Tag Archives: Christmas

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 years and though I won’t this year 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 or dissecting the Christmas Doctor Who special (especially that one) 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


My Facebook page is here if you fancy

Rhyming with Wine

JakiJellz

Not Just the 3 of Us

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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


My Facebook page is here

<a href=”https://www.letters-tomydaughter.co.uk&#8221; title=”Letters to my Daughter”><img src=”https://static.wixstatic.com/media/367297_99b1ec47d78b47edaa38ff85d77e708e~mv2.png/v1/fill/w_253,h_253,al_c,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01/367297_99b1ec47d78b47edaa38ff85d77e708e~mv2.png&#8221; alt=”Letters to my Daughter” style=”border: none;” /></a>

JakiJellz

Not Just the 3 of Us

Rhyming with Wine

The highs and lows of festive singledom .. 

Christmas is a couply time .There is no getting away from it.It’s rammed down our throats in advertisments from October! Couples strolling hand in hand in the snow in matching knitwear.Then post Christmas ..we have show off present period.Everyone showing off all the lovely presents their other half have gotten them!!I’m not totally jealous by the whole thing,well a tiny bit….maybe!!

I’ve been part of a couple at Christmas and it was never a shiny happy smiley time, all thoughtful gifts and kissing under the mistletoe. So rather than weeping into the mulled wine, I thought I’d weigh up the ups and downs!

 

Low: No thoughtful gift from someone who adores you and knows you really well

High:No need to fake joy over a gift voucher ..or similar thoughtless gift!

I love gift buying and gift wrapping and all that goes with it at Christmas, nothing makes me happier than finding something I know someone will love. I’m not an easy person to ‘get’ though so when I receive a gift that makes me feel like that person knows me well it makes me giddy!!
 

Low: No sentimental Christmas card, with a loving message and gorgeously thought through words.

High: I don’t have to take huge offense when he writes out a card in front of me out of a pack that he’s just written one to Great Aunt Dot out of! It’s probably signed ‘from  Steve’

I’ve a bit of a thing for cards! Would rather have a nice card than a gift anytime! I do still send Christmas cards (I know I’m so old fashioned! What a loser!)

 

Low: Having to do Christmas couply activities alone !

High: I can sometimes persuade the children to accompany me!!

Christmas Markets, particularly the Manchester one are romantic (In my head).You see the couples giggling over a mulled wine and walking hand in hand with their hot chocolates. Me, I drag the 9 year old along and she’s fabulous company. I only feel a tiny bit jealous of the ones sneaking a snog!!!

 

Low: Once the little ones are in bed I find myself sat in alone over the Christmas period.

High: Once the little people are in bed I can put on my Pjs , get under a duvet with a bottle of wine, copious Christmas chocolates and put on The Holiday…again!

I suppose if I were in a relationship I could allow someone under the duvet to share the wine and chocolate!!That could work.Just as long as they didn’t try to ditch The Holiday for  a boy movie

 

Low: I spend a week alone when the little people go to grandmas

High: I have a week to finish the Christmas chocolate , watch rubbish TV and get to go home to visit my sister

I get so sulky when the little people leave me just after Christmas to go to another one at Grandmas over New Year. That’s precisely the time I do dwell about not being in a relationship. However I usually do squeeze in a visit home to my sister and niece and nephews during this period and I’m a big believer in home being where the heart is! 

Low: Our Christmases are relatively low key. Just the children and I

High: You don’t have to put up with other people’s annoying relatives. 

You know the type judgemental Aunt Mary, racist uncle Bob, inappropriate cousin Mike and you can’t even get drunk to take the edge off as you have to try and make a good impression!! 

I think all in all I’m quite content as I am just me! I’m super aware though that this is because my previous relationships have been so dire I do romanticise how the next one is going to be!! Maybe next Christmas should Mr Right , his thoughtful cards and gifts and his love of the Christmas Market have swept in it will be a whole other story!!

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Christmas ads fib!

I love a soppy Christmas advert, I do. They make me feel emotional and nostalgic and warm and fuzzy inside. You can’t beat them to make you really feel festive . They make me feel something else though too.. a bit of a failure. Our Christmases don’t look like the ones on the ads, I feel guilty about our non advert perfect Christmas.

Then I get a grip. It’s all fibs to fool you into buying stuff!! I’ve thought about the perfect Christmas scenes the ads sell us and how my more real scene unfolds at home!

 

Christmas ad scene :
Perfectly wrapped colour coordinated gifts under an exquisitely decorated tree. I’m always so jealous of the trees.

 

Real scene:
I’m a good gift wrapper. I love it, luxury paper, ribbons, bows, sprigs of holly (too far I know). That only extends as far as grown up gifts though. Kids gifts are usually wrapped in £1 a roll Asda special paper. The tree?? Oh my!! I let littlest girl decorate the tree so it’s now become her thing. She’s so giddy and enthusiastic about it and the tree always looks… interesting.

 

Ad scene :
Gorgeously dressed table, glistening turkey, perfectly cooked vegetables, mountains of food.

 

Real scene :
I do a good line in table dressing. I can compete with an M&S ad, no problem.

It. Ends. There.

Lovely food on the table, candles, place names it’s all there. Then I take my seat at the table. There’s a call of “where’s the pigs in blankets?”

I can’t even say ‘shit!’ silently in my head what with it being Christmas so I rescue the pork products from the oven JUST before they burn and return to the table. I should confess here that dinner is always at least an hour later than I say it’ll be. It’s become a tradition.

Soooo.. dinner late, close call with the pigs in blankets but it’s OK. We’re still on for ad perfect Christmas dinner. Let’s pull the crackers.

Chaos ensues – cracker pulling elbows knock over drinks. I still can’t say ‘shit!’ silently in my head what with it being Christmas. I chirp ‘It’s fine’ clean up mess and yet again return to the table.
“mummy my gravy tastes of lemonade”
For jingle bellsy  ho ho ho sakes!!

 

Ad scene:                                                                                                                                         Huge family Christmas
Loads of kids, mum and dad, aunts and uncles, grandparents. Everyone smiling and dozing and having fun.

 

Real Scene :                                                                                                                                        Loads of kids, that I can do.
 Other than the kids though, there’s just me! Lots of smiles though… well until the early start and excitement catches up with everyone and there’s a bickerfest around 5ish!

 

Ad scene :
The bit at the end where mum sits on the sofa, sighs a huge sigh and curls up with a much deserved glass of wine.

 

Real scene :
There’s a brief sit down post dinner before tackling the washing up. Glass of wine that was poured with lunch remains largely untouched but slurps are stolen as operation clean up begins. Then time to prepare supper buffet. Doctor Who is sit down time though. That’s the rules.

 

So our Christmas isn’t ad picture perfect.

 

Our tree decs are wonky. Dinner will almost certainly be late and missing a vital ingredient. There are only the kids and I and no rest until Doctor Who. You know what though?? That’s our perfectly, unperfect Christmas.

I love it.

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