Navigating the Holidays After Divorce

Managing the holidays after being married with children definitely takes some finesse and strategy.  Sometimes just the negotiating where to go can even be rough – “Should we alternate years for Thanksgiving and so on?  OR Do we visit one house, then the other if we live in the same town?”  Forget simplicity if both families live out of town. 

Now, throw a divorce on top of the holiday visiting mix.  Not only are you splitting the holidays more than two ways – you are splitting custody of the your children on these holidays.

Can I get a magic calendar please? Can we clone the children? While cloning the kids would be an easy fix — it’s not likely to happen.  So what’s the divorced parent to do? 

Sometimes when the divorce is plain old nasty – the courts will tell you what to do. Not fun for anyone.  Of course, I advocate being cool and getting along because you love your children (is there a better reason than that?!?)


Goal number one should be making it easy on the children.  There is no reason the holidays still can’t be happy times. It is all about the attitude. Taking into account the ages of the children, you have a few different options. 

1. If you will be celebrating the holiday in the same city, you can agree to split the day up.  One person take the morning to 4pm shift and the other parent gets the kids from 4pm onward.  Thanksgiving for lunch and dinner, sounds delish! Who can’t eat that meal twice?  Win! Win!  You can alternate your morning and afternoon years as well.

2. If you have older children that are more into doing their own thing – perhaps you can alternate years.  Celebrate with dad one year and mom the other.  When it’s your year for the holiday – start making your own traditions – or maybe even take it on the road – choose a destination to celebrate your holiday.

3. When families live out of town, this is where the real juggling begins.  You obviously can’t split the day up.  Alternating holidays and years is your best bet.  Depending on which holidays you celebrate – you might want to do Thanksgiving with one parent and either Hanukkah or Christmas with the other.  You could even agree to split Hanukkah evenly for each parent every year. 

4. Regardless of which way you divvy it up – make a firm plan ahead of time.  Let your children know what exactly is going on.  Make it easy for them.  Ask them to take part in planning. 

5. If your children want to call the other parent that is not with with them on the holiday — let them!  It’s not a mine or yours holiday – focus on making it great for your kids.  Teach them the joy of sharing holiday kindness with everyone.


Now that you’ve resolved to be cool for the kids – you still have to deal with your own feelings.  Here are some things you can do to ease the roughness of the holidays as a split family.

1. Remind yourself of the reason for the season.  Keep that as your main focus.  Volunteer your time to help others with no family at all.  Visit the elderly.  Bring joy to those that you are spending your holiday time. If you find yourself feeling down – talk to someone.  Sometimes just talking out your feelings and having someone else understand can make you feel better.

2. Create your own calendar.  Just because it’s not your year for Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you can’t have Thanksgiving a few days before or after the “official” holiday.  Who says there has to be an exact day to eat turkey and be thankful? 

3. Surround yourself with family and friends. Resist the urge to be by yourself because you just don’t feel the same without your usual gang with you.  Put on a smile and be thankful that you do have family and friends to be with.  Know that your presence there is making someone happy. 

4. Look at the bigger picture.  Sure it stinks diving holidays and spending holidays without your children at times.  Look at it this way – it’s just a day – one day out of 365.  Make your others days special and you won’t be so sad about having ONE DAY not be exactly as you might want it.

Why “Normal” is Such a Catch!

Why “Normal” is a Such a Catch!

It’s funny because when you ask people what they are looking for in a mate, you most often hear adjectives like: smart, good looking, great job, must have chemistry, similar interests…you know, the basics. However, I was having this discussion with a girlfriend recently who has been out on tons of dates, but nothing even remotely impressive.

Just the other day I got a call.  There was complete excitement on the line.  Julie was telling me that she had met someone she really liked.  Yay!  Finally!  I was super excited for her,  so we made plans to meet for lunch to talk about the guy. 

“So, tell me about him!”

The first word that comes out of her mouth is – “Normal. He’s pretty normal.”
I love it. 

