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contemporary fall sceneWomen who are Starting Over Single need to define their lives in a different way. Nothing is the same. Even holidays have to be redefined and revised.

The family will look different around the Thanksgiving table. Children will visit “the other family” and the usual traditions are no longer applicable.

Instead of dissolving into a puddle of grief, realize this is your opportunity to revise what your new life will look like. You will now be living from a new normal.

Do you really like the bustle of the holidays – making lots of foods, baking, decorating? If you do, then continue that pattern, but this year – invite another single mom family to join you.

If the answer is, “No” – if you don’t like doing all that prep work – then find a simpler alternative. Take the kids to one of the grocery stores or cafes that provide a Thanksgiving meal. Let someone else do the work.

Do you enjoy watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade? Then continue doing that. Gather the kids around for some hot chocolate or another treat and watch the parade together.

If that tradition is too difficult to enforce, then do something else. Ask the kids what fun things they want to do as a family. Play board games? Put together a puzzle? Make various kinds of popcorn?

This new normal bleeds over into Christmas as well. With only your income and maybe a little bit of child support – the presents under the tree won’t be as plentiful.

What about drawing names as a family? Everyone buys only one gift. Or … put together a basket of goodies for another single mom family and share the holiday spirit.

During our 1st Christmas after the divorce, I didn’t feel like putting up the entire tree and decorating every room as I had done in the past. So I took just the top of the tree, put it in a red bucket and made a simple decoration.

Then I told my son, “Things will be slim this year, but it won’t always be like this. We’re still celebrating Christmas, but it looks different now.”

Honest communication is imperative, but it’s also important to show strength and security to our children. Make the new normal something fun for the kids, then later – you can cry into your pillow.

Trust me. It WILL get better.

Make your new normal something you enjoy and something the kids can wrap around a tradition.

Find the things you and the kids love doing together and make that a priority. Then invent something new with them so that it belongs to your new life.

The holidays don’t have to be sad, but you will have to show your strength. You can do this.

You can find your new normal.

©2015 Starting Over Single for GateWay of Hope