinner. It was the BEST Easter we ever had. From there we started doing at least one of the fall holidays here at home (turkey day or xmas) The first year we stayed here, just us, for Christmas was wonderful. So nice the kids could just stay and play with their toys, I made a big fancy dinner, hid a gift for them to open later. It was magnificent.

My wish is that my family would come to us for a holiday, just one, once a year...but I guess it is too much driving for them
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:55 PM   #3
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

I don't know if I've ever heard it said any better...both the holidays with and the holidays without the kids.
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

Yup. I'm right there with ya MM! This year, is my year for Thanksgiving, the dad's for Christmas. That means I get to go to my parents for Christmas and feel/look like a little kid. Uggh. And I am an entertainer, love having friends/family over to my house, love cooking for people and no one is coming for Thanksgiving this year.....I'm having a hard time with that. How strange....a big dinner for the kids and I. It's like we'll be "all dressed up and no where to go"; only big dinner and no one to feed!
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

This will be my first experience with my daughter and holidays (outside the tummy of course). Luckily the courts haven't gotten around the child support/visitation yet so that's one thing I'm thankful I don't have to worry about!

What I'm not excited for is to be surrounded by my mother's family's round table of holiday judgement. Oh no, I'm the epitome of my generations dysfunction of an unwed young mother. And so on. (Don't get me wrong, my situation isn't ideal, but I'm making what good of it I can whilst creating a better future for my daughter)

However what I am excited for is seeing my daughter stuff her face with the holiday goodies. I feel like seeing that two-toothed smile full of mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce will make the screaming matches, snide comments, and and other holiday cheer become background noise.

And stuffing my face with her.
And giving her her first Christmas present.

I have no idea what the holidays hold for a single parent, but I'm preparing to embrace the holiday cheers and jeers.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:04 PM   #6
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

We normally go to my mom's for Thanksgiving and visit lots of family there. Christmas thins year the boys will be at their mother's and I am on Duty.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:46 AM   #7
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

Unfortunately, this is not my year to have the children on Christmas Day. Total bummer. So, both of my children have August birthdays. This years gift was a Thanksgiving weekend cruise to the Bahamas. I was shocked at what good deals there are on cruises! This way I don't have to deal with their dad complaining that he wants the kids for dinner on Thanksgiving even though it's not in the order. PlusI won't have to deal with my family pouring sympathy on me for my awful custody battle over my son. We are going to escape it all, even if it's just for a few days
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:09 AM   #8
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

Not sure what were doing yet. But I feel your pain MM.
I can never remember whose holidays is whose which year!
I'm like RM. Use to do a lot of driving, trading kids off..bla bla bla. Not anymore.
Since my Grandparents passed, I try to let dumb*** have them all day, every other Thanksgiving (he has a big family-lots of cousins for the kids-thats important to me that they spend time with them, since dumb*** never takes them to visit). Even when its my year, I let them go over there after we get done, cause my mom eats and runs pretty much. I grew up in a big family setting, and I am glad my kids have that once a year anyway.
My family...is small. Just my mom and her hubby. My Uncle and his family, well, they have never been much to socialize with us, ever.
Christmas..BLEH!! Kids arent getting much this year. New job, and still trying to adjust to the once-a-month paycheck. Plus, when I go into their rooms and see all that they already have, and don't take care of....
Think we might donate some toys this year! Go shopping, spend $100 or so, and take them to Christian Mission

I remember my first Christmas alone. I cried all night. Since my brother died, the family has not been the same. Combine that with the death of grandparents...the inevitable change in family dynamics as we grow older. SUCKS!

Usually, one of us has them Christmas eve and morning; then the other has them Christmas day and night.
One year, cant remember the details, but for some reason, I didnt have the kids home until a week after Christmas. I was really bummed. Think that was when I was working 3 jobs, 5 classes. Anyway, T suggested I set everything up, so when they walked in the door, we could have our Christmas! Most wonderful Christmas since my divorce!! Kids were totally surprised, since Christmas typically takes place in the wee hours of the morning. They werent expecting it at all!

