Holidays after divorce can be hard – especially for divorced moms facing Thanksgiving without their kids – but they don’t have to be all doom and gloom!
Thanksgiving is supposed to be the holiday when we give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. However, it can be hard to maintain an attitude of gratitude when one of the things you’re most thankful for – your children – are with their father during the Thanksgiving holiday.
But before you decide to cry into your turkey and pumpkin pie, here are six ways to keep yourself from going crazy with sadness this Thanksgiving alone.
6 Tips for Divorced Moms Facing Thanksgiving Without Their Kids
1. Join Friends
Hopefully, you’re not completely alone on Thanksgiving without your kids but if you are and have no family you’d like to celebrate with, call on your friends.
This can be awkward; who wants to ask to crash in on another family’s holiday table? Not many, but being alone on Thanksgiving is a heartbreak that no one should experience. Your friends won’t mind you asking to join them but WILL mind if you don’t ask and end up in a depressive stupor all weekend long.
If you’ll be with family for the meal but find going home to your quiet house discomforting, hit up your friends who will be desperate for a break from their families perhaps, and ask them to meet for drinks at the local bar or stop by their home for dessert. If you choose the latter option, bring wine. Everyone loves the “bringer of wine.”
2. This Shall Pass
This is simply a day. Not a lifetime.
It’s hard to remember that when you are sitting down at a table with family and feeling the big absence of your children, but it’s JUST a day. And remember that even though your children are not there, you can be thankful for having them and thankful that their other parent cares enough about them to want them for a holiday.
There are so many children missing a parent who is now absent due to divorce or other reasons. Try to find peace in knowing your children are very loved.
3. Enjoy the Junk
If you can’t be bothered by the first two suggestions, dive in for a “junk” day.
Junk TV, junk movies, trashy magazines, and lots of sweets. Your waistline won’t expand in a day and your diet can wait until tomorrow. If you’re alone, grab as much wine and turkey as possible (if you don’t have turkey, grill up a burger. Don’t worry – the pilgrims won’t roll in their graves) and invest in a day of Hulu, Netflix, and binge-watching television.
No matter what your flavor, NFL or the Real Housewives, indulge your bad feelings with some feel-good laziness, and an American pastime!
4. Go for Something Wild
If your family is absent and friends are too far away, why not take the holiday to go on a weekend getaway? Vegas anyone? Perhaps this night or weekend is the time you go for the fling with that younger man you’ve been flirting with for weeks. And hey – what happens during a solo Thanksgiving weekend is nobody’s business but your own!
If you don’t have the budget for extravagant weekend trips – and many divorced Moms don’t – why not rent a hotel room for one night and relax with a bubble bath and champagne, or that wine and TV combo I suggested earlier.
Maybe this is the day you take a road trip for the weekend. Maybe you go explore a local attraction you’ve never been to before. Whatever you decide, do something you’ve wanted to do for a long time, as long as it’s legal and affordable
If you find yourself completely distraught, perhaps it’s time to do some yoga or get yourself a pre-holiday massage to try and loosen up. Take a walk for some fresh brisk fall air. Take a morning jog. Do some downward dog. Read a book. Paint a picture. Enjoy some video games. Call a friend.
Use any and all tools that you used to get through the divorce. For some people, it’s retreating from others. For others, it’s connecting with a friend. And still, for others, it’s getting outside and moving. Whatever it takes to keep you from starting the holiday season in a deep funk, do it!
Lastly, accepting how you feel and acknowledging those feelings are key to a happy holiday season after divorce. Remember to not compare yourself to other people. The holiday “festivities” you see on others’ social media pages aren’t necessarily as happy and bright as they look.
To further illustrate that life is not over now that you’re divorced and sharing your kids during the holidays, remember what it was like to be unhappily married and sharing holidays together.
Wasn’t it fun arguing with your ex during the holidays? Didn’t you love seeing your nasty in-laws that made your life hell? Didn’t you enjoy feeling incredibly alone while coupled and married with little to be thankful for?
No, no, and no!
You may feel sad over not being with your children but you can also be thankful that you have a new life, a fresh start, and the opportunity to love again and show your kids proof of a healthy relationship.
This article originally appeared on DivorcedMoms.com.