This Thanksgiving I will serve turkey and all the trimmings. It is going to be a Martha Stewart holiday complete with the perfect table setting. A centerpiece of pumpkins and shellacked gourds surrounded by smiling family members sharing gratitude for family, friends, and life in general.
The only problem is, while I’m baking the turkey I’ll be stewing a pot of anger inside. Recent news of my ex has left me feeling less than kind toward him. And what I wouldn’t give to be able to spew forth a bit of venom while stewing in that pot of anger. Let’s face facts: it isn’t easy having an ex who is a turkey!
I’ll bite my tongue though because my sons don’t deserve the spilling forth and putting into words the ill will I feel toward their father. Let’s be honest: on Thanksgiving (or any other day, for that matter), who wants to listen to my post-divorce drama?
I won’t allow the lid off that pot of anger because to do so would only put me in the same league as my sons’ father. So, instead of heaping more pain and hurt onto them, I’ll spoon heaps of mashed potatoes onto their plates and smile, smile, smile.
Knowing the conflict that can take place between divorcing couples, I know I’m not the only one who will be biting their tongue at the Thanksgiving table this year.
4 Tips for Surviving Thanksgiving if Your Ex Is a Turkey
If you, like me, will be stewing in anger while baking your turkey, here are a few tips for surviving thanksgiving with a turkey of an ex-spouse. They won’t help you deal with your anger, but they will help you keep your anger from spoiling your child’s Thanksgiving.
- When your child comes home from Thanksgiving dinner with his Dad talking about all the new man toys Dad has acquired, smile at your child and say, “That is nice, I’m happy for your Dad.”
- When your child tells you that Dad can’t afford a turkey for Thanksgiving because he “has to pay child support,” smile at your child and say, “That’s too bad, I hope your Dad was able to have a Happy Thanksgiving anyway.” Keep any hint of the satisfaction you feel from showing on your face!
- When your child comes home and tells you how great a cook their Dad’s new girlfriend is, smile at your child and say, “That is nice dear, I’m glad you enjoyed your Thanksgiving dinner.”
- When your child tells you how great the pecan pie was at Dad’s but he wasn’t allowed to bring a slice home because, “Your mom might eat it,” smile and say, “That’s OK, I will make you a pecan pie.” Be especially careful that your child does not see the smoke rising from your ears!
Some parents are irrational, unreasonable, and unable to keep their children out of the middle of the conflict they have with their co-parent. They don’t limit their bad behavior to the holidays – although the holidays do tend to bring out the worst in them. With some ex-spouses, the opportunity to use a child to strike at their co-parent is an activity they engage in all year round. Let’s face it: some people are nasty, vindictive, and out for revenge at anyone’s expense and at any time – although they are usually good at hiding this part of their personality until after the wedding.
Your job as a good parent is not to allow it to hurt your child.