Finding gratitude during post-divorce holiday hardship

Thanksgiving is coming up next week, which means that the holiday season is about to begin in a very big way. Holidays are often a difficult time when you are in the midst of a divorce or have just completed one. If you have children and share child custody with your ex, holidays can be difficult both emotionally and logistically.

A recent online article by writer and television personality Laura Lifshitz discusses a reality that many divorced parents face around the holidays. Her words are refreshing, however, because she manages to express gratitude for situations in which many people would see only hardship.

According to her article, Lifshitz recently finalized a divorce from her husband, with whom she shares a 60-40 custody split. The two live near one another, so traveling between households does not take up a lot of time. Still, the split has not been entirely easy for their 3-year-old daughter, and this Thanksgiving will be the first holiday that the family celebrates apart.

Lifshitz notes that this transition is difficult for her. She wants to spend entire holidays with her daughter instead of half of Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve (but not Christmas Day). At the same, she expresses gratitude that her daughter gets to have two parents in her life. This is a credit both to Lifshitz’s ex-husband and a credit to the cooperative co-parenting they are working to achieve.

Divorce is hard on all family members. And when kids see one parent drift out of their lives because of divorce, the pain can be devastating. For Lifshitz, her own disappointment about holiday plans seems to be a small price to pay for her daughter’s happiness and wellbeing.

In the midst of divorce, no one has any right to tell you how you should or should not be feeling. Your experience has to be your own. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, however, you will hopefully be able to find gratitude despite the difficult situation you are facing.

Source:, “Holidays apart: A divorced Thanksgiving (and Christmas),” Laura Lifshitz, Nov. 21, 2014

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