With the holidays approaching, I am reminded of the wise words of a coaching client who said, “My girls are my audience.” Because your kids are watching to see how you handle yourself, it is even more important to show them your composure. Doing so will give them immense relief at this stressful time.
Whether you are considering divorce, going through your divorce, or are complete with the process, your kids are your audience.
What your children want from you is your ability to stay calm and connected with them. Your presence of calm can be overturned by stress from legal matters, negotiations, animosity and maybe even bullying by your ex. While this may make it seem impossible to be cool with your kids, you can use the tools below and show them you’ve got this!
The Holidays are Coming: How Do You Want to Show Up for Your Kids?
Since your children are your audience, it’s up to you to set the stage. In order to show up as your best for your kids during the holidays, consider the following questions:
What keeps you in alignment with your best self?
You know when you feel “on” and you know when you feel “off.” Take a look at areas of your life that support you being your best self. Sleep, high-quality nutrition, exercise, self-reflection, and mindfulness practices are some ways to take great care of yourself. Pick three items from this list, and commit to adding them to your daily routine.
To get better sleep, it’s important to steer clear of your electronic devices at night. Do your best to retire to bed and wake up at the same times each day – even if you don’t feel like it. This routine will get your body into a healthy sleep rhythm.
What’s on the end of your fork will sustain you throughout the day. Rather than stick your hand in a bag or box of processed, often addictive “food-like” substances, put some consideration into how you are taking care of yourself at this stressful time. What if you add in more leafy greens? Can you munch on some fruit? What about drinking more water? Eat more healthful foods and you will gradually release your need for processed foods. What you eat will help you stay calm under stress.
Pick up a notebook and begin to journal your feelings. Write them down and let them go. Give yourself space on the page, or on your electronic device, to let your feelings out. After you have done that part, think about your desired outcome. How do you want to feel? What do you want to experience? Write an affirmation describing that scenario. Use the present tense, and write as if these things have already come to fruition for you.
What throws you off track?
For instance, checking your emails from your attorney or answering phone calls from your ex may cause you to spin out. If so, then setting time boundaries around when you engage in these tasks will support you in showing up for your kids in a relaxed and calm manner. You can manage your time so that your emotional turmoil has a private space.
Reading through old emails and texts, ruminating about what could have been, indulging in alcohol and other substances all contribute to derailing yourself. This is a really hard time for you. You need support. That support may come from a therapist, a divorce coach, or a trusted friend. Leaning on your kids is not a smart option. Check-in with yourself and see how you can best handle those inevitable crisis moments.
How can you reflect and grow forward?
Imagine it’s five years from now and you are looking back at this time. Picture your children’s faces in their best moments. How do you have to be in order for them to feel relaxed and happy? How would you tell a friend to handle the stress of their divorce? Dig deep for tools and role models that support you in rising to the challenge of being a source of calm composure to your kids.
In this context, concealing can be healing. You are not being insincere with your children. You are being a good parent. Showing your kids your strength under pressure and your neutrality toward their other parent is of tremendous value. You are showing your children priceless lessons they are witnessing firsthand from you. They will have a recollection and maybe even a resource in you, on how they can handle crisis and challenges in their adult lives. Being composed this holiday season is the best gift you can give your kids!