Christmas Recap as a Divorced Mom

Hello friends!  Are you still in the post Christmas haze? I’m moving slowly, and happily so.  I’m sure I’ll get a crazy burst of energy over the weekend and start doing all.the.things.  But for now, I’m still enjoying the after Christmas heart-so-full feeling.

If you’re looking for the after-Christmas sales, you can find them here, but I also wanted to recap our Christmas while the feelings are still fresh.

Hopefully, opening up in this way will let you in a little more on what life is like for me as a divorced mom.  I haven’t talked much about it- it takes time to process, and honestly, sometimes I need a break from all the feelings.  You guys and this blog allows me to do that. #thankyou

It’s been almost a year since I’ve lived in my house alone with just the kids, so I’ve had a period of time to adjust to doing things on my own, in my own way.  I will admit that I’ve found it incredibly challenging to be a divorced mama, just from the standpoint of the amount of energy it takes to do everything on my own.

By the time the kids go to their Dad’s house, I’m so exhausted.  I will literally just sit on my couch and watch hours of tv, too pooped to do anything productive.   Then, I get my shi*t together and try to get “ahead” with work, errands, and anything I can do so that I’m prepared to give my all again when they come back.

Sometimes I wonder how long I can keep this pace up.  But, just like anything else, you just keep putting one foot in front of other and keep on keepin’ on.

It feels too quiet when they aren’t here, but I’ve also realized that I like having some alone time.  I need it. I miss them like crazy, but we Facetime and I can also text James.

I truly love the holidays and this year was no exception.  I decorated to my heart’s content, cohosted our 4th annual Favorite Things Party, visited Santa, went and looked at Christmas lights, watched Christmas movies, and baked and planned and shopped and wrapped gifts for the kids.  I got Christmas photos of the kids, but then never got around to turning those photos into cards.

I’m learning to let go of things that I just can’t get to.  Good enough has to be good enough.  I’m also leaning into and accepting this divorced mama life.  Actually, I’m doing more than that.  I’m embracing it.  I never wanted to be divorced and I have grieved the marriage and relationship I had hoped to have.

And now I find that I’m finding my way.  I almost feel guilty for saying I feel happy.  But I also vowed to be true to how I feel going forward and to not deny or supress my feelings.  The truth is, I’m doing really well.

I must point out, part of my happiness is seeing the kids thrive and be happy themselves.  It would be incredibly difficult to feel good if they weren’t doing well.  I’ve carried so much guilt for being divorced and not having the kids grow up in a two-parent home.  I still struggle to some degree with that.  Hopefully, in 2020, I can heal that and let it go fully.

CHRISTMAS RECAP

Our Christmas was really lovely.  On Christmas Eve, after the kids had gone to bed and house was clean and the gifts were wrapped, I took a few moments to take it all in.  As exhausted as I was (it was 1 am!), a true feeling of gratitude and satisfaction overcame me.  I thanked God for helping me prepare a warm, holiday home for the kids.  It felt like everything came together and I was so thankful.

It was important for my to convey my love and appreciation for my kids, especially this year, so I wrote them each a little letter and set it out for them to read in the morning.  I plan to do that every year going forward.  I wrote one for my Mom too- she’s really been such a rock and help with anything I need.

On Christmas morning, Jordan woke up at 5am and got in bed with me until James came in at 6am.  Their reactions and pure JOY when they saw the gifts under the tree was the BEST!!  James immediately said “thank you” and gave me a giant hug.  That boy really is something special.

Jordan went down the stairs asking, “Where’s my Paw Patrol Pup Pad? Where’s my Paw Patrol Pup Pad? ”  This girl is too much!!  It was the only thing she asked Santa for, thank God he delivered!

Jordan’s Pajamas • My Pajamas

James and Jordan both love to play cornhole and one of our dear friends is a talented carpenter.  I asked him if he would make James a cornhole set and he happily agreed.  His wife, one of my closest friends, painted it and I bought the cornhole bags.  I knew this gift would be extra special, having been built by someone James is close to, and it’s one of a kind- something he can have for years to come.  I think it turned out amazing!


Jordan was crazy for her play kitchen (and I was happy I had a gift card to use toward it AND that it came ASSEMBLED!) My mom gifted Jordan an adorable set of pots and pans and cooking utensils and she ended up playing with it for hours Christmas morning!

James had an electric guitar at the top of his Christmas list and is now ready to rock!  Can you even guess how many times I’ve already said, “turn it down!”

