Mum and writer, Danielle Norton, will be spending Christmas day on her own. 

 

Every second year, her children spend the day with their father and his new family.

 

Writing in Essential Kids, she admits that she found this process extremely difficult at first: 

 

"At the beginning of my journey as a single mother, it was a heart-wrenching experience. I wept all morning as I'm sure lots of parents do.

 

Christmas day highlighted the dissolution of my family life and my perceived failure."

 

 

She said that some of the advice from fellow parents was less than comforting. One example being going out and drinking on Christmas eve and spending the next day with a hangover: 

 

"While this approach is effective for numbing pain, it's certainly not the most healthy way to deal with emotional issues."

 

Instead of hitting the bottle, Norton suggests several alternatives for anyone that's alone at Christmas. 

 

 

Treat yourself to a lie-in, have breakfast in bed or team it up with a good book and spend the day reading.

 

Make use of the quiet kitchen and cook without the fuss. Or going for a relaxing walk in nature.

 

Spend some time reflecting: 

 

"Spend some time really thinking about each child. Write each one a card, reminding them why you love them and what they add to your life." 

 

Norton also says that practising gratitude is positive thing to do if you're having a difficult time coping: 

 

"Will you give and receive gifts today? Do you have good food to eat? A roof over your head? Even in bad times there are things to be grateful for." 

 

 

Another suggestion is to spend the day with friends and family, although this can be difficult to navigate if the separation is still fresh or if you're feeling particularly vulnerable.

 

Norton advises to do what's best for you. And we can completely get behind that.

 

"This year there will be no wakeful children in my house on Christmas Eve, no excited screaming in my ear as the dawn breaks. I'll wake up in my own time. I'll shower without a child beating on the door, I won't listen to Christmas carols or watch kiddie TV shows with canned laughter.

 

For the first time, I'm looking forward to my solo Christmas. I am giving myself a break this year." 

 

And don't we all deserve a break this tear? 

 

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