One of the casualties of divorce is the effect it has not only on you and your ex, but on your extended families as well. Especially if you have children.
I mean you probably have developed relationships with your extended families over the course of however many years you were together, and now the line has been drawn and now, who is talking to who?
But worse, when it comes to special occasions and holidays, how do you make sure that you and your family get to see your kids while not depriving them of your ex's family?
Well, for one thing, you need to define this clearly in your agreement. Perhaps it's that you split the holidays each year. Or that you have them for the holidays on even numbered years and your ex on the odd numbered years.
But the one thing that I strongly encourage you to do is to make sure that your kids know that they are loved by BOTH families and to maintain and even create new traditions that they will enjoy every time they are with you and your family.
If you feel guilty that they have to split their time between two homes and two sets of families, remind yourself that the same would have probably been true if the marriage had continued.
It's natural for married couples to alternate which holiday will be spent with your family or hers. And the kids would have piled into the car and spent it at whichever Grandmother's turn it was to cook the turkey. And even if they have a preference for which family they'd rather spend time with (I mean we all do), they need to learn that are spending time with people who love them and that's the way it is. Family is family. End of story.
So don't make this harder than it needs to be. The more consistent you are in reinforcing with your kids that they are a part of BOTH families and pattern how the holidays will be handled, the better it will be for everyone.
Hopefully, there will be civility in your divorce enabling you to maintain cordialness with your ex's family. You know ... a birthday greeting, a holiday card or a phone call to your ex-mother in law to see how she's feeling.
But if your divorce is not headed in that direction from the start and you've got kids, make sure it's very clear on how special occasions and holidays will be handled. This way you all simply follow the rules.
If this isn’t clearly defined, you are setting yourself and your kids up for a lot of unnecessary stress and anger.
Remember.... the divorce agreement always prevails so get how this will be handled clearly defined and then enjoy the season!