Luckily, this one isn’t as loud! 😉

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At grandma’s house, Jordan loves to play with these stacking dolls and my mom got her a set.  I think they are soo cute! It came with 10 pieces – a teeny, tiny baby at the end!

Of course, we ate Baked French Toast and I had an extra cup of coffee!

Baked French Toast

Christmas coffee mug

I was so glad Jordan wanted to wear the dress I got her at the Nutcracker Market.  And she told me which barrette to put in her hair (“just one Mom!”) and which side of her hair to put it in!

Toddler Christmas Dress

 Shoes • Door MatWreaths (similar)

I’m just thankful beyond belief for these kids and so happy that our year is ending on a high note.  They went to their Dad’s later on Christmas so that the holiday was shared.

I wrapped up my evening at my brother’s house with all the cousins and extended family.  It was really a nice time, though I did feel the heart pang that James and Jordan weren’t there.  I’m sure that’s natural, but I know they were having a great time.

When they come back, we’ll still have lottsssss of Christmas break left to enjoy.  So much so that I’m not sure what we’re going to do!

If you are going through a divorce, or just having a hard time, I truly hope you have a family member or close friend you can trust and lean on.  Accept their love and support. I know that this time of year can be incredibly stressful and emotional.

For me, letting people help support me was one of the greatest gifts I could give myself.  We need it!  And you bless people back by letting them be there for you.  And then the cycle grows and continues.  The love flows and that’s how it should and can be!

If you have some helpful tips for how to get through these challenging times, I would be honored if you would share in the comments.  I know this community of women would be blessed by it. 

And, don’t forget:  I’m giving away my December Loves and you can enter here!  It’s a small way to give back, but I hope it blesses one of you!

Have a great evening! 

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44 Comments

  1. Kim
    December 26, 2019 / 7:22 pm

    I’m a divorced mom also, now remarried and I have to say thank you for sharing this part of your life. You’re doing fabulous!!!

    • December 26, 2019 / 7:29 pm

      Thanks Kim, I realize now how many wonderful women have been through this!

  2. Anna Hooten
    December 26, 2019 / 7:46 pm

    I’m not divorced (22 years married with 3 teenagers) but have to say thank you for keeping your blog real. I admire your honesty, love for your children and your strength to keep moving forward. 2020 will be a great year with your strength and determination. Many blessings in 2020!

    • December 26, 2019 / 8:16 pm

      Thanks so much Anna! And I’m truly happy for you and your long marriage!

  3. Kimberly Kapsiak
    December 26, 2019 / 8:10 pm

    The best advice my best friend gave me years ago was so simple, but really hit home with me. She said no matter what is going on with your ex, you should never speak bad about them around or to your child because that ex is a part of your child. When you say negative things about the other parent, you’re ultimately saying those things about your child to your child. She was so right and I never thought of it that way. I wasn’t a perfect mom, but I tired my best to follow that rule. And now that my son is an adult, I think he appreciates it that I never cut his dad down to him. He knows how I feel and he can now see why things didn’t work out. And he understands.

    • December 26, 2019 / 8:15 pm

      I 100% agree with that! The kids are half him and he loves them so much too!

    • Victoria
      December 28, 2019 / 2:22 pm

      This only works to a point. If their father is behaving badly then it is reasonable to discuss it with the child, depending on age of the child. I speak from the point of view of a child of divorce. My father was absolutely awful. And it was incredibly hard to hear the cliches “your father’s not all bad, he loves you” etc, because that wasn’t the truth. What that told me as a child was that people tell me he loves me, but he still treated me like that, so it must be my fault.

      The child is a part of the father,but it is ok to talk about a part of father’s personality and show the child that they have a choice of how they handle that in themselves. Simple example, “Your father is always late to pick you up. You can be forgetful about times too and you have a choice to plan better and not be late to meet people.”

      In a non-amicable divorce/custody, talking honestly about their father can land you in legal/custody trouble so a mother has to take such a hard decision, daily, of when to lie about father being great really, or be honest with the kids which then potentially puts everyone though more upset when father acts like an &!£@

      Even in an amicable divorce I strongly recommend some therapy for the kids. Let them talk in a safe place about how they feel. I know it would have made immeasurable difference to me to have had some honesty and therapy early.

      You’re doing great!

