Whether you love Christmas or tolerate it for the sake of the kids, it can be a stressful time that leaves you physically, emotionally and financially drained. And for single mothers, it has a tendency to come complete with a big fat dollop of guilt too.
Just some of the thoughts that may come to mind include:
“My child only has one parent to celebrate Christmas with.”
“Our child has to move houses half-way through Christmas Day.”
“I won’t be with our child throughout all of Christmas.”
“I can’t afford to give my child as much as their friends will receive.”
“My Christmas Day won’t look anything like that damned Aldi advert.”
I get it. I’ve been doing this Christmas gig as a co-parenting single mum for eight years now and I work with heaps of single mums who make Christmas amazing as a solo parent.
In this article, I’m going grab that guilt and turn it into a ghost of Christmas past, freeing you up to have the joyous and happy Christmas you deserve.
Note: That many of my suggestion are a festive twist on ideas from my “You’ve Got This” Single Mum eCourse, where we deal with guilt alongside the many other issues and challenges that modern day single mums face.
HOW TO SHIFT THE SINGLE MUM GUILTS THIS CHRISTMAS
DON’T COMPARE YOUR CHRISTMAS
My No.1 tip is to stop comparing Christmas to:
- What Christmas was like before you became a single mother
- How other people are celebrating Christmas
- The completely fantasized Christmas’s on TV and in magazines etc
This is your own personal Christmas to celebrate within the confines of your circumstances and budget. Work with what you have to create the best Christmas experience that you can.
You and your family are completely unique, meaning you will celebrate in your unique style. Your children will come to love that style and look back fondly on it … even if it doesn’t look like a TV commercial.
TRADITIONS: OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW
Celebrating Christmas after a family breakup can be difficult, especially if certain festive traditions are no longer possible. But, don’t let that bring on your seasonal sadness.
Instead, create new traditions which work better in your newly structured family.
For example, I bought my girls new personalised stockings which mark Santa’s visit wherever they are on Christmas morning. On the lead-up to Christmas we have fun making yummy Christmas food. We even have a Christmas CD which it is mandatory to play as we decorate the tree!
This is a great time to introduce new traditions that mean something special to you, perhaps a festive ritual from your own childhood that you would like to pass onto your children.
BAN THOSE FROSTY FINANCIAL GUILTS
For most of us, when we think of Christmas, we see big red flashing dollar signs. And quite frankly, this spoils all the fun. Having money worries is enough to ruin your Christmas altogether as you feel guilty for not being able to afford certain gifts or all the trimming on the day itself.
There is so much you can do to banish these December downers.
Firstly, plan early for Christmas and work out a budget based on what you realistically have to spend, without paying off your credit card for the next year.
Secondly, stick to your budget. You have to be strong, but it will be a game-changer to eliminate guilt that can shadow Christmas.
And finally, get creative! There are heaps ways to have cheap but cheerful Christmas that both you and your kids will love. Get more ideas from these articles:
How to shift the single mum guilts this Christmas (cont.)
THE GIFT GIVING CONUNDRUM
Every family has different opinions and budgets when it comes to buying gifts for our children.
Please hold onto that thought.
I’ll put my hand up and admit I go a little crazy with gifts for my kids! However, for me it’s less amount how much I spend and more about how many gifts they have to open. My reasoning behind this is because all of our family is overseas and due to postage costs generally don’t send wrapped presents. For this reason, I give lots of smaller presents, so they have lots of gifts to savour and open on the day. And yes, I get so much pleasure seeing them open each one so that is what works best for our family.
Block out the consumerism vortex that sucks us in whole and forget about what your kid’s best mates are getting for Christmas. Instead, focus on your family and what works for you.
RETHINK YOUR CO-PARENTING CHRISTMAS
If you are co-parenting at Christmas, your guiltometer can go through the roof as your children navigate the festive period between two homes.
If this is you, I’d like you to reframe your thoughts around it and consider that your child won’t think about this as deeply as you. As long as their basic Christmas needs are met, they will be happy. Think: presents, decorations, yummy food, Christmas movies and most of all, happy parents.
For many children of separated parents, they have the huge benefit of two Christmas’s with TWO lots of presents, decorations, yummy food and Christmas movies!
Could it be that you are worrying unnecessarily?
If your children see mum having a great time at Christmas then they will relax and enjoy it too. So, replace the guilt with goodwill and have a wonderful Merry Christmas.
In need of Christmas gift ideas? Look no further …