Christmas Experience for a newly Separated Couple with Children.
Today’s blog is a real life experience from a newly separated Mum with 3 young children. She shares her plans for how she and her ex intend to share the care fairly over the Christmas period. For the sake of anonymity the names have been changed.
“My husband and I separated in the summer, so this Christmas is our first where we will not be spending the festive period all together as a family. We now live separately and the children spend an equal time with each of us. The rota for the shared parenting is well established now although is flexible if work commitments dictate.
I was nervous about Christmas Day! Who was going to have the kids? Would I only see them every other year on Christmas day?
Fortunately my ex-husband and I are able to communicate in a fairly amicable way. We agreed that it would be good for the children to have Christmas day in his house as it is new to him and them and it would make it more like home for them there. I agreed to let him have them over night on Christmas Eve so they wake up to their stockings at his house. But, as the children want to see me too, I am going over for lunch and to do presents as a family.
So in order that both sets of grandparents get to see the children as well, we have agreed the following arrangements:
Christmas Eve: I have kids for my family do, then take them to John’s in the evening.
Christmas Day: John has kids, I go for lunch and stay a while.
Boxing Day: John takes kids to his family do and then drops them back in the evening to me.
Another reason I am so glad that I can communicate with my ex! We are doing presents from both of us just as we always have. One thing we did not want to do was get into a competition over presents as we have seen this happen with other separated parents. Each of them trying to buy the biggest and best present in an attempt to win the kids over.
We have a shared online calendar and spreadsheet so we can add in all the arrangements and money we have each spent on gifts etc.
I am a little sad that I won’t see the kids first thing in the morning when they open their stockings but they won’t open their main presents from us until I get there. Next year we will reverse the arrangement. I feel very glad that John and I are able to put our difficulties aside and focus on the children and what they need.”
How can mediation help?
Sadly not all separated couples are able to remain amicable and find it very difficult to communicate to make arrangements in general about the children, let alone agree on plans for Christmas time. Mediation between parents means that arguments over who has the kids at Christmas can be resolved in a calm way on neutral territory with an experienced listening ear. There may be ways to work things out that neither parent had thought of.
If you would like to find out more about how we can help separated parents with Mediation, call Frances on 0117 924 3880.