Co-parenting should be seamless. There are kids involved, after all. As parents, we should be able to put our feelings of resentment, sadness, and sometimes puro odio aside for the sake of the children. But, what happens when your now insignificant other and his familia make your life a living inferno? Unfortunately, you can’t detach yourself all together; you have to suck it up, especially during the holidays.
Ah yes, the holiday season is upon us! Only instead of singing fa la la la la, you’re insufferable ex has you roasting old pics on an open fire. There are better ways to cope. Here’s how to survive the holidays if your ex and his family are full of venom — or just straight up crazy.
Create a fail-proof drop-off/pick up schedule.
Arrangements can get dicier during the holidays, which is why you should both agree on a time and a place for drop off and pick up. You should also agree on where your child spends every holiday beforehand. (If you have a legal custody agreement, it should have already been decided.) Where you pick up and drop off your child depends on the magnitude of hostility and drama. Just try not to budge from the set arrangement and don’t make your interaction worse than it has to be. FYI: your front porch is a good place for pick up/drop up as is a neutral family friend’s or member’s home — not your local 7-11!
Easier said than done, I know, but often times a miserable ex pokes and prods just to bring you misery. The more you feed into an ex’ manipulation and attacks, the more that ex will continue his or her ploy of holiday spirit destruction. You know, like The Grinch who stole Navidad. So, controlate. Remember that his or her opinion of you does not matter anymore. Stop giving in and giving away your power. And, as the greatest FLOTUS of all time said, “when they go low, we go high.” So rise like the phoenix, mama!
Thanks to technology you can text your ex and his family rather than seeing their smug faces. Also, texting keeps a record of communication. So, if your ex, ex mother-in-law, or ex sister-in-law goes ballistic over text, you have proof and can do with it as you wish.
That amazing do not disturb.
Your ex and his momma keep texting? Hit the Do Not Disturb button under their number in your address book. Their messages will still go through, you just won’t receive the notifications. And again, you have all the proof you need if their texts get extra nasty and scary, and you have to take legal action.
Ask for help.
Take a look at your ex’ family dynamics and the members of his or her family. Is there anyone that can help you resolve your issues this holiday season? Maybe you grew close to a cousin that can serve as a mediator. Or perhaps your ex’ mother loves her grandchild so much that she is willing to communicate and compromise, and is open to mending fences. Another option is attending family counseling. You can do so with a therapist or, if you and/or your ex are religious, speak to a priest or pastor. Whatever you do don’t ignore what is happening. Push your pride aside, fuck el que diran, and ask for help.
If all else fails, remind your ex and his familia what is important — your kid(s). A toxic family dynamic harms a child regardless of whether parents are separated or divorced. That negative energy lingers. It stifles love and acceptance. It permeates the air and hurts everyone involved. So, think of the sweet and innocent human you created with your ex. Find a common ground this holiday season. And, yes, be the bigger person.