First Divorced Christmas

I awoke at 5am this morning because I couldn’t sleep.  I put the gifts under the tree, watered it and turned on the Christmas lights as I sat in the dark.  There aren’t a lot of presents under the tree, but with older kids, the gifts are more expensive so it doesn’t feel as festive to me.  At least I know the kids got me something because they showed me the package last night.  My eyes filled up.  It will be the only present that I receive.  My life has certainly changed a lot.

I’m trying to find the silver lining this morning as I prepare for the day.  I have my brother and his family coming over which I don’t really want to deal with, but they’re the only family I have.  I bought his kids presents too even though I’m on a strict budget.  He told me we are not exchanging this year (the adults).  I’m just not really in the Christmas spirit this morning.  Maybe it has to do with the hangover of emotions from all that my kids are dealing with from last night.

They went to their dad’s family’s party and emotions were running high.  The anger and resentment the kids have for him and his family is palpable and they were venting a lot before they left and when they returned last night.  My heart hurts for them.  I am unable to change anything so I feel like I’m holding their sadness because they’re my kids and they have every right to feel the way they do.  It’s warranted.  The bullsh*t they are dealing with is tremendous and the emotional manipulation that the narcissists are exuding is sickening.  Older kid said it was the worst Christmas Eve on record and he hates them.  Even the younger one agreed.  I am just thankful they have each other.

I listened to them last night, so thankful that I am not a part of ex’s family anymore.  It’s really bad.  Ex’s mom is throwing a huge wedge between herself and my kids and driving a separation between them and their father as well.  Yet, she can’t see what she’s doing because she’s so myopically driven to be her son’s biggest fan.  Ex was angry with the kids yesterday because they didn’t want to spend time with him.  Apparently he threw a fit when they got to his mom’s house.  What he doesn’t realize is that if you don’t connect with your kids, or talk with them or they find out you’re lying most of the time, it doesn’t endear you to them and they are hurt.

Because they love him so much, they are so hurt by him.  That’s the messed up way it is.  They still want to believe in him and with every time he doesn’t answer them or doesn’t talk with them about how they’re feeling or explain how he’s feeling, or talk about the whole girlfriend situation, the separation grows bigger.  Funny that I can see it easily now.  Ex is shut down and selfish.  It’s the way he treated me as well, but back then I was too dumb to understand it.  By far, my kids are healthier than I was at that point.  But it makes it no easier when they want him to be a father and he is more like a pet rock.  And yet, his mommy dotes on her son (their father) and praises him and makes the kids feel guilty that they don’t want to put him on that same pedestal she has him on.

The kids are supposed to spend Christmas Day with me as always.  But ex’s mom refused to give them their presents last night and is making them wait until the 26th unless they go over there today.  The kids see the manipulation and the older one even challenged  her on it, but she said that’s what she’s decided and that’s it.  She wants them there and so she’s holding their gifts hostage.  Because part of my gift and hers work together, the kids want to get their gifts today.  I don’t blame them.  Ex’s family is loaded and their manipulation is in giving extravagant gifts.  Funny thing is, the kids know it and take advantage of it because they feel entitled if they have to deal with ex’s family.  It makes me laugh on one hand that they are using it to their advantage.  I wish I could provide more than I do, but my ex is already in arrears, and owes me even more money, so I’m not in a good financial position.   Bottom line is I can’t compete and I don’t.  If love and support were a dollar amount, I’d be a millionaire several times over with my kids.  The precious healthy love wins in my head (and in theirs), but they’re kids who used to have parents who were in a good place financially and now they have a mom who is scraping by.  That’s the hard part.

I will tell you honestly that my heart hurts that the kids told me last night that if it’s ok, when I go to take a shower, they are going to run over to Ex’s parents’ home to get their gifts and then come right back.  I can’t deny them, but it hurts me.  It’s my day and yet Ex’s mom wins again.  I know her. This is her plan every year and she does the same thing to manipulate so that she sees the kids on Christmas Day and I am left alone again.  I can turn it around that I get an hour to myself on Christmas morning, but I’m just soooo hurt.

I’m hurt because the whole situation isn’t right.  I’m trying to take the high road yet again in my head so that when they wake up, I’m happy mommy.  But my heart is heavy and sadness and frustration are filling me up, tinged with hatred for the injustice of the whole situation.  But I think this Christmas will be a pivotal turning point as the kids are fed up with his family.  Part of me is sad for them because the mask has been lifted and they can see the unhealthy manipulation.  Part of me is happy that they can see them for who they are and that the kids are standing up for themselves.  Part of me just wants this day to be over already.

I’m sorry to be such a downer this morning.  I wish you a very Merry Christmas!  I hope you have a lovely day filled with delicious food, love, happiness and peace.


