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Dealing with the Holidaze

Old 11-18-2013, 02:33 PM
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Dealing with the Holidaze

Oh god, the blues are already starting! No!

I got news today that I am hired for a second part-time job in addition to my regular day job (yay!) which I picked up because I am really struggling to make ends meet (no!). I also need something that will help me pay for Christmas for the kids, so this should help. It's a good thing, but goodbye to free time. Free Time, I hardly knew ye.

I also got news today that my family isn't getting together for Thanksgiving or Christmas. The kids will be with their other families and I will be alone on Christmas. I used to do this regularly when DS14 was a baby and it wasn't too bad, but the older I get the harder it gets.

For Thanksgiving, I'm throwing a friends potluck the weekend after. It should be cheap and fun, so Thanksgiving is covered. It gives me something to look forward to.

But I am really struggling to make it through a birthday, Mother's day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc., without bursting into tears every day in the weeks leading up to the holiday. Holidays have always been fraught in my FOO and more recently with my STBXAH's shenanigans. I know I post about this around every holiday but I am still really struggling with this. It's just this feeling overwhelming loneliness and sadness. I focus on my kids' experiences and try to make them great, but I am still walking around with a hole in my chest and this maudlin "nobody loves me" feeling.

How do you guys cope?
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:49 PM
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I am so sorry Florence! I too am dreading the holidays but for different reasons. You said you are having a Thanksgiving potluck? That sounds like alot of fun. One of the things my sister and I do around Christmas is have a friends game night. We invite our high school buddies we don't get to see much (usually just this one time a year for some of them) and play boardgames. Have movies going and popcorn. It is a truly fun (and cheap) night. One year we did a cookie swap also.

Are you involved in church? I get involved with alot of church and Sunday School stuff this time of year. I also plan to have myself and my girls donate our time at a shelter or even the pet shelter. I want them to see that we need to "pay it forward" as they are blessed in their lives as am I. I also plan to ask to help donate the gifts collected for the giving tree to the families that receive those gifts as I know that is a big job. Our hospitals normally adopt a family and they need quite a few people to deliver the gifts and the meals, etc. so if I have time to spare I will do that. My nanna is in the nursing home, some of those people are extremely lonley and would love a visit. I have one old fella who has taught me dominos, he's my buddy and I don't think anyone else visits him, so when I go see her I roll him in with us to visit. He loves it. Ask the activities directors, they are always looking for volunteers to help there.

I consider some of my good friends my family. I am not too proud to tell them when I am lonley or need their support. I usto be, but no more. It is a circle as I support them when they need me too. My point here is, even when I feel down and think no one cares about how I feel, I reach out and realize I am wrong and I bet you are too.

Chin up...we are going to get through all of this lady!!!

Hugs!
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:49 PM
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Can you start new traditions with your kids? Bake together. Or, spend the whole day in your pajamas just playing games, reading, etc? When I was a kid, we always opened our Christmas presents on Christmas eve, that way we could sleep in Christmas day. Then, we spent the day in our pajamas, playing. Now, we usually go to the inlaws on Christmas Day, but my favorite Christmas's are the days we stay home playing games and watching movies with the kids. If the kids are going to be at the x's on the actual day, celebrate on a different day. Then, on the actual holiday, make it an all about you day - do whatever you want. Go to a movie by yourself, volunteer at a food bank, spend the day in bed with a book (what I'd do), meet a friend for lunch at a chinese restaurant (seems like they're always open on holidays), etc.

ETA: Sorry, looks like I was the one focused on the actual holiday. Apparently, my reading comprehension is not so great today!
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:27 PM
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Big fat hugs, Florence.

I don't know what to tell you because I've never had to sit alone at Christmas, which is probably the only holiday that really mattered to me. I've spent Thanksgiving and New Years alone many times, but somehow, that's been OK. I think because I've been able to tell myself that "it's not that my children don't want to be here; it's that they're court-ordered to be with their dad."

I didn't try to do a holiday celebration on my own; that would probably have been sad. I just did something completely different instead. Thanksgiving one year I went for a long hike and packed food and hot coco. (Luckily I had my phone since the kids called and said they were at a party and AXH was drunk as a skunk and intended to drive them home...). New Years I spent alone... I think four years in a row? I've made it a habit to buy a ridiculous amount of sushi and candles and sit and read favorite books by candlelight and eat sushi and drink green tea.

For me, doing something that I really liked and wanted on those days helped. I know that "going and helping at the soup kitchen" is the advice you normally get, but frankly, the person in most need of my help and support has been me. And that's OK.

For me, NOT trying to make it a pale version of a dream holiday worked. And I'd think "Oh the day will come when I can cook a turkey larger than a smart car and have fifteen people at the table -- today is not that day and that's OK."

I don't know if any of that helps, but that's how I've handled it.
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:41 AM
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Thanks, guys. I'm thinking on it.

We have some traditions old and new. We always decorate after Thanksgiving, and we have certain favorite decorations that *must* go up (even if I hate them!). I bake a ton. We watch all the movies. We open ONE gift before Xmas and have a big Xmas morning the day of (or the day we decide to celebrate it) with unwrapping and a lot of presents. I've really tried to make it about the kids, and this takes care of 90% of my anxiety during that time.

What I find, though, is that those moments when I'm planning it, thinking about it, getting/wrapping presents, are when I feel most alone. Like, usually my crazy disappointing FOO does a modest gift exchange. Since we're not doing that this year, it occurred to me that I won't get a present from anyone this year, and for some reason that makes me want to crawl in a hole and stay there. Then I feel like an entitled jerk for expecting anything at all, and shouldn't I just buck up and clench my jaw like always and shoulder through it? It's not a good scene, and I realize how self-destructive this thinking process is, but I can't seem to mitigate it. I'm tired of bucking up.
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Old 11-19-2013, 08:00 AM
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Florence, how old are your kids? Most kids want to give their parents something. If they're old enough, can you give them a little bit of cash, take them to the store, and let them buy you something while you sit on a bench in another part of the store? If they're not old enough to do that, is there anyone (a friend, etc) who can take them shopping for you? Depending on how tight money is, you could take them to a department store or a $1 store...