  4. Nicole
    December 26, 2019 / 8:11 pm

    I’m not a divorced mom but applaud you for writing this. Yes it is an encouragement to those going through the same thing but it also is an encouragement to just do the best you can and not stress if you don’t get to everything and feel it’s not perfect…it will be perfect as long as you and your family (whatever size and shape that comes in) are happy. Your honesty came across and you are just the sweetest person. I pray all blessings and happiness to you and your kiddos in the new year.

    • December 26, 2019 / 8:17 pm

      That’s a great point Nicole. We have to realize we can’t do it all, all the time! Good enough has to be good enough! 🙂

  5. Cara
    December 26, 2019 / 8:12 pm

    Thank you for sharing and being so open! I’ve been a single mom for only 3 months and have 2 young boys. Everyone keeps telling me how strong I’ve been and that I’ve done great, but the Christmas holiday was so hard and I struggled a lot. I’ve heard it takes a year to find a new normal so here’s hoping for a great 2020! Again, thank you for talking about divorce, it really helps me feel less alone as I navigate through this chapter in my life.

    • December 26, 2019 / 8:14 pm

      You are not alone Cara! Give yourself so much grace. I promise you will find your groove, but for me, at first it was just surviving. 3 months is still really fresh.

  6. Bonnie
    December 26, 2019 / 8:51 pm

    I actually found your blog as I was going through a divorce 5 or so years ago and it helped me through it. I didn’t have kids but it was still very hard and heartbreaking. It was picking myself up and getting through each day. Now I am happily married and have two amazing boys and a faithful kind husband. It gets better. Each day is easier and you create the new memories and new routines. My brother is newly divorced and has 2 girls and this was his 1st christmas and it was hard on him too. He had the kids later in the day, and it wore on him, I think he missed seeing them in the morning it’s so magical.
    Thank you for sharing. I have always wanted to mention you helped me through my divorce just reading your blog was a way to escape and inspire me. So thank you. And I pray this get easier and you are happy, you look like you’re well on your way.

  7. Renee
    December 26, 2019 / 9:58 pm

    This helped so much. Just mirroring all my feelings. First Christmas going through divorce. Thanks for making me not feel aline in my thoughts and emotions.

    • December 27, 2019 / 8:00 am

      You are not alone Renee. We’re in it together!

  8. Megan
    December 26, 2019 / 10:03 pm

    Another great post that is real and honest. I’m so glad you are doing so well Megan! And I hope when you have one of those bad days, you reflect on times like this when you were so strong and HAPPY! 2020 will be a great year!!

    • December 27, 2019 / 7:59 am

      I better hold onto this happy feeling. It’s easy to get in the weeds and feel like you’re barely treading water! I’m gonna remember what you wrote! Thank you for that!

  9. Audra
    December 26, 2019 / 10:37 pm

    Thank you so much for your very honest, vulnerable post. I’m in the middle of a divorce and am struggling in all areas. I miss my kids when I don’t have them, and the life I had hoped for them with two parents. Thank you for hope!

    • December 27, 2019 / 7:58 am

      I completely relate to what you’re feeling. Going through the divorce process sucks so bad. I have heard that your kids do well if you do well. So I wish for you strength and healing and to give yourself grace. You are doing an awesome job!

  10. Sue
    December 26, 2019 / 11:21 pm

    Megan, you are an inspiration to all single mothers. Your totally unselfish attitude about life helps your kids roll with the punches. We know it’s not easy as it looks, but you are being a wonderful mom. This post made my Christmas season.

    • December 27, 2019 / 7:56 am

      Thanks so much Sue, I’m a work in progress. This year has taught me so much.

  11. Christy
    December 26, 2019 / 11:24 pm

    I’ve been a divorced mom for 15 of my daughters 16 years. Our first Christmas alone was hard but special. When I went to make us pancakes for breakfast I dropped my last egg and stood in the kitchen and cried. But my sweet girl was thrilled with her one gift (a baby doll she still has) and brightened the day with her sweet personality.

    Tomorrow is my 11 year Anniversary with my husband and father of my second born (my son James who will be 10 January 22nd). That first Christmas alone helped me to appreciate the special parts of the holiday and the blessings of my life. Life today is happier than I could have ever imagined it could be. I find that, for myself when things are different than i expected I accept it and learn, before I know it things workout and life falls into place.

    I’ve followed you since before our boys were born (maybe we were in a babycenter group together?) So I feel like a friend and know that you will just continue to rock life they way you always do. I love when you touch on personal subjects and check in regularly because you never stear me wrong shopping.

