How To Co-Parent Like A Pro During The Holidays 

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Getting Divorced

“As a little girl, I always dreamed of getting married, starting a family, and becoming a stay-at-home mom to a boy and a girl. I fulfilled that dream by age 27. I was married to who I thought would be my life partner and I was, in fact, a stay-at-home mom to a boy and a girl.

What I never imagined was my ‘perfect’ timeline ending in me becoming a divorced mom of a two and three-year-old all before 30. In hindsight, with how terrible my pregnancies were, I probably should have guessed everything aside from two healthy beautiful kids would go downhill.

With my first born, my rainbow baby, I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum and her incredibly traumatic delivery left my pelvic permanently separated, what is known as pubic symphysis diastasis.

Then, just 13 months after my daughter I conceived my son, and his pregnancy was starting totally differently. I had no morning sickness so I was hoping for that beautiful pregnancy everyone talks about.

We got our positive test on February, 16, 2020. Little did I know that just one month later the entire world would shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

My son’s pregnancy was also high risk, but this time due to a rare condition known as cholestasis of pregnancy and the more common gestational diabetes. I was completely isolated. At the time, we had no information about Covid and pregnancy, so all I knew was that being high risk I had to do everything in my power to not get Covid.

My son’s delivery ended up being a failed induction and although I had the most incredible experience with my c-section compared to my vaginal delivery, we almost lost our son due to respiratory distress and lung collapse that stemmed from my cholestasis of pregnancy.

Co-Parenting Struggles

Moving forward, with my pregnancies in the past, I tried to focus on the brighter things ahead, but found myself in the middle of divorce during summer 2021. My divorce was finalized in February of 2022 and since then it has been a journey navigating coparenting, motherhood, and also starting my life completely over.

With the start of the holiday season it’s easy to feel sad about the missed holidays or family traditions because of divorce, but I’ve learned to not let the sadness overwhelm me, but to look at the bright side.

If anyone reading this is in a similar situation, maybe your pre-divorced holidays looked like a lot of fighting and arguing over where you were going to spend each holiday, whose family would have more time, and maybe you even spent more time in a car than you did actually spending time with family. I know I did.

We would leave one family before dinner and arrive late to the other family’s dinner only to eat cold food. It was miserable. I felt like a ping pong ball and I dreaded the thought of my children growing up experiencing holidays like this.

Prioritizing Joy

However, because of divorce, even though I miss one or two of the actual holidays, I know that on each holiday my kids get to enjoy each family to the fullest and that brings me so much joy. In regards to holiday traditions, I didn’t have my kids on Christmas eve or Christmas day last year so Santa came on the 23rd and we had the best time.

While divorce and co-parenting typically carry a negative connotation, as a co-parent it’s our job to flip the script. Co-parenting during the holidays can be positive for everyone because it allows each parent a mental break while the kids are with the other parent.

It also allows kids to spend quality time instead of being passed around the families like a hot potato. Kids who have two homes can also enjoy two visits from Santa.

Everything about your family life after divorce will be unconventional; it’s only fitting your traditions will be too. Holidays are just a day, the holiday spirit is all season long and when you focus on making the best out of the situation everybody wins.”

divorced mom walking with kids
Courtesy of Melissa Letellier

This article was submitted to Love What Matters by Melissa Letellier. You can follow her journey on Instagram and TikTok. Join the Love What Matters family and subscribe to our newsletter.

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‘I’d FaceTime him constantly, needing to know my kids were OK. I felt so out of control.’: Daughter of divorce shares personal journey to peaceful coparenting

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