The holidays can be a major challenge for divided families. If you are separated or divorced then you know it can really suck. If you don’t have your kids, it can be depressing because you are that weird or alone divorced person on Christmas. If you do have the kids, then you have to deal with them missing their other parent.
This never happened in my family because we all spend Christmas together. That means me, both kids, both of their dads and their dads' wives and partners, new babies and dogs. But that’s because I have it good and I know it. No one is alone and we are all group texting for months leading up to December 25 to make sure everyone is in town on the day, getting down to brass tacks like who is cooking what for breakfast.
But this year something different is happening. My kids' dads are taking them each away on vacations over Christmas. I agreed to it, and of course this means that this holiday season I am totally alone. Not only am I going to be totally childless from December 16 to the 27, but I am also going to do the Hoffman Process (a personal growth retreat) from December 9 to the 16. So this means I am childless for three weeks during the most sentimental, nostalgic time of the year.
But wait, before you shed a tear for me, I need to let you know something. I’m batshit ecstatic about it. Here’s why.
1. I get a free ticket out of the insanity (and cost) of Christmas.
Let's face it, the holidays are a shit storm of madness. First of all, the kids are home. If you work, then you need to pay for full-time help. And then you have to spend another month's salary on presents. If you are like me and celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas then basically you are going broke. With both my kids gone this year for both holidays, I get a free ride.
2. I don’t have to do any planning.
The fact that this year I can entirely skip it all immediately adds two years to my life.
One of the biggest headaches for single moms is all the planning on Christmas. With two kids, two dads and all their relatives visiting, I need an engineering degree to coordinate all the comings and goings. I have to rearrange the nights so visiting family can see the kids and still somehow keep things consistent, all the while making sure the kids see each other as well. Oh, and there is present consulting with relatives that rivals talks with Russia about nuclear arms. The fact that this year I can entirely skip it all immediately adds two years to my life.
3. I don’t have to do any shopping, cooking or cleaning.
Do I really need to explain this one?
4. I get major me-time.
The me-time I have ahead is sick. It's more exciting than Christmas was to me as a kid. It takes the term staycation to new levels.
5. I don't have to make Christmas about superficial crap.
And that’s perfectly OK with me. Christmas now means time to think about the real gifts in life that are important ... like silence and not shopping for presents. I can quiet down and go to the gym every day at whatever time I want, drink wine and not have to worry about falling asleep while my kids are in the tub.
Three weeks of alone time during one of the most stressful times of the year sounds like the best three weeks of the year. Sure I won't be getting presents, but I never do anyway. I forgot to mention I can date, party and rage like it's 1999! I have no idea what the last two mean but you get my idea. I can sleep in.
This is the best Christmas present I could ever ask for.