Let's talk about being a single parent over the festive season
I have always loved Christmas. As soon as summer is over I start Christmas shopping, it’s always done by the start of October, if it isn’t I panic. My loft is now full of unwrapped presents, carefully stored decorations, oodles of wrapping paper and lots of festive treats. I went to Waitrose on Saturday specifically for their Christmas caramelised nuts. Ironically as I write today it’s Halloween, and of course we carved pumpkins with friends but I’m genuinely far more excited by the 30 Christmas cards we made at the weekend. Sebby’s hands coated in brown paint, we created reindeer cards (from the wrong angle they could easily be mistaken for tarantulas, but that’s not the point of a handmade Christmas) and little could’ve made me happier than sewing on individual bells to each card on Sunday night with a glass of sloe gin.
However, as a single parent Christmas is never going to be easy if both the parents are involved in a child’s life. When the relationship between parents is far from amicable it can become almost impossible to navigate and arrange. Last night, upon returning from a glorious day with friends, I spent a hideous few hours composing and rewriting again and again an email about the division of days for Christmas this year to my ex. We’re at loggerheads about what we believe to be fair and have been arguing about it for weeks. It would appear it’s harder to negotiate than Brexit. I was surrounded by screenshots of calendars for this year and next, highlighters, scribbled options, printed out emails and of course a large glass of red. We still don’t have a deal and like the political situation, everyone involved is getting increasingly grumpy. Of course, one parent misses out each year and this is horrible. Last year Sebby and I had an utterly blissful Christmas with my family and so this year we are without him. My child is 3 and this will be my second Christmas without him. It’s very hard.
My Christmas with Seb will be on Christmas Eve and it will have every trimming possible. Father Christmas will come (Sebby did ask how he’ll get into his room as we don’t have a chimney, fair point) and we’ll open presents with breakfast in my bed, the lights will sparkle and my brothers are all making sure they’re back early. Family and being together with Seb is what matters most to all of us. For Christmas Day we’re booked into a fab hotel nearby. My mama will have just had surgery, we’ll all be exhausted and being somewhere different and grown-up might make being without Seb a little easier. I am naturally very optimistic and I do realise how lucky I am to have a beautiful, happy, healthy little boy. At one point a few years ago I was told that might not be possible. Christmas is all about children and as long as mine feels secure, loved and that wonderful mixture of awe and excitement then I know I’ve done the best I possibly can and that he’ll have a super Happy Christmas. If I do find myself without Seb for longer than I’d like then I’m going to Italy with the gorgeous man I saw when we were both buying our children shoes and then found on Tinder at the start of the year. Hohoho.
For more honest parenting articles by Alexandra Hunter click here.