Monthly Archives: December 2017

How to survive Christmas when it’s not ‘your turn’ with the kids

I like being a single parent.

I like that all the decisions are mine.

I like that we’re a solid little unit of 5.

I like that our family dynamic is so lovely an we all just fit.

I do not like sharing the kids time.

I especially do not like sharing the kids time over Christmas. There’s no two ways about it , it sucks. Hard.

It’s bad enough that most of the big retailers Christmas ads are full of images of that perfect family unit , I even as a content single parent feel put out that I and the kids don’t have that it’s sold to us so intensely.

Some parents Christmas’ don’t look like that. It’s not mummy and daddy looking over the children rushing downstairs to see if Santa has been before tucking in a huge dinner all together with extended family gathered for extra cheer.For some parents Christmas comes with a gut wrenching incompleteness. Some years it’s simply not your turn.

I’ve done ‘not my turn ‘ with small girl a couple of times now and I thought maybe I could share how you can possibly ease the awfulness even just a tiny bit.

1) Don’t feel obliged to join other people

When people find out you’ll be alone at Christmas they’ll likely invite you to join theirs (nice humans will anyway!) If you know being in someone elses Christmas will make you feel worse though , don’t do it. It’s hard to know how you’ll feel if it’s your first time.People you are close to though I am sure if you change your mind and cannot stand sitting home alone later in the day will greet you over .
Also though

2) Don’t be a misery martyr

If you do want to take up a lovely invitation from friends and family don’t say no for daft reasons such as – they’re only asking out of politeness or that you feel that you’re betraying your children in some way if you dare crack a smile without them. You sat crying into the Quality Street will benefit no one if your wishing you’d have just gone to your friends rather than take up emotional self flagellation as your new hobby.

3) Have an early (or late) Christmas Day

So Santa is a tricky one if you don’t have the kids the actual day the big guy comes but I’ve found the elves are pretty open to an email explaining the situation . They’re usually good to drop a little gift off on an alternative day , nothing so huge as to upstage Mr Claus but just something to open.

Then get your Delia on ,do your turkey ,pop on a silly paper hat and have your Christmas! I’m a silver linings kind of a girl so I’ll just say if you have ‘your’ Christmas after the 25th – half price turkeys!

4 ) Remember it’s just one day

I know this is hard. Almost impossible hard. It’s THE day ,the one everyone has been banging on about for months . Tomorrow is a new one though , as is next week and you can fill the little people’s festive period with so much fun stuff. Pantos generally go in into the New Year , festive events like Winterwonderland too go on after Christmas day itself.

5) Seek out #joinin on Twitter

Ok now this one has cheered me up out of my misery on a few festive occasions. Even on years all four children are around,once they’ve gone to bed on Christmas Day I can feel a little lonely. I’m someone who enjoys my own company all year round ,but I don’t know Christmas just seems to highlight my solo-ness. It’s probably the one time I lament the absence of another adult person on my sofa.

The amazing Sarah Millican began #joinin for anyone alone on Christmas who doesn’t want to be. She explains it better here , have a read. I can vouch for it as a perker upper though. I’ll be there on and off throughout the day as really I’m often surplus to requirements once presents are done and dinner is eaten!!!

I’m @daydreamer_mum on Twitter so should you fancy slating annoying relatives , chatting about eating your own body weight in chocolate , discussing the Christmas TV or just fancy a chat over Christmas if you’re lonely tweet me . Social media has its low points but surely over Christmas we can make it a force for good.

Nothing I can say can make Christmas without the kids any less shit. I so wish it could. Take very good care of yourself if it’s not your turn this year. Remember it’s just a few days and there’ll be a gang of cool kids on Twitter around for chat!!

Xxxxx

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3 tips to help ease anxiety at Christmas…

Christmas can be a fabulous time of year , in fact Christmas can be the best time of year. It can also be absolutely ram packed full of stress and anxiety triggers and noise and mess and chaos and worst of all…..

All.The.People.

Now I’ve been an anxious mess for knocking on for a decade now . Though thankfully anxiety is a rare visitor these days – in the same way you don’t see great uncle Bob all year round ’till he turns up at your front door ,half cut, on Christmas eve the same goes for anxiety for me.

I know everyone’s experiences of anxiety are different and I can only talk about mine but I have learnt a few tricks over the years to lessen it’s grip slightly over Christmas.

1) Don’t over commit
There are so many social events around Christmas time from the works night out to the catch up with the friend you mean to see all year to family get togethers. 

However saying yes (often for THE FEAR of saying no) to 3 parties a week when you know social anxiety is upon you is never going to end well. There’s little more stressful than knowing you’re going to cancel on people and then having to spend the whole day psyching yourself up enough to actually do it.

So choose the events you really want to go to and ditch the ones that you feel obliged to.

2) Give someone you trust a heads up.

Helpful if either you’re having people over for Christmas or if you’re going to someone elses where there are going to be a fair few people and you know you might at some point need a bit of a time out . That you might need to remove yourself from noise and over stimulation (and those damn people again) tell your partner or friend or aunt or mother in law. Let them know beforehand that this could be the case. 
You could even use a code phrase , you know if the rest of the family have you down as a solid individual living the shit out of life and you don’t want to blow your superhero ‘anxiety girl’ cover.

If you’re at your own house it’s possibly easier to slope off for 10 mins calm but if you’re at someone elses just have a code phrase. “I just need to make a phone call ” ( people call each other up on Christmas day , it’s passable) could mean “I am just going to sit in your spare room for a bit and get my mind together ,please leave me be”

3) Seek out the company of children

This possibly could just be me but during an anxious period children are great to be around. Yes I know my previous words about over stimulation don’t fit what I’m saying but stay with me. Just joining in with kids at Christmas can be an almighty distraction technique. I personally find it hard to worry about whether I drain everyone and noone wants me there when I’ve a small person singing me When Santa got Stuck up the Chimney or telling me all about the toy of the year Santa brought them. 
Conflict is a huge anxiety trigger for me also so I’d rather join in with a group of kids debating who the best superhero is than listen to Great Uncle Bob (yes him again ) being a racist , sexist bigot. He’s basically The Daily Mail in human form and causes you palpitations just listening to him rant.

For the record : I don’t have a Great Uncle Bob…we’ve all met this guy though right? 

I hope these tips can help even if just a little bit. Christmas can actually be a lovely time for those of us who struggle to feel cherished and worthwhile as people because most people are at their loveliest and kindest at Christmas and freer with their encouraging words (it’s probably the Bailey’s) 

I hope your Christmas is filled with as much social interaction as you can handle and that get as much physical affection as you can cope with/crave!!
Xxx


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JakiJellz

Not Just the 3 of Us

Rhyming with Wine