to be a bit worried about Christmas, and wondering if people can give a bit of advice.(20 Posts)
I am so lucky. I have three wonderful children who mean the world to me. I have a house, I have a job. I have a crazy little dog, a sweet rabbit and a cat who like to sit on my lap during the evening. But as Christmas approaches, my mind keeps focusing on what I don't have.
I don't have my dad anymore. Christmas doesn't feel like Christmas without being at my parents with him in a silly jumper and making jokes. Mum and I barely talk anymore (toxic relationship, long backstory that people who "know" me here are aware of) and anyway she is off away for Christmas so won't be here. My sister lives away so I won't see any family at all. Of course I know my DCs are my family. I am looking forward to being with them all day. It just feels wrong though.
I also got divorced in February, so no DH. It's just going to be us, and me thinking about previous Christmases. And how different this will be. No partner, no friends will come as they all have "proper families", and no extended family. I'm worried. I don't want to spoil Christmas for my DCs by focusing on what is missing.
And it isn't a random worry - my older two DCs (10 and 9), well I was married to their dad, and the first Christmas after we divorced I ended up having to take them with me up to A and E Christmas morning as I had become so upset I ended up harming myself. I am so so scared that the same will happen again.
AIBU to be so worried about what is "just a day"? Any advice on how to survive the emotional minefield to ensure my DCs have the magical day that they really truly deserve?
I guess it doesn't matter if I am being unreasonable or not, it is how I feel.... I see a counselor very regularly and will take this up with him too.
I know probably a lot of people would jump at the chance not to be involved in complex family dynamics, and spending time with "not so dear" family members. Actually though, I would love that. But there isn't anyone else. It's just me and my three, and I am so worried.
And I know I am lucky, that's why I started the post how I did. It is just hard to get things into perspective.
I have a bit of a complicated family set up like you, and one year I decided to just have Christmas by myself. Awful mistake. I spent most of the day crying and spiralled into a depression not long after that.
It did make me realise though, that things could be a lot worse - what if I had to have Christmas like that every year, NOT through choice, like some people. I don't have my own children yet, but Christmas just seems so much easier with children around, so I spend Christmas day with children (and their families) I have nannied for. I love Christmas now.
You have realised that Christmas is a trigger time for you, and I'm sorry to hear about your dad and your divorce. But absolutely raise this with your counsellor and try to come up with a 'just in case' plan. Have the Samaritans number to hand, have things that make you happy around. Tell friends you'd like to be contacted that day if that would make you feel better.
I think you might need to reinvent christmas abit. Could you invent some new custom or tradition to this year's festivities? A onesie party on xmas eve, silly board games at a decided time, a different breakfast - perhaps ask the dcs for ideas. Do you think that would help?
That is all really hard for you. I know what you mean about finding it hard not to remember Christmases in better times - I miss my dad too.
I don't really have much advice except to maybe stop putting pressure on yourself. Christmas often manages to be magical for children because they believe in all the 'magic' and they are so excited. You talk about Christmas with your dad and his jumpers. Not the amazing presents, the fabulous food or the beautiful John Lewis moments.
You have four people in a room who love each other. You will have a lovely day even if it's watching a Christmas DVD and cuddling on the sofa.
Could you ask them what they want to do? My DD rather randomly likes to be in charge of decorating the table and gravy
Big hugs waves, its so tough when all the adverts and everything are really ramming home the huge family, 2.4 children ideal.
I agree with Red, can you do things abit differently, maybe prep everything the night before and have a breakfast picnic with the kids and open stockings then.
Drive to the seaside and enjoy a mad morning on the beach (obviously if you are not hours away). Go for a magical winter walk with the dog and then have luxury hot chocolate and cream when you get back.
We also always love PJ's on and either a Christmas film (with more chocs) and a board game suitable for all.
Even if you fancy a drink I would probably say avoid, I know when I'm in a fairly depressed mood to start with, having a glass of wine makes it spiral out of control.
Again, hugs to you and your amazing family.
Are there any friends you could meet up with in the afternoon for a walk or a trip to the playground?
I agree that you should 'reinvent' your Christmas and start some new traditions that will belong to you and your dc.
I agree with reinventing Christmas too.
Ask your DC for a suggestion each so you make a new family christmas.
I agree with those saying 'reinvent' Christmas a bit. Why don't you sit down with your DC's soon and ask them what that would like to do on Christmas Day and make a plan together. It will give you something to focus on and I bet they come up with some really good ideas.
Have you thought about looking in your area for anything that might be going on in your area for people in your own position. I say this because for many years I volunteered to help on Xmas day. Homeless people etc.
Before some of you roll your eyes, it's the best fun that most people will have on that day ( that includes me)
Perhaps you could timetable Christmas so that there aren't so many hours of sitting and thinking?
