The Best Solution for a Holiday Custody Schedule

Holiday Custody Schedule

Dear Selfless Esteem,
This is my first Christmas separated and going through a divorce. My ex and I have been informally splitting the visitation time with our baby boy. He took our son to his parents’ house out of town for Thanksgiving and now he wants to take the baby there for Christmas. I think that would be unfair for him to have both holidays, especially since the separation was because of his selfishness and immaturity. How can I negotiate the holiday custody schedule with him?
Mama Bear

Dear Mama Bear,

This is understandably a very difficult time for you. You undoubtedly missed your baby during Thanksgiving and now your ex is requesting to have your baby on Christmas. Please read on for suggestions on how to handle the holiday custody schedule as well as going through a divorce during Christmas.❄️

Lean on God

The first thing to do is go to your Heavenly Father in prayer. He is a helper (Psalm 54:4) and comforter (John 14:26). He will give you wisdom for this situation and throughout your journey as a single parent (James 1:5). For more details about focusing on God, see the posts, “The Real Truth About God,” “How To Pray in 5 Simple Steps,” and “Why Selfless Esteem Is Better Than Self-Esteem.”

Put Your Baby First

Divorce During the Holidays

I think you’ll agree that the best interest of your baby should be the priority. This eliminates the factors of whose fault the divorce is and who has the baby for each holiday. It simplifies the problem to only what the baby needs, which is peace between both sides of his family.

In my opinion, the best way to achieve peace for the sake of your baby is to be more flexible than seems fair. As a result, your ex may demonstrate profuse flexibility in the future. Conversely, if you refuse requests, your ex may not readily accommodate your requests later.

If I were you, I would do everything I could to facilitate his request, such as packing a suitcase if necessary. The idea is that years from now, you’ll hardly remember the details of this first Christmas, but you’ll be reaping the benefit of a collaborative co-parenting relationship with your ex.

In an effort to avoid this type of situation in the future, mediators, who work for the court system, can help you and your ex create a visitation plan, including a holiday custody schedule. Also, you can consult with your family law attorney.

Take Care of Yourself

If your ex’ “selfishness and immaturity” don’t cause him to neglect and/or abuse your baby, then your baby will seemingly be surrounded with love and care. With this assurance, take a break and catch up on sleep, exercise, and whatever else has been put aside because of your motherly duties.

Catching Up on Reading

Join a support group for single mothers and/or people going through divorce. For example, Divorce Care offers support groups and a two-hour seminar called Surviving the Holidays.

Find a competent therapist so you can freely and confidentially express your thoughts and feelings. See the posts, “What is Wise Counsel and Good Therapy?” and “Why You Need a Therapist ASAP.”

Journaling is another healthy outlet. Also, you might be interested in the post, “6 Effective Ways To Manage Stress.”

Last but not least, spend time with family and friends, who are positive and encouraging. You might also be interested in the post, “The Ultimate Guide for Beating the Holiday Blues.”

In summary, I go full circle back to the suggestion of prayer. Taking a moment to reflect on God’s love demonstrated by the gift of salvation through His Son Jesus will fill your heart with joy this Christmas. ☃️

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version®. Copyright © 1984 by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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  1. Michael

    Wisdom of Solomon. The one who loves the child the most will put the child first. That’s not our human nature but you are right. It’s a very sad situation for everyone. Like you said, she’ll need an impartial mediator in the future to set some rules that will put the child’s interests first. Sage advice as usual!

    1. Gina Leggio

      Good analogy with the story of Solomon, two women, and a baby! Thanks for your comment. Glory to God!

  2. TC

    This must be so hard for her. I really like that you suggested they get a mediator to create a schedule because her ex trying to take the baby for the two first major holidays in a row does seemingly imply selfishness on his part and that would possibly continue in the future. I love the advice to always put the child’s needs first. 💕 Prayers and blessings to her in this difficult situation. 🙏🏽

    1. Gina Leggio

      Thanks so much for your comment. Glory to God! Yes, the child’s needs must always come first. I believe God is faithful to reward acts of kindness.

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