---------- Post added at 09:09 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:07 AM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by PAgirl View Post
Unfortunately, this is not my year to have the children on Christmas Day. Total bummer. So, both of my children have August birthdays. This years gift was a Thanksgiving weekend cruise to the Bahamas. I was shocked at what good deals there are on cruises! This way I don't have to deal with their dad complaining that he wants the kids for dinner on Thanksgiving even though it's not in the order. PlusI won't have to deal with my family pouring sympathy on me for my awful custody battle over my son. We are going to escape it all, even if it's just for a few days
Wow!! A Thanksgiving Cruise!! What a great idea! Hope you guys have a wonderful time! I just recently checked into a cruise myself! There really are some good deals
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:26 AM   #9
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

I will say I have been lucky with my ex not fighting about holidays...but though we have shared the kids pretty well on such occassions, it's not fun. I know that "fifth wheel" feeling so well! These events do seem to magnify our situations, and how we feel about them. Those charity dinners hosted by family and friends can be ordeals.....but remember, the intetions are good. And if we always say no, people will stop asking, and that is even worse long term.
Remember too, what we might consider a charity dinner or one hosted out of pity, is our perspective...it could very well be it is compassion, caring, and even love of us which makes us welcome guests.
It's never easy so I hope this season goes well for you.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:47 AM   #10
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

I understand all the negative feelings here, but also too I see a lot of overlooked blessings.
I continue to look forward to the holidays. I feel blessed to be able to share them with family and friends and my SO. And even if I am not able to give much to R, or anyone else really, I still love the season and enjoy the things that come free or cheaply with it- making cookies with the family, taking R on neighborhood walks to look at the lights, etc. I am blessed with a healthy child who is happy if I am with him and we are playing. I choose not to look at the dinners as charity. They truly want our company on a day when we give thanks for all we have, or on a day when families come together to value each other.

All that being said I would be lying if I said I did not understand some the negative feelings, and I don't think I will ever get over only having every OTHER Christmas morning with my boo bear.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:53 AM   #11
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

MomofDTR: You don't have to make a big dinner just for you. I've asked my kids what they wanted during past holidays and we've stayed home and had White Castles!
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:14 PM   #12
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

All I can say is dd and I are NOT going anywhere this year.

Last year, my extremely rich brother & family invited us over the day AFTER Thanksgiving - to eat the leftovers from their big family Thanksgiving dinner they had with his wife's family (and OUR mom who was in town staying with them) the day before.

DD and I have kind of made own own little family tradition for Thanksgiving - we cook a nice little dinner (something good like Chili or home-made soup in the crock pot) and we go to a movie. I tell her every year that it's the best - spending the day with the one person I'd most like to spend it with. I love the fact that, at 16, she still likes to spend the day with her mom...

So not looking forward to Christmas............
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:12 PM   #13
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

oh i hear you. this is the second year of single parenting through the holidays, and i hope it gets easier. the kids have a fabulous time, the sweethearts, they are so young still yet...it's mommy who has a hard time, behind closed doors.

still, i do have a grateful, thankful spirit--that our lives have improved so much. i'm thankful for the health of my children...

everyone...
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Old 11-24-2012, 03:45 PM   #14
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

Well, this is my third holiday season with my son (although the first I was still recovering from c-section and getting the hang of life as a first time mommy) and I have to admit, I came to the forum and was about to rant and vent and cry through words ... four posts were attempted but never entered. Now I came and saw this thread and thought wow, I'm NOT alone ... although my circumstances are a bit different (thank God .. no custody/visitation/presence RE: SD) .. but I had to laugh a bit when I read here about the invitations from people you barely know because for the first time ever that just happened to me!! Two people I am acquainted with on FB who I knew once in a blue moon from childhood .. had offered to take me and my son under their wing to their big family shin digs for Thanksgiving. LOL I was a bit taken aback and thought OMG now how awkward and uncomfortable would THAT be! (Talk about feeling like the homeless person on the side of the road being thrown a bone for charitable purposes).

I, too, have a changed family dynamic since my brother's untimely death just weeks after my son's birth 2 yrs ago, my parents advanced age and failing health and small family overall. It does sadden me that I'm not able to give my son the type of holiday gatherings that I had as a kid (visits to relatives, jam packed houses, lots and lots of food) but I guess I came to realize that it's only 3 days out of the whole year that our country makes it a big deal and maybe I just need to stop trying to conform (Lord knows I never had a problem non-conforming in every other aspect of my life). I do love to entertain, but when you have nobody to host, that does sting a bit yet I'm realizing that maybe even that is overrated. Save it for the upcoming birthday parties we'll inevitably put on .. right? LOL This is the first in .. OMG .. ten years now, that I haven't hosted or at least cooked for a holiday ... and it really felt strange to me; although I admit I truly enjoyed it.

