How do you deal with separation and the “Ex” Family during the holidays?

Well if you’re like me that’s a tough question to answer.  I get pulled in so many different directions at the holidays already why not add a few more right?  I have two daughters from two separate marriages, one from each marriage.  My second Ex (we’ll start there because it is the less complicated) it is all cut and dried.  We had a vicious divorce where the only thing we fought over was custody but once that got settled everything is right there in black and white and there is no deviating from the plan.  And that works for us.  We have a very strained but (now) stable relationship and we just go by what is laid out in writing and sometimes it hurts to be without my baby girl during the holidays but I know sometimes it hurts him to be without her during the holidays too. I have never once doubted his love for her.  He fought to keep her so desperately and you can look at them together and tell she is the center of his world.  It’s not only that though it’s the way he talks about her, the way he says her name even if he is angry, the way he says HER name, you can’t help but realize he would go to any depths for that little girl. And knowing that, it’s hard not to realize I have to share her time with him, even if it means missing quality holiday time. Even if it means, waking up ever other Christmas morning without her here.  I know she has people up there (he lives 2 hrs away) that love her as close as you can get to as much as I do.

Now for my first Ex…well that’s entirely a different story.  He is constantly putting my oldest (she’s 10) little girl on the back burner for something he feels is more important.  Sometimes he doesn’t even get her on his weekend. And when holidays do roll around (any holiday) most of the time if it’s his turn he opts to let her stay with me stating something like “well we’re not doing anything fun, she’ll have more fun with you.” Or “I’m going to be working, she’d just have to stay with mom so she should just stay with you.” (She stays with his mom every Saturday that she is up there while he works.  He didn’t get her last Christmas and he told me last weekend he wasn’t planning on getting her this Christmas either, which brings me to the point of this story.  How do you deal with your EX family at Christmas.  Well I didn’t do a very good job of it yesterday.  While we were letting my youngest open her presents early Christmas eve morning (because she was leaving for her daddy’s soon) my oldest’s memaw called me and started yelling at me because she had told her daddy earlier that morning she didn’t want to come up there. (A conversation I was not aware of).  So I very bluntly reminded her that it was her son who originally said he wasn’t going to get her for Christmas to begin with and so we had made plans with our family.  She began yelling at me calling me a liar (among other things).  I can handle being called just about anything you throw at me EXCEPT a LIAR.  And I began yelling back and defending myself.  My whole family stopped what they were doing.  I even went into another room, but MY mother and sister followed me because I was so upset.  I argued with her for a few minutes til I could see there was no point to arguing and then I hung up on her.  Such rude behavior.  I hate hanging up on someone.  I think it is so rude.  My mother begged me to not let it ruin my Christmas and I went back in the main room and put on a happy face and resumed the opening of presents but I dwelled on it all day and it ate at me.  Then later that night Bug was talking to her memaw and she was in her room but she had her on speaker phone.  I walked into the hallway to hear because it sounded like bug was getting a little upset.  Her memaw was bad mouthing me to her.  Saying I had said things bad about her daddy that I had never said and bug didn’t know what to say to that. And she was talking about maybe bug could come up this next weekend “if I would let her”.  It’s her daddy’s weekend.  I would NEVER take that away.  I have always left that up to bug whether or not she wanted to go.  So when they got off the phone I sat down and had a talk with bug.  I explained to her that her memaw doesn’t like me very well and I explained to her why.  (Bug has always been wise beyond her years).  I told her that her memaw is going to continue to say bad things like that about me and try to make me look bad but that if she knew the truth she had to believe that and not let what they say effect her.  I explained to her that if she wants to go to her daddy’s it is always her decision to make not mine and NOT theirs. And when she makes that decision to not let them guilt trip her or make her feel bad to the point that they talk her into changing her mind (they play on her emotions big time).  So I could have handled this situation better. First of all I shouldn’t be dealing with his moma, I should be dealing with him (Bug’s Father).  And secondly, I know its hard when she pushes my buttons, but that’s exactly what she’s trying to do and I shouldn’t let her do it. Ultimately it is always Bug’s decision whether or not she goes to her daddy’s and that’s what I should be defending, not how ridiculously uncaring and callous he is.

So the best way to deal with the EX family’s at Christmas time, with patience and a grain of salt.  When that doesn’t work remember you can only argue with a brick wall so long.  And why waste your breath on something that is never going to budge.  You have so many more HAPPY things you could be spending your time and energy on.  When the kids have to be apart from you for the holidays it’s hard.  I miss my girls when they are gone more than anything.  It’s not the same without them here.  I don’t even feel like celebrating if they aren’t here.  But try to remember the true meaning of this season.  It is the season of giving and of sharing.  In some cases there are TWO parents who love their child very much and it’s only fair that they both get to show it and share their time.  In the other cases where it seems like a “when its convenient for them” situation, well we must still do what we can to make sure we’ve done our part to build that relationship so that in the end whether it works out or not, we can say with a clean conscience we did our best.  As far as the in-laws, my suggestion, if you can’t deal with THEM without causing chaos well technically you don’t HAVE to deal with them, you only HAVE to deal with the parent.  So if it becomes too much stress, eliminate the stress from your life.  Just remember the holidays are a time for family and friends to be together and celebrate so try to keep that in mind, even if someone is making it difficult, we don’t have to sink to their level.  “An idiot will bring you down to his level and then beat you with experience.”   Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 🙂

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