    Merry Christmas!

    • December 27, 2019 / 7:55 am

      Oh my gosh, I could cry at that story because I totally get it. And thank you for being here for so long Christy! I recognize your name so yes, I feel like we are friends too!

  12. Meech
    December 27, 2019 / 12:07 am

    Merry Christmas!!! I am not divorced, but I just wanted to thank you for being real and sharing. I’m sure this post will help so many women, as many struggle during the holidays for one reason or another. I love that you are doing well. I just wanted to tell you that you are one of my favorite bloggers. Love your recs since we are the same size.

    • December 27, 2019 / 7:53 am

      Thank you so very much for that. I hope this post does touch someone.

  13. Astrid
    December 27, 2019 / 12:39 am

    Merry Christmas from Austria! I am following you for a few years now and didn‘t realize you got divorced. Maybe because I separated from my husband a little over a year ago myself. I am glad to hear that you are adapting well. I know it‘s harder than I thought but I finally feel more happy and content. I have a twelve year old son and I totally feel you about the guilt of feeling happy over the alone time. But beeing a single parent is exhausting and we do need some me time. Wish you all the best!!

    • December 27, 2019 / 7:53 am

      I think we can definitely relate to each other. It’s comforting to know we’re not alone.

  14. Pam
    December 27, 2019 / 12:54 am

    Hi Megan, I am new to your blog and you are inspirational. Being a divorced mom of 2 wonderful adults now brought back similar memories of living life as a single parent You are doing a beautiful job with those precious kiddos. Many blessings to you in 2020!

    • December 27, 2019 / 7:52 am

      Oh man, you know how hard it is. I never realized until I walked in these shoes. Wishing you a wonderful 2020!

  15. Christine
    December 27, 2019 / 6:07 am

    Thank you for sharing. I’ve been a divorced single mom for 9 years. You are doing a fantastic job and your kids smiles show it. It shows how happy they are as they have the love of both parents. My ex and I actually spend the holiday together with our boys. We spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day together as a family. My boys then go to Md with him for NEw Years. My heart always breaks a little when they leave but I have learned to love my alone time.

    I’m so happy that you are leaning into your feelings, that is the only way to heal. You are doing a great job mama and 2020 will only be better for you.

    • December 27, 2019 / 7:51 am

      That’s awesome for your kids to spend the holiday together. Hopefully, we can do that in the future too.

  16. Amanda
    December 27, 2019 / 7:27 am

    You’re doing an amazing job mama <3

  17. Tokyojeans
    December 27, 2019 / 8:27 am

    I’ve been reading your blog since James was a baby but it’s only now that I feel a (one-sided) bond. I’ve been divorced for 6 years and I’ve learned to roll with the ups and downs. If I’m being honest, this was the best Christmas since my divorce – no guilt, no sadness, no regrets. My kids are older so that makes it easier and I’m in a good place in my own life. Thank you for sharing this part of your life, I know it’s helped so many women – in my case it makes me feel so protective over you and other women just starting out on this journey. All the best for 2020!

  18. Lyn
    December 27, 2019 / 8:29 am

    I was devastated when my relationship with my ex-husband ended 9 years ago. Truth be told, I was more devastated that I had “failed” marriage than about the actual loss of the relationship. I ignored many so many red flags when we were dating and even more red flags after we got engaged. My kids were 5, 3 and 1 when we split up and I still don’t know how I managed to survive those years. It took over a year for my divorce to be finalized and my ex had little interest in co-parenting at that time. When he did finally start taking more parenting responsibility, I grew to love the time alone. I finally had time to take care of myself! I even got through nursing school during my first 2.5 years of single mom-hood.

    Once the dust settled and I felt ready to date, it was so incredibly liberating to date without feeling like I needed to check marriage and kids off my bucket list. I ended up meeting a pretty great guy about 7 years ago and our relationship isn’t perfect by any stretch, but it’s far healthier than my first marriage. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I wasn’t willing to settle again and I learned the importance of making sure that my needs are being met in a relationship. I was also in a great place mentally/emotionally when we met. I wasn’t a broken person hoping that someone else could make me whole.

    One thing that got me through the hard parts was knowing that things were going to be better on the other side of it. I found a lot of inspiration reading about others’ experiences with divorce and the one thing that almost everyone had in common was that they were so much happier divorced than married once the dust settled and it wasn’t so raw.

