If you're looking for gift ideas for divorced moms, this post is going to be a disappointment, because nothing in it is something you can buy. And some of these things are things a lot of moms need. But the combination of all five -- and during the holidays especially -- seems to be characteristic of divorced moms.
Time. Some of us would like some time for ourselves, without the kids, if we have primary custody of the kids and spend most of our waking, non-working hours with them. Some of us would like more time with the kids, if we share custody and don't get as much time with them as we'd like. But all of us need more time for sleep and laundry and making lunches and paying bills and listening to our children and being ourselves.
Emotional Space (and permission to use it). We may or may not have processed the events leading up to the divorce and/or the divorce itself. And being a divorced mother is different from those previous experiences and is something we need to process, too. If it's too painful, sometimes we allow ourselves to be so busy we don't have to think about it, but letting ourselves process is important. It might he helpful to process through making art or music or writing. Drawing or painting or sculpting or working with other media can help us process the feelings. Listening to music (like the Divorcing the Holidays playlist) or making music can move the feelings through our bodies. And doing guided writing (like with the Writing Through Your Divorce self-paced workbooks) can work the emotions through by asking us to get them physically out of us and onto paper or the computer screen.
Friendship. Even if we're happy to be out of the marriage, divorce can be lonely sometimes. When you tell people that you're getting divorced, a number of your friends will fade away, and that can leave some empty places in your life. New people come in to fill those places in your heart, but it can take some time, and the ostensible busyness of the holidays can make it glaringly obvious if we don't have as many friends as we'd like, or friends who are as close as we'd like. If you have a friend who'd divorcing or divorced, just reach out a little now, even if it's only a text or private message.
Company. Along with friendships (which can be close-by or long-distance), we need company. It's not fun to be invited places if we know someone's only inviting us out of pity, but a genuine invitation over the holiday break can make our entire week. Some adult conversation for us, and some playtime for our kids, can be a lifesaver whether it's at someone's house or someplace else like a museum or play space.
Laughter. Laughter means letting go, enjoying each other, and having the freedom to be ourselves. Laughter is what holds a family together and lets us recover when we've had a disagreement. Especially for divorced moms who are reassembling family after the divorce, laughter lets us know that we'll all be okay.
Magda Pecsenye writes about parenting at AskMoxie.org and runs the Writing Through Your Divorce workshop with Deesha Philyaw at WritingDivorce.com. She loves Christmas with her kids and hopes we all get what we need during the holiday season.