Can you believe how this year has flown by? All I remember is it was New Year’s Eve, somehow I blinked, and now it’s the middle of November again in North Alabama.
These days I find myself in planning mode, preparing for co-parenting during the holidays. This time of year for fathers like myself that are actively involved, while no longer in committed relationship(s) with the mother of their child(ren) can be tough. Here’s what works for me to have a enjoyable holiday season. Maybe you’ll pick up a few pointers or at least this will help you gain a new perspective.
Here’s a bit of transparency to set the scene. I have 4 amazing children (10,9,7 & 4) and I am not currently in the home with any of them. I’m blessed to be able to spend time with my children daily and that that mother’s of my children are all dedicated moms, loving, hard-working and drama-free. Which is the perfect lead in for my first point.
#1: Delete the Drama
This is easier said than done which is why it’s my first bullet point. With so much going on, this time of year is definitely an emotional tug. Not only are the holidays approaching but the kids are in school, maybe they are even in extracurricular activities or neighborhood sports; mine are in basketball and gymnastics this fall.
As if that doesn’t keep you busy enough you’re probably rotating holidays, splitting gift lists, and to top it all off I’m sure a part of you misses being in the home with your kids. The last thing you need is to stir up the unhealthy emotions that relationship drama brings. There’s no room for it. Too many other things require your attention, you cannot give any energy whatsoever to drama in the co-parenting relationship.
Accept the situation for what it is. Currently you are co-parenting. You eliminate the drama by focusing solely on what’s best for the child. If both parties focus specifically on the child(ren) how could they possibly have drama?
Oh I hear what you are saying: “What if my ex and I disagree on what is best for the child?” *drumroll please* it’s time for point #2.
#2: Be Quick To Listen, Slow To React
Let’s face it, someone is going to miss the child at all times. The whole notion of a true 50/50 or 100/100 partnership, being completely fair is extremely tough to accomplish. One of the risks we run when we are no longer under the same roof full time as our children is “missing” some time and moments. It comes with the territory. I was heartbroken not being near the first time my daughter had a nightmare and refused to re-enter her room. Imagine how that felt to get a midnight phone call that there was a monster sound in the closet. I wanted to be there to storm into that closet and fight the big scary monster who stole precious sleep time from my baby.
I urge you to NOT fly off the handle if you find yourself on the “40” end of the 60/40 or the “30” end of the 70/30. When you get mad it only adds fuel to the fire. Stay calm, and press forward knowing that your time is coming. Have faith that things will get better.
#3: Make Every Minute Count
Here’s an example for you. It’s Thanksgiving and you are supposed to get your child from your ex at noon and have them the rest of the day. Well maybe he/she is running behind for unknown reasons and they don’t call but finally they get to you around 2pm. Instead of being upset and fuming over the lost 2 hours, give those kids a huge hug and get the day started. If you waste another 2 hours being frustrated about the 2 hours you’ve already lost guess what…..a total of 4 hours is gone and 2 of them are your own fault!
#4 Be The Best You
This time of year it’s very easy to compare yourself to what other parents are doing for their kids or what your co-parent is doing for the child(ren) you two share. Loving and providing for a child isn’t a contest. My 9 & 7 year olds mother has a great (and great paying) job and I used to struggle with financial insecurity because I didn’t make as much as she did. I felt like I couldn’t “do” for the kids the way she could. Little did I know that as much as I envied her paycheck, she has always envied my creative ability when it comes to our kids. She jokingly labeled me the “fun parent” because of my ability to think up games spontaneously or turn something routine like cleaning up a room or putting up groceries into a fun adventure for the kids we share.
Find your strength and be great.
Enjoy this time of year. It’s traditionally a great time for building and strengthening the family bond no matter the situation. Focus on those precious babies and everything else will fall into place. Stay positive! Remember that parenting is not a sprint, it’s a marathon and the key is to be in it for the long run.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Travis “Tee” Large is a proud father of four. Originally from Indianapolis, Travis has called Huntsville home since 1999. Professionally Travis has a background in recruiting and human resources. The undisputed king of side projects, on any given day Travis can be found blogging/writing, trying his hand at local stand-up comedy, mounting TVs , or working in marketing for the talented band Unknown Lyric. Say ho on Twitter at @teeLARGE
As a hyper-local website focused on all aspects of parenting in and around Huntsville, AL, and the Tennessee Valley, Rocket City Mom occasionally asks local parents to submit their stories for publication. This is part of our continual effort to represent varied viewpoints and experiences on our site. However, these articles should not be seen as necessarily expressing the views of Rocket City Mom Media Group, LLC.