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Divorced Moms, Don’t Forget About Yourself Over the Holidays

I just ordered a new rug for our living room. It was expensive and not at all needed but I hit the “pay now” button with zero guilt.

It was a Christmas gift from me, to me. And as I sat on my sofa and imagined the freshness it would bring to our living room—the place where we sit and exchange gifts—it made me incredibly happy and gave me a much-needed energy boost. That alone makes it worth every penny.

Then I ordered a few new pillows because my happiness counts—and a little room makeover just in time for Christmas is what I need to soothe my soul.

As a divorced mom, it’s easy to toss myself aside and put all my efforts into my kids and what they want. My own happiness is less important to me than making sure their lives are on track and they have all they need. And that’s a mistake. One I’ve made too many times.

When I ignore my own happiness, there’s a trickle-down effect that spreads over the whole house.

Not investing in ourselves after we become moms seems to be a normal part of motherhood. And when it’s coupled with a divorce, the impact on ourselves—and our kids— is amplified. I’m constantly saying things to myself like,” I don’t need that,” or “I should spend my time cleaning or working instead of getting a pedicure.”

But I can’t, and shouldn’t, abandon myself like that. I count too.

And a simple pleasure, like a new rug or a Hallmark movie, goes a long way toward contributing to my personal happiness.

One night during my first Christmas as a single mother, I sat next to the fireplace looking at my droopy stocking and feeling really sad for myself. I wasn’t sure I could pull off the same kind of cheerful holiday as a single parent that I had mustered when I had a partner.

Then I decided I needed a little cheering up, so I scheduled a massage. After that, I ordered a pair of boots I had been coveting, wrapped them up in pretty paper, and put them under the tree.

It made all the difference in my mood and the amount of energy I was able to give to others. We did, in fact, have a pretty good Christmas that year and I know it’s because I didn’t let myself fall to the back of the line while trying to make it magical for everyone else.

Divorced Moms, Take Care of Yourselves

To all the divorced moms out there, just because you don’t have a partner doesn’t mean you don’t deserve something special this time of year.

It doesn’t have to be in the form of a material possession either. It can look like saying, “No” to Christmas cards.

Maybe it’s getting yourself tickets to that holiday play you have always wanted to see.

Or maybe you schedule a weekend away for yourself later in the year, or decide to stay home during the holidays instead of traveling—because that’s what brings you peace and joy.

It doesn’t matter what you do, but what does matter is you take care of yourself. It matters you don’t ignore the fact that Christmas after divorce are hard for so many reasons. There’s no need to skip over your feelings and stay strong to everyone else.

If it helps, order that jacket with the fur-lined collar. Plan a festive night out with girlfriends. Cut back on the gift giving. Buy gift bags instead of wrapping every darn gift. Keep a chocolate stash. Visit the spa. Do something that makes you happy.

Whatever you do this holiday season, don’t forget about you. Putting yourself on the back burner and ignoring your own joy is an awful big ask for the person in charge of making holiday magic for everyone else.

Katie Bingham-Smith

Katie Bingham-Smith had three kids in three years and crafts herself silly in order to stay sane. She loves to write, wear faux leather pants, eat at burger joints, and make beautiful things. You can see more on her blog www.philigry.comFacebook and Instagram.

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