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.
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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