When oldest ds was young, his school had a "santa shop" each year. Kids brought in cash and teachers & volunteers helped them buy inexpensive presents from the "store." Everything was bought in bulk or donated so prices were reasonable and kids could buy their family gifts ranging from $1-$20 each. I volunteered in the store. The kids loved it!

If money's too tight, or it's logistically too difficult to let the kids shop for you, maybe you could get out the craft supplies and have them make something for you and each other? Then, they could wrap their presents so you have something to open, too?
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Old 11-19-2013, 08:01 AM
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Come fly out to the east coast and you've got an open welcome to be w me anytime! God I feel we are long lost sisters w the same toxic FOO.

I try hard to live one day at a time but the weeks leading up to knowing I will have to spend at least some of each holiday w out my kids makes me want to hide under my covers and cry.

I'm so sorry you're in the same boat .

The hardest part of not being an intact family is having to split time w the kids. They too can't love it and it just sucks.

My heart goes out to you so very much.
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Old 11-19-2013, 08:05 AM
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Florence for the last few yrs I have taken the girls to get xAH a gift and will do so this yr too bc they enjoy choosing something and the spirit of giving is what I love.... And the girls have asked xAH to take them to get me something bc I guess they enjoy it.... I know the feeling you're describing of feeling sad that this year you won't get a gift. I was thinking that lately too. My FOO toxic as they are used to do a stocking exchange where we all picked a name etc... That may still happen but I have been uninvited to thanksgiving so I can't imagine they want me a part of gift exchanging.

I'm with you that it all sucks and sometimes it's hard to just suck it up.
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Old 11-19-2013, 08:46 AM
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Aw Florence. I hear ya. I'm not alone for the holidays - kid are always with me - but I am feeling so lonely and alone too. As a matter of fact - I've spent most evenings lately searching and reading past threads here on that subject.

I wish I had some advice to mitigate it. I don't know how. I'm not physically alone because my kids are always here but I feel so lonely. I do not have another adult to share things with, plan with, to help, to say nice things to or hear them from, to sit next to. I just don't. I kinda just want to sleep through it all. I guess I just have to accept this is where my life is right now. I'm sick of it though. Holidays just add to the feeling sometimes.

Not at all helpful but wanted to let you know I got it and that you aren't alone. I fight so hard to not let all that fear back in - fear that I just don't have what it takes (whatever that is) to get that kind of life. All those tapes and loops. It is always so much work to keep them from playing in my head.
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Old 11-19-2013, 09:09 AM
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We could always have a party here in the SR chatroom ?
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Old 11-19-2013, 01:33 PM
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the beauty is, dear Florence, YOU can buy yourself whatever your heart desires and it will be "just what you wanted" every time!!!

maybe you could get a secret santa thing going at work? maybe in those new traditions you could adopt a needy family? go to midnight mass. take home-baked gifts to your neighbors, kids in tow. watch It's a Wonderful Life in pj's of course!

drop the should's and the was's and the won't be's - and create holiday traditions that are fresh and meaningful and feel right TO YOU.

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Old 11-19-2013, 02:20 PM
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Thanks, everybody.

Between this thread and WTBH's thread on crazy moms, I'm thinking it's the family stuff, specifically the FOO stuff, that's really triggering me and that this is what I need to work on. This is where I still feel the most vulnerable and where my lizard brain goes when I'm feeling sad. I'm going to meditate on this and make sure to bump up my self-care over the next six weeks.
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Old 11-19-2013, 02:37 PM
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it occurred to me that I won't get a present from anyone this year, and for some reason that makes me want to crawl in a hole and stay there.
I didn't get one single birthday present this year. Nor a card. And I cried FLOODS. So you're not being ridiculous and entitled. It's not about "oh whee-whee nobody's buying me a Ferrari" -- it's about somebody taking the time to think about you.
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Old 11-19-2013, 02:57 PM
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I wonder if it would be against the SR rules to do a gift exchange/Secret Santa via snail mail. I've coordinated something like this online before -- 95% anonymous, at a budget of, say $20 or under -- without any problems. Who could we ask?

Last edited by Florence; 11-19-2013 at 03:00 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:39 PM
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Florence I was thinking that too! That would be cool! Love that idea. You all sure as hell are more family to me than my actual FOO. SR gift exchange
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:00 PM
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I think that is a great idea!
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:04 PM
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Should we ask the mods?
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Old 11-20-2016, 01:04 AM
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Bumping this for all of us who are trying to figure out how best to face the holidays...
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Old 11-20-2016, 01:23 AM
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I am alone this xmas. First priority is to not drink, stay safe and avoid any people/places/parties where there is booze. Next have some movies (not middle class Santa ones) to watch. I am not going to ghost stuff I was used to- so am thinking whatelse. Being here at SR will play a big part. Not much money, no family, do not work - so rather isolated in that respect. Also the HALT (sad) bit- HALTS. Not sure about the church bit- still thinking about that- family stuff (dad was a priest). Also something to eat that is healthy- then something sweet.
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Old 11-20-2016, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Florence View Post
it occurred to me that I won't get a present from anyone this year,
Some of the best presents I have ever received are the ones I bought for myself. Just think in what, 6ish more weeks, the holidays will be over and it will be 2017 (holy moly!!)

Sending you a virtual hug Florence.
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