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20 Responses to First Divorced Christmas

  1. TJ Fox says:

    I hate that you and your kids are going through this. It is beyond wrong. Emotional blackmail from family members towards kids is horrid. As a parent, you can only do what you can to help cushion the blows as they come.

    Being as it his the Ex’s family and not yours, you have even less say in how it is done. You can always lay down hard and fast lines that cannot be crossed, ie… you can’t have the kids if x,y, and z don’t happen, but that will just create more problems and stress that may not be worth it in the end. The fact that the Ex is behind on his support would give you the leverage to be able to enforce those lines, but it could always turn ugly (or, even more ugly).

    For me, the drama and BS was with my own family so I had the option of walking away completely. As your kids get older, they may find that this is the only choice they really have. Keeping a relationship going just because the person is family is not always the right choice for someone. It wasn’t for me. Yes, holidays are much quieter with only the 4 of us, but they are filled with happiness, not stress and tension, frustration and anger.

    Hugs to you! I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts today and wishing you peace in the chaos. Hold your kids close and cherish the moments they are happy and with you.

    Liked by 3 people

    • janieleeds says:

      Thanks TJ! I did just as you advised and stayed out of it. Instead, I was a beacon of love for my kids and supported them that way. We bonded even more closely than ever before which was the best gift of all. We know we are a family of 3 filled with love, healing, support and caring and they are free to speak without filter (which gets hard at times for me) but it’s well-worth it. We made it through with my family too which was good. I hope your quiet, yet drama free lovely Christmas was filled with blessings. xo

      Liked by 2 people

      • TJ Fox says:

        So glad to hear. It is the hardest thing to watch our kids hurting and know there isn’t anything to do but be there to hold them. You will kids see you being that for them and it will mean everything to them as time goes on. You are a wonderful mom, don’t ever doubt that.


      • janieleeds says:

        Thanks TJ! You are too because you’ve removed the toxicity from their lives and become a beacon of light and love! ♥

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s unfortunate that your ex’s mom doesn’t see the wrongdoing in her actions. Take that hour to sip some warm tea and enjoy the Christmas lights on your tree. Sending you a big hug! Merry Christmas!


  3. Sometimes reading your posts is like reading my own life story, it hurts like hell at the time but honestly it will get better. We can’t change what ex partners do or say to us but we can change how we let it affect us.

    Stuff them all, you are the winner in all this Janie, your kids are smart and although they will experience ups and downs they will become stronger and better human beings through the experience. Your ex and his mother are your past, your future is happier, brighter and waiting for you 🌹

    Liked by 2 people

    • janieleeds says:

      Thanks Elaine. Just knowing you get it and have been there and survived it, means the world to me. I just feel for my kids who are caught in the middle of this chaos. But today is a new day and Christmas antics are over. Whew. Yes, they are my past, my kids are my present and who knows who my future is! Giggle Giggle…you know I’ll keep you in the loop! ♥

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Roda says:

    Sending hugs and blessings your way. You are giving your children love and stability…, the best gift you could give!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. invisveil says:

    sending love and blessings


  6. Janie, what can I say? I’m still a kid and I’m very inexperienced in matters like this. I’m sorry you were faced with something like this on Christmas day. And I thought this Christmas drama was only at my house…. Please don’t let this spoil your Christmas season for you. The Lord is your strength and solace 😊
    Merry Christmas!


    • janieleeds says:

      Merry Christmas Obinna! Thanks for writing! We are well now, having experienced the drama and survived it! I think everyone has some types of drama in families from time to time. If you read today’s post, you will see how we healed from it in a great way. I hope all is well with you! ♥


  7. Mischenko says:

    Janie, I’m sorry you and the kids had to endure this. It isn’t right. I’ve had my share of wicked in-laws and all I can say is what goes around comes around…somehow, it always does. IMO, you’re doing things right and you’re being the better parent.

    I’m thinking about you and praying for you and your family. ❤❤❤ Much love to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • janieleeds says:

      Thank you Mischenko! I just keep taking the high road so that I know I’ve done my best all the time. It isn’t easy but it’s a choice I’m consciously making in order to role model for my kids. Much love to you! Thanks for the prayers and for thinking about us. It means a lot and I appreciate you! ♥♥♥

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Your post expresses all the reasons why I loathe this season – if anything brings out the worst (and sometimes the best) of human, it’s forced celebration as a social expectation. Good wishes to you, regardless, and congratulations for finding a way through the mire with integrity.


    • janieleeds says:

      Thank you so much. I think it’s a learning curve especially during the holidays where we are forced by tradition to be with family members who may or may not be easy to related with for extended periods of time. I am grateful that the kids and I bonded through the experience and it’s now over. Whew. I hope you have a lovely rest of the year! ♥


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