Wait…normal?  Yep.  Normal.  As we dive in a bit, we both agree that this is one thing people seem to be missing these days.  Normalcy.  Normalness. (it’s a word, right?) These days it seems like there is nothing but drama, fakery, housewives, jersey shore, and the one up sickness, it’s like everyone has to have some kind of crazy issues surrounding them.  I mean, excitement is fun and all, but sometimes, you just want someone to be a normal person.  No drama, no extreme issues, no quirky hangups, no excessive baggage – just cool and normal. 

Obviously you can’t control situations dealt to you — that doesn’t make you NOT normal.  You can accept the cards you are dealt. You have the ability to move forward in a positive fashion without playing the blame game every chance you get.  That’s the normal I’m talking about.

It’s a compliment beyond all compliments really.  There are tons of hot people out there, they’re a dime a dozen, especially if you live in LA.  There are tons of talented people out there.  Tons of smart people too. But normal…not tons.  In fact – Julie told me that out of the last 6 guys she has dated — this is the only normal dude.  The first had mommy issues – she wasn’t sure the umbilical cord was actually cut.  The second guy had a “manageable” (his words) drug problem.  The third guy was a constant name dropper.  Every time they went out, he had to tell her what celeb he was buddies with or what sports figure was his workout buddy.  The fourth was crazy jealous from date number two.  She was not about to deal with that.  Potential psycho.  The fifth, she told me, was just a douche, no other way to put it.  And finally — number 6 — NORMAL! 

Normal!!!  Seriously folks – bells and sirens are going off in the background — ladies and gentleman, she has won the prize — a normal guy!  

So what exactly is normal in this case?  Well Julie is happy to report that Chad has a family that is a little quirky (aren’t they all) but everyone gets along most of the time.  He  has a job he actually likes!  He works out, but he’s not a crazy work out freak.  He likes to go out and he’s cool staying in.  He likes music – the same kind of music Julie likes! Bonus, he likes to go to concerts. He’s not angry or bitter.  He’s battled the past and forgiven the wrongs of his past.  He doesn’t feel like he has to prove anything to anyone. They have great conversation and incredible chemistry.  He calls when he says he will, but he’s not needy or overbearing.  He respects her and gives her space – but not too much space. It seems so natural.  So normal. 

You can revise your perfect mate wish list now. Be sure to add normal to the top of the list.

What does “normal” mean to you?

Be Proud of You!!

I say it all the time, but I really mean it — YOU ROCK!  You do!  Just the way you are!

Everyone has done things in the past they aren't proud of.  We have all made less than stellar judgements at times.  We might even have overcome obstacles in our lives like addiction, abuse or weight issues.  These things do not define you.

Treat others with kindness and respect.  Love from your heart and be honest with others. 


Be proud of yourself.  YOU ROCK!!!

Here are some lyrics from one of my favorite songs from Billy Joel — this is how you should be treated.


Don't go changin', to try and please me

You never let me down before

Don't imagine you're too familiar

And I don't see you anymore


I would not leave you in times of trouble

We never could have come this far

I took the good times, I'll take the bad times

I'll take you just the way you are


Don't go trying, some new fashion

Don't change the color of your hair

You always have my unspoken passion

Although I might not seem to care


I don't want clever conversation

I never want to work that hard

I just want someone, that I can talk to

I want you just the way you are


I need to know that you will always be

The same old someone that I knew

What will it take til you believe in me

The way that I believe in you


I said I love you that's forever,

This I promise from the heart

I could not love you any better

I love you just the way you are



Choose Your ‘Tude

That's right folks — you have to choose your own attitude — the election is over.  Maybe you candidate won or maybe he lost.  Regardless, your life will go on.

So you can be sad and think the world is ending, or you can put on your positive attitude and choose to control what you can — YOU!

It's going to be a great year and you have so much to look forward to — the love of your life is out there waiting for you!!!

He won't find you if you have a frownie face and a bad attitude! 

Turn that frown upside down and get out there and enjoy life!!!


The truth is — attitude is your choice — always has been, always will be!  Choose HAPPY!!!!