Shared parenting at Christmas (sucks!) 

Once upon a time small girl’s daddy and I rocked shared parenting, and my we were smug about it. Check us out not having to split Christmases or argue over who’s turn it was to have birthdays. We spent most our free time together with all four kids, holidaying and sharing days out and birthdays.

Wow aren’t we mature we’d think.

We’d spend Christmases together all 6 of us,small girl’s daddy coming over first thing Christmas morning, having dinner then staying the night so he could have a festive glass or two.  Our unconventional, yet workable family unit served us well for a good few years.

Pride, as they say though, comes before a fall.

We fell.

Mr and Ms Smuggington are no more.

The point came where it just didn’t work anymore, there was way too much bickering and sniping and it all just stopped feeling nice. It’s a shame but it happened and the last few years have been very different.
Christmas is somewhat of a battleground now.

Who gets Christmas eve?

How do we share small girl’s time on Christmas day?

Can we agree not to make gift giving a competition?

Who gets to do panto?

What about New Year?

It’s an exhausting exercise in compromise and putting small girl first but oh it’s hard and stressful and fraught with resentment in all honesty.

Turns out I’m not great at sharing. As I always say, I dislike the term Shared Parenting (Co-parenting doesn’t feel right either!) We don’t ‘share’ small girl like she’s an object, we do though share her time. At Christmas time more than any other I have to rein in wanting to have it all.

All her time.

I want to do Christmas markets and ice skating and panto.

I want to do Christmas eve baking and crafting and I want to do our Christmas eve hamper.

I want to watch Christmas movies in brand new pj’s with hot chocolate on Christmas Eve with ALL my children.

I want to read small girl’s Christmas bedtime story.

I desperately want her to wake here Christmas day, to open presents before breakfast.

I want her at OUR table for Christmas dinner then to play with her new toys before all of us snuggling to watch Doctor Who before bed. ..

I’m sure daddy would like the same, he’s a brilliant daddy and that little girl of ours is very lucky. The elder 3 are stuck with just me!

However I know I can’t have it all. I know I have to give a little, I know small girl loves her time with her daddy as much as with us. It’s not easy though, doesn’t get any easier with time.

Grown up, mature ‘small girl’s needs come first’ me will make an appearance once Christmas negotiations kick in.

Responsible parent me will make compromises and sacrifices and tell herself it’s just one day.

Rational, semi sane me will bite her tongue and take deep breaths.

Then, when negotiations are done and plans are made I’ll pour myself a large glass of wine, swear a bit, maybe throw something and likely have a little cry.

It’s OK though because Christmas will be great. Small girl and indeed my elder 3 will all have a fun time. They always do.

Small girl is comfy, cosy and happy and settled at either house because (say through gritted teeth if necessary but. ..) shared parenting works for her.

She has different, fun traditions at each house. She does declare daddy’s Christmas dinner the best though which makes me want to serve roast daddy for Christmas dinner,  but she always enjoys her Christmas. She’s always happy and declares every year to be ‘the best Christmas ever!’ and really, grumpy mummy aside, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it??



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Me, Being Mummy

Burnished Chaos




47 thoughts on “Shared parenting at Christmas (sucks!) 

  1. You are amazing to have managed to do this. I’m sure she feels so comfortable at both homes because you managed to spend so much time together at first. I can’t imagine how hard all that negotiation is and not sure it makes it any easier but well done you. Clearly managing a really difficult situation very well! Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I couldn’t imagine sharing Piglet’s time on Christmas day….. or on any day! But as much as you’d like to serve roast Daddy sometimes it really does sound like you’re doing a great job of making it work #fortheloveofBLOG

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can see how hard it must be especially at this time of year. I’m sure that your children will have a fantastic Christmas. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x


  4. I’ve been quite lucky with shared parenting Christmas. The Boys dad is great, and he loves him to bits. But, he loves going out drinking with his mates at Christmas. So he has him when I want him to and lets me get all the fun stuff! Good luck this year, I hope you find a nice balance. #FamilyFun

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My cousin goes through this as she’s in the same shoes and all I can tell is that both you and she do a fantastic job, it must be so hard, I can’t even begin to imagine. Hope you’ll have a nice Christmas. #familyfunlinky

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I can’t even begin to imagine being in this situation but I have seen families where the resentment and fighting destroy Christmas for everyone involved. As hard as it is, it sounds like you’ve really made it work in the best possible way for your daughter and that’s amazing 😘
    Thank you for joining #FamilyFunLinky x


  7. I can imagine it is so hard to have to share at this time of year. But, you are an amazing Mum and are so good at focussing on what is best for your little one instead of what is best for you. That to me is the ultimate sacrifice in parenting and you make it on a regular basis. Admire you for it, I really do. Thank you for linking up with Honeybee Linky, see you for this week’s too I hope! xxx


  8. I love your honesty in this post, the reality of knowing what is right for her and putting that anger aside for her, yet wanting to serve up roast daddy, I do not blame you I would want to do the same! Clearly she is a blessed little girl who felt loved and safe and like you say that is what matters, but still it sucks! Mwah! #BlogCrush


  9. Thank you for sharing this. I’m on the opposite side and I assure you it is just as difficult, if not moreso, trying to spend time with my little girl on Christmas, birthdays etc.

    As the “non resident parent” I’m at the whim of the RP, if she doesn’t fancy agreeing, telling me, showing up, etc, I lose out, my daughter loses time with her father and there’s nothing I can do about it!

    As a kid we had Christmas with mum and Boxing day with dad and I hated it – no one could ever relax and enjoy the day. With my girl we’re trying to alternate annually, though the inevitable happens & it turns into a battle for time. We both want everything you stated, but it certainly isn’t a battle of the gifts – she gets what I can afford, plus my time, attention & some art & craft activities.

    I only wish more saw it as you do, put the kid first and acknowledge they need time to develop a strong relationship with both parents.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah that must be so tough , being completely at the whim of someone else. We alternate but thankfully our situation is stable enough that I can make plans for ‘my’ year but I can’t imagine knowing that that could be swept out from under you at any given minute must cause a lot of anxiety and stress .


  10. I know how it’s like to want to do everything Christmassy with the kids. As parents, we just want to make happy memories with our family. You’re right when you said that we need to compromise, sacrifice, etc. There really are some things that we cannot control. Still, we do our best to be happy with what we can do and with what we have. #BlogCrush

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It must be so hard for you both! I know I’d really struggle, when it comes to my boys I have terrible FOMO! I think your littlest is very lucky to have two parents that love her so much that it nearly breaks them to let her go and negotiate sharing her time. I hope you all have a lovely Christmas #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

  12. On the bright side, as long as he’s attentive, loving, and your daughter actually wants to spend time with you, you’ll have to be accepting and happy for their time together. In the end, her upbringing is more important than your need to have anything your way. I’m not in the same boat as you but I do have two sisters who have children from men that they are no longer with and have seen the compromise they have to do to share their children and give their children the opportunity to have a great life with people that love them. #Blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m so glad it works for your daughter. It sounds a real head – doer for you, but you must be doing it right or Christmas would not work as well as it does.
    Enjoy your red wine and try and have a moment to reflect.
    Happy Christmas

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It takes a lot of self-sacrifice and selflessness to raise a child who is happy in both homes – it sounds like you’re doing a great job. It must be especially hard at this time of year, though, and this post really tugged at my heart strings. Sending you virtual hugs (and wine!) #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

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