With Easter, Orthodox Easter and Passover Holidays coming, it can be stressful enough as it is for any family. Who is hosting which dinner, lunch or brunch? Who to invite? Which invitations to accept, without offending others?
Add to this mix being separated or divorced and needing to decide “Who gets the kids?”
For many separated parents, that decision is made through the Parenting Plan or Separation Agreement process. Some parents figure it out on a per-holiday basis.
And even when there seems to be a decision made, it isn’t always easy for the other parent not to be with their child or children, when it’s not “their turn.”
Here are some ideas to consider that have worked for me and for clients I have supported:
- Alternate year agreement. One way to alternate years is to say, “Parent A gets the children for Easter/Passover (etc) on the odd-numbered years, while Parent B gets the children on the even-numbered years” Usually this will be written up in an agreement, (which helps to remember from year-to-year).
- Holidays with the Parent who the child doesn’t live with. Sometimes children live with one parent (possibly in a different city) full time. In such a case it can work to have the child spend the holiday period with the other parent. Depending on the relationship and willingness between the parents, the parent living away from the child may travel in and spend the holiday with their child together with the other parent.
- Holidays All Together. Depending on the willingness of the parents, it may work to have the holidays be a time to spend together. It’s not about the parents “being together.” It’s about the children having a meaningful and memorable holiday. I have had the privilege of my own parents rising above their past differences to be at the same holiday table with me and my family.
- Multi-Ethnic Family. You may be in a formerly mixed marriage situation, which means you don’t share the same holidays. This can work out well when the holidays don’t land on the same dates! What happens when they DO land on the same dates? Either you could apply the “alternate year” approach where by one parent gets them this year and next time a holiday lands on the same date, the other parent gets the kids. Or, there may be room to compromise by splitting the day or days themselves. For example, this year the first two days of Passover coincides with Catholic/Christian Easter Weekend. Kids could be with the Jewish parent Friday and Saturday and with the Christian or Catholic parent on Sunday and Monday.
And, the key is to make the decision and then stick to it, ideally letting go of any resentments and upsets when you’re the one not with the kids. This part is not always easy, but it is certainly possible.
Try to bring the spirit of what the holiday is, to your attitude and to your interactions with your former spouse.
I wish you blessings for the holidays, whatever you should be celebrating at this time of year.
If you are stuck regarding holiday decisions, or any other decisions related to separation or divorce matters or family-life matters, set up a COMPLEMENTARY STRATEGY SESSION with me and let’s get it sorted out.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org