As Henri Nouwen said: "The spiritual life is not a life before, after, or beyond our everyday existence. No, the spiritual life can only be real when it is lived in the midst of the pains and joys of the here and now."
With the holidays fast approaching, the focus of single moms everywhere shifts to packing the maximum amount of fun and family time into the least amount of stress possible. Anxiety, tension, and worry have a way of rearing their heads at the holidays, making what should be the happiest time of the year feel more like a depressing blur of weeks leading to January. It is during this time that many moms start to look for some good advice from blogs for Christian women. Consider these fun and simple holiday tips for making the most out of end of the year as a single mom:
1) Tackle Traditions
Dealing with holiday traditions can be tricky, especially during your first few holidays as a single mom. Ritual and repetition are invaluable for kids, and it's essential that you keep things as comforting as possible during a potentially tough time. It's important to keep up some of that continuity, even if the structure of your family has shifted.
Equally important is that you begin some new traditions with your children this holiday season. A mix of old and new will keep your little ones feeling both comforted and inspired. You do not have to jump into a whole new set of complicated rituals either. Simply starting a fun new tradition when it comes to decorating the tree or lighting the menorah can be enough to let your kids know that while things may no longer be exactly the same, the holidays are still an exciting time to look forward to.
2) Keep Kids in the Know
Go over all your holiday plans with your children well in advance. Let them know about any traveling that will be coming up, and give them a schedule about which holiday will be spent with each parent, when applicable. Giving them a schedule and allowing them to ask questions beforehand is a good way to make them more comfortable with what could be a tense situation.
3) Talk to Your Ex When Needed
The holiday season may be the very last time of year you want to talk to your ex-partner. But, for the sake of your children, it's important to keep communication open. Discuss important travel plans, set a limit for gift giving, and make sure your children remember to pick up a gift to give them. If your co-parent is being difficult or not following rules you set up in advance, then make sure you discuss it with them, not your children.
4) Plan for Yourself, Too
End of the year celebrations are rough, especially on single parents. Carve out some "you" time to keep your sanity. A lunch with friends, a long walk before dinner, or even just a hot bubble bath after the kids are in bed all make for fantastic mini escapes. If you will be spending a holiday without your children, make sure you make plans to keep yourself happy and entertained during the potentially sad times.
It is also important to remember that you can always turn to God if things get too hard. Spend some time in prayer and remember that your spirituality is there to keep you afloat during the sad times. As Henri Nouwen said: "The spiritual life is not a life before, after, or beyond our everyday existence. No, the spiritual life can only be real when it is lived in the midst of the pains and joys of the here and now."