  19. Amanda
    December 27, 2019 / 10:28 am

    Thank you for sharing this time in your life. And know you are a wonderful mom. Happy moms are the best moms.

  20. Debbie
    December 27, 2019 / 11:26 am

    I have thought about you several times over the holidays. I remember the first year I had to “share” my children. It gets easier as the years/holidays come and go. It looks like James and Jordan are doing great and you are handling everything with such grace. You have many of us praying for you and are here to let you know that life may be different now, but it can also be wonderful. God has a perfect plan for your life and now you just have to anxiously wait to see what He will do. Happy New Year!

  21. Jen
    December 27, 2019 / 12:09 pm

    This is my 4th Christmas as a divorced mama. Each one gets better. I remind the kids that they have more homes filled with love and Christmas spirit. My ex and I have created a great working relationship for the sake of our children. I take Christmas Eve every year and he gets Christmas day. We don’t fight, we help each other out, we got to kids events together. My advice is be the best together that you can for the sake of your children. They will appreciate it!! It is hard to not have my children 100% of the time but I have learned to embrace that time to cook, clean, read, watch tv, have ME time. AND I remind myself they are loving their time with their dad so I need to stop being sad. My mom and my sister have been my rocks. You are doing a fabulous job and every day will get better. Your kids can be just as happy in 2 homes as long as you are happy.

  22. Sara
    December 27, 2019 / 12:35 pm

    I’m a divorced mother of 2, now remarried with 2 step children so we are a blended family and it is complex at times! I was on my own with my children for a few years when they were similar ages to your two Megan and, whilst it was hard and I felt I had failed, a part of me was also really proud of myself for being able to move on and move out of an unhappy relationship in which I could not thrive or shine. Those years on my own with the children have such special memories and we are so bonded because of the time. Thank you for sharing all your news and ideas and suggestions and smiles with us Megan – I love your posts and your stories and have been following you since James was little. My very best wishes to you for a very Happy New Year xxxx

  23. Lindsey
    December 27, 2019 / 1:41 pm

    I love that you are sharing this for others who may be going through something similar. All your content, while pretty and helpful, is also so authentic, and I love following your journey. You really do feel like a friend to your followers. You are exuding such grace during this time, and I’m so glad to read that you are finding that joy again and are truly happy. Many blessings to you!

  24. Tricia
    December 27, 2019 / 4:47 pm

    I just want to say kudos to you for giving your children a wonderful Christmas. You can see from their faces how happy they are. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time – always one of my favorites. Great job Mama!

  25. Rebecca
    December 27, 2019 / 5:03 pm

    I understand the feelings you have about the children growing up in a single-parent home. I grew up in a single-parent home and as long as they know you love them, and they do, they’ll be OK. And they still see their dad which is really important and really great. You have faith which is the most important thing and as long as you keep doing what you’re doing and let God do the rest it’ll all be OK. And you have so many people who love you and care about you and we’re all here for you.

  26. Susan
    December 28, 2019 / 9:16 am

    I have followed your blog for a few years now and I appreciate how real you keep it. I have been divorced for almost 10 years now and I have been where you are. It’s SO HARD at times. But you are a strong, amazing woman, mom, daughter, friend and inspiration to those who don’t even know you. It does get better and better with time. I am happy, my kids are happy and everyday is a gift. Wishing you and yours all the best in 2020!

  27. Christa
    December 30, 2019 / 10:50 am

    I’m also a divorced mom of two young kids and appreciate you sharing! I can relate to all the feelings you shared. The holidays can be very bittersweet and exhausting but also full of joy just remember to take care of yourself and don’t feel selfish for allowing time to rest and relax… you gotta take care of yourself so you can be the best mom for your babies! Happy holidays and prayers!

  28. Beth
    January 1, 2020 / 8:13 am

    This post is spot on! I’ve been divorced for 7 years, my kids were 6 ad 4 at the time. At the time, when they went to their dads, I would often find myself on the couch watching movies or reading books all day. I was exhausted. I gave myself the time it took to recharge myself then I would get up and get stuff done. Good is definitely good enough ! I had to let certain things go and focus on what mattered to me and my kids the most. Good for you for putting this out there and sharing your life with others!

    • January 1, 2020 / 11:14 am

      It’s so good to hear I’m not alone and that it was the same experience for you. I’m hoping it gets easier as time goes on.

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