John Cowan - Merry Step-Christmas

Publish Date
Friday, 18 December 2015, 5:05PM
By John Cowan

I like Christmas, but it can be stressful. And it can be particularly stressful if you share the care of your kids with an ex-partner.

On Christmas Day, 1914, Allied and German soldiers stopped fighting, climbed out of their trenches and exchanged greetings, small gifts and even played football with each other. Maybe your dealings with your ex are smooth and peaceful but, for many, it is still a battleground.    ‘Grace’ is a lovely word to describe unearned kindness and love, and you may need to draw down lots of grace as you arrange Skype sessions, calls and visits. It takes grace when you make concessions to your ex, when you bend to fit in with others, when you give money to your kids to buy presents for an ex that might still fighting you over child support, and when you ex is late to pick your kids up on Christmas Day.   Most of all you will need grace to deflect any sniping remarks and passive aggressive sabotage of your arrangements. 

Grace is when you know what the other person deserves, but you suspend judgement and do a kind thing anyway. It’s not just caving in – your goal is still to get long-term justice –  but, in the mean time, it will mean a lot to your kids if you can suspend hostilities.  And by the way, extending grace has a wonderful effect on you, too.

Your grace might have to extend to your kids too. They might strongly miss your ‘ex’ or other family members that cannot be with you at Christmas celebrations.   Their absences will clash with your child’s sense of how things ‘ought to be at Christmas’.  Of course, you know the reasons and back-stories of why you are not together any more, but in their young hearts there might still be strong longings. You would not be human if you did not feel a little flare of anger, you may feel they are being disloyal to you. Like you have had to do so many times, you will once again have to make allowances for their immature logic and sympathise with them.  

Christmas might be a lot of work and stress, but the nice thing about it is that it can still be the most wonderful time. I sincerely hope that it is for you this year.


For more check out

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you