Needless to say, overall I did my wallowing, had my pity party and somehow managed to come out the other end with a little optimism and perspective. LOL Still doesn't mean I'm all for the holidays....just means I've come to decide it's time to flip the script. My turn to create new traditions and let go of the past.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:34 PM   #15
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

This year Christmas I am on duty, and the boys will be at their mother's til the 28th. So I am planning on doing our Christmas day the 29th.
I have had many Christmases overseas and away from Family, this is the 1st where my Family is all gone and I am here alone. I plan on working hard and staying busy.
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Old 11-24-2012, 08:56 PM   #16
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

Dad,sorry to read that. Being busy is the best thing at such times.
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:34 PM   #17
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

We haven't had a "family" Christmas for years. My mom passed and dad isn't well so not much happening there. B and I usually do Xmas Eve and he goes to his Moms on the big day. It doesn't bother me a great deal but I do miss seeing little kids open their presents all wide-eyed with anticipation!! A holiday cruise really does sound like a good idea.
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:44 PM   #18
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

Big family holidays ended when my father passed away (14 yrs ago almost)... we'd go down here and there to visit with my mom, now that she's gone not too much reason to go! The thing is that the girls know the holidays as they are and that is what they want. We could have gone to MA for Thanksgiving or we could go on Christmas...but the driving would be a lot. They prefer to stay here, just us, it is their tradition now and they love it. Who am I to say one must be surrounded by extended family for it to be a wonderful holiday. I still and will always love the holidays and Christmas Eve will always remain my favorite day of the year.... I'm pretty sure I've made it the girls' too!

Dad HUGS In the end it doesn't matter what day as long as you get to celebrate it with your kids.
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Old 11-24-2012, 10:36 PM   #19
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

I will manage no problem. It will be DS1's 1st Christmas away. He might be in N. Carolina or over seas!
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:57 AM   #20
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

Dad, boys will prob. be miserable after seeing the motherthing, so the homecoming will be awesome!
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:37 PM   #21
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

As for strangers inviting you, my kids and I got invited by a total stranger in church one year for Thanksgiving. Pastor told us to say hello to the person next to us and so we started talking.... She wrote her name, address, and number on a card and said we were more than welcome to come. It was a very sweet thought but...so awkward.

I don't want to be anyone's charity case. Good intentions or not.

I'd rather eat White Castles and go to the movies or something, you know? Create a new tradition.

As it turned out, THIS Thanksgiving wasn't as bad as I thought. We actually were made to feel quite comfortable. I think alcohol helped.

As a matter of fact, I need a LOT of it to attend MY family functions!

And to DAD and anyone who won't be w/ their kids, do it a different day. When my babies were little, I called up the Easter Bunny and explained they'd be w/ their dad that day. So the Easter Bunny agreed to come the weekend before...Palm Sunday. Worked out perfectly.

Although I never allowed the donor to have my kids for Christmas or Halloween, I'm sure Santa would make similar arrangements.
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:45 PM   #22
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

I have done Christmas on many varied days due to changing holiday schedule with dumbass. Don't know what I am going to do this year since it is his Christmas, and I am not comfortable with overnights at his place (cut overnight visitation, what? 4 months ago?) I really don't want to interfere with the Holidays, as it is not about him, but about my kids...I am sure they would be safe for one night...I think.
If certain things weren't going on currently, I could have a great Christmas...but alas, someone's head is up their arse again So, I will more than likely be sitting at home getting a booze on all by my lonesome. Well, the dog, cat, rabbit, and two birds will be there, so technically, I won't be drinking alone
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:00 PM   #23
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

You know what..... when people invite "strangers" they really, really mean it. Growing up, the first several years we went to grandma's house. But when I turned 12, there was a family falling out. After that, my parents opened our home on the holidays to people from our church and their work who had no family in the area and nowhere to go. THOSE are the holidays I remember the most and had the most fun at. I kid you not. At some point, I want to start carrying on that tradition. I always had so much fun bringing other people joy, getting to know them, and hearing about their holiday traditions.
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:21 PM   #24
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Default Re: The freaking holidays

LSL, I'm considering asking some of the people in my divorce support group at church to join us for Christmas. That first year w/o your kid(s) is so hard. I remember.
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