Holiday Blues & ‘Broken Families’ – Expections hurt..

With the Christmas period looming I wanted to share with you my view on ‘broken families’ and ‘holiday blues’ as I know that some of you will be struggling. Not strictly business but the SMBN is about a little more than business..

The most important thing to remember as a single parent is that we are the ones with preconceived ideology about what Christmas and the holidays should look like. We are the ones who have been sold the 2.4 dream and we are the ones who know about Lapland and Iceskating pop-ups and tins of Quality Street and plump stockings and a pile of gifts under the tree – and this is what hurts us – the idea of what a ‘family’ and ‘Christmas’ should look like. And so we think our home is ‘broken’, when really it is beautiful. I am sharing my ‘perfect family’ xmas photo from last year because it’s so important to retrain your brain to embrace what a 21st century family really looks like for millions of families in the UK.

It is also so important to understand that our expectations are much greater than those of our children, especially when they are young. They only know what they see, they do not know how the other half live and they do not know that their family is perceived by many as broken. All you need to give them is love, and make paper chains together and ensure that you are ‘okay’. The holidays are tough as an adult when you are a single parent, and you are more likely to feel lonely at this time of the year than any other, but please embrace what you have and be patient for easier times. If you are stuck indoors without a penny to your name, as I have been for several years, you learn how to enjoy simplicity with your children and how to manage their expectations re gifts under the tree, or lack of. It really helps to give them a wish list, and turn it into a positive on xmas day to add anything they wanted but didn’t get onto their wish list. We are all happy when we know something is coming, it doesn’t necessarily matter when. Have you ever booked a holiday and felt instant happiness from the moment it was booked until the day it arrived. If you desperately want a new car now but somebody said, you can’t have it but put it on a list and I promise you’ll have it within 3 years you would feel wierdly cool about that!

I was asked to do a PR interview last month, about ‘broken homes’ and the effect on children. When I told them that I had a very happy upbringing with my mum and that I loved my dad and that my greatest memory was when he and his wife came to xmas dinner with my mum and her boyfriend (that was only one year, most were seperate) they decided that my story didn’t ‘fit’. It was too positive and confusing that I did not have an issue with either parent. As a child I witnessed my friends struggling with toxic family life and I am so pleased that I did not see my parents scream at each other. Our home is a sanctuary and aggression is not welcome here. This home is not broken, it is full of love, and it is a 21st Century home.

I hope that if you are struggling with money or loneliness or watching other families take annual leave and enjoy expensive days out you hold on to what really matters, love, in the home. Social media will let you see what everybody else is doing, and that can be painful. As part of my own coping mechanism in the early days I unfollowed most people and still only follow business and positive affirmations, what we feed our brain shapes our day. Unfollowing somebody does not mean that you do not care about them. 30 years ago we did not have to see all that our neighbours, friends and family were up to to show that we cared about them. We just found out when we visited once a year what they had been up to that year! and you can go back to that, with some careful administration.

So please, whatever your relationship and financial status this Christmas, just embrace the love that you do have and create wish lists and vision boards to help shift the focus on material stuff. Wrap up warm and take in some far reaching views if you can. Life is precious. Hard times are not your forever x