What sort of things do your children enjoy doing?
You say it feels wrong, but actually you will be with the people who love you best in the world, won't you? Who would you rather be with than your children?
It's just me and my kids Christmas, defiantly agree with others about reinventing traditions. I've totally thrown out all the need for everything to be perfect. We get up early cos DS does anyway, they are allowed to eat chocolate and all the other crap from stockings in morning, we probably stay in our pj's, play some board games, dinner is like usual roast but with turkey.
Oh and I completely avoid Facebook over xmas period.
I would take the chance to do something new - go to the beach, go for a long walk, don't get dressed til dinner time...whatever floats your boat
I agree, reinvent it and make new traditions for you and your children. I always struggle with Christmas (I think a lot of people do) but I'm dreading it this year for various reasons, but will do the best I can. Take care.
Hi wavesandsmiles I am so sorry to hear about your situation, of losing your dad and your divorce. But I can also see you have a lovely family, great kids and pets. I love animals too and they really add to the family.
I think nannynoss, redexpat and * Pagwatch* have given such great advice.
Take the pressure off, find the fun in simple new things.
Maybe your kids would love to do some new things, enjoy the new and find some things you would like as well as them, maybe things you have done before or maybe new.
Have people you can call if you need.
Have fun things planned but be ready to just relax and let the kids enjoy the day.
Plan simple, tasty, not too difficult to prepare food, My kids love the prepared mash that supermarkets do (much more than my own), they adore pasta, and there are masses of things they like, as well as things we adults like, which would be great to eat (just not traditional Christmas food!). We have a dear friend visiting for Christmas, she is a single lady. She would have loved to have married and had a family, and at times I wondered if her being around us might be hard for her but actually she says being a part of our family by extension is really good for her. She won't be doing a great deal of stuff as she has been unwell, so she might be lying down for part of the day! But she will be with us for as much of the day as she wants and I think we will be very simple about not doing too much.
Good luck with your day, I really hope it will be good, peaceful and fun for all of you. Just remember it is just one day, and how ever it goes, afterwards life can go on and can get better and better for you all.
Oh lots of people posted since I last read the thread (lunch in the middle!).
I agree with Fingeronthebutton that sometimes helping others on Christmas day can be just the right thing to do, though personally have not done it but a church I was part of once did it and it was great. I had my mum to think of every year for last few years and it did not feel right to exclude her. Now she is being looked after at Christmas and we have a new house guest for Christmas who I feel will welcome the attention she gets.
I guess what I am saying it is wonderful to help others and there may also be family and friends close by who need help too.
For you, wavesandsmiles I would just be careful not to tie yourself into something that will leave you feeling exhausted. Make your number one priority keeping yourself safe and happy and the kids will follow (assuming there is some good stuf for them). So plan in advance for your prezzies, some nice food, some fun TV or screen time (if they are anything like my 10 and 4 year olds!) and for your kids, the most important thing of all ....quality time with the most important person in the world to them... YOU!
Agree with all the advice about reinventing your Christmas. Do things that don't focus on what is missing from the day but what has been added to it. So consider eating out if that's affordable, taking the crazy dog for a long walk, luxuriating in front of the TV with delicious things to eat and just spending happy time with your dcs. Forget (difficult I know but try) what's gone before and concentrate on the optimistic stuff you are doing now.
PS OP I lost my dear dad 10 years ago. We eat chestnut stuffing and picked walnuts to remember him! we only do it once a year. It makes me smile, he spent AGES making the chestnut stuffing from raw chestnuts! We cheat and use prepared chestnuts or even ready made stuffing from the shop. Only do what will add to your day, perhaps remember him the day before or even the week before by looking at home nice photos, so you will be ready for the actual day focused on the here and now.
some not home nice photos!
pickled walnuts not piked...
They are not this expensive normally!
Thank you all for your suggestions - and for not telling me I was being completely pathetic and that I should just be grateful for what I have.
Hoping the weather will be nice as a run around with crazy dog and the DCs on the beach (wellies, hats, gloves and scarves) would be a brilliant "new tradition" to create for our family. And I will certainly ignore facebook for a few days. I will let DS1 and DD choose a film that we can watch together, and we will plan our Christmas food together too. I raised the issue of food with them last night and they seem to think that homemade pizza and ice cream sundaes are the way to go
I'm not sure that volunteering to help others will be too practical this year - DS2 is only 17 months - but it is definitely an idea for the future.
Once again, thank you
I'd love to go to the beach on Xmas morning, sounds great. And then a day of slobbing out in pjs, no pressure, nobody's ideals to live upto; no compromises. Top Christmas
If the DC want pizza & ice cream, then go for it!
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