Even with all the joy they bring, the holidays can be busy and stressful for everyone--especially those in co-parenting relationships. For co-parents, the challenges of child custody and parenting can make the holidays that much more stressful. The holiday season will force you to iron out all the details of navigating household schedules, extended family expectations, and compromising time between each parent.
No matter how stressful it gets, your family deserves to be surrounded by people who cherish and love them. Here are some of the best ways to deal with the holiday season with your co-parent.
When it comes to what you want over the holidays, you probably won’t get everything--but opening up to being flexible will benefit everyone and set an excellent example for the child. A great example of this would be if you and your co-parent celebrate different holidays-- such as Hanukkah and Christmas.
You need to accept that the kid might be with your co-parent even during “your” scheduled time--or that your time could be set short due to the timeshare during the holiday season. There are many factors to consider over the holidays, and the whole experience will be more enjoyable if you and your co-parent are flexible.
Make A Holiday Plan
So the holidays are here, which means you should have a holiday schedule set. You should plan out where the kid will be for each holiday--whether that be Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, or another holiday. You should be aware that the plan may change when you or your co-parent moves or the child gets older. Staying flexible and making a plan will help reduce stress about the schedule.
A Holiday plan should also include how you will buy gifts for the child, together or separate? If it’s a large gift, buying together with your co-parent could be an excellent experience for the child. If you choose to purchase separately, you should coordinate together who is buying what.
Accept the Situation
This is one of the most important tips because raising a child as a co-parent means that the child is going back and forth between homes during the holidays. This constant movement can put a stress-strain on the child, something that you can’t wave a magic wand to fix. The best thing you can do in this holiday predicament is to accept that the child might be going through a tough time and emotionally supporting them.
If you and your co-parent live in different cities, it may be a good idea to find some sort of shared living situation to relieve some of this stress. This could mean staying in a guest room at your co-parent’s house--or even just getting a hotel room as close as possible can help make the holidays more fun and seamless experience.
Start New Traditions and Honor the Old Ones
Whether you’ve chosen to co-parent or co-parenting is a result of a divorce, the holidays are a time to honor the traditions that have taken place, as well as make time to create new memories. A way to honor family traditions could be going through your mom’s cookie recipes or doing an annual movie day. Whether they are old or new traditions, focus on being together and making memories to look back on.
Review the Custody Agreement
A Custody Agreement, or co-parent agreement, is a plan that is a non-binding contract that outlines how a shared child will be raised. This agreement describes in detail guidelines, rules, expectations, and schedules related to the shared children and is confirmed by both parents’ signature.
A custody agreement should be reviewed around this time of year and any other holiday, including the child’s winter breaks, spring breaks, long weekends, Labor Day, etc. During this time, make adjustments as need and update all legal documents.
Finding a Co-Parent with Modamily
Parenting today looks different than years in the past. That traditional white picket fence family is no longer the societal norm.
Finding a co-parent could be an option for you on your parenting journey. Co-parenting is just a relationship in which two people decide to raise a child together and they’re not married. There must be communication, defined expectations, trust, and cooperation for a successful co-parenting experience.
Many people realize that there are other alternatives to marriage- such as surrogacy, known sperm donation, adoption, and co-parenting. The main difference between raising a child with a co-parent over a known donor is that a known donor is not a legal parent and not financially responsible for the child. Still, the child knows who their bio-parent is and has some kind of relationship to the family and child that can grow over time. It’s up to you to find the type of parenting that is right for you and your child.
Non-traditional mobile websites, like Modamily, are growing in cities all over the world. Modamily has a worldwide database, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, and London. The use of online apps and websites to date and start families is becoming a societal norm and increasingly user-friendly to start and join today.
Modamily is your go-to network to meet those like-minded individuals who also dream of starting a family. See what Modamily can do for you, and find your co-parent today!