The Struggle is Real :: Dividing My Time Between My Divorced Parents at the Holidays

I am starting to get anxious about the holidays and pleasing everyone. It is such a struggle to balance it all that I do not even want to attend.

We live far from family so we always travel for the holidays. It adds to the difficulty, but it feels less lonely than being home without any extended family.

My parents are divorced and happily remarried, but juggling them is a balancing act. It always feels as if I am disappointing someone. Someone is always asking why I spent more time at the other parent’s, who’s home are we staying at, and for how long. I understand that these are important questions to answer but even writing this, I am being conscientious about not singling out one of my parents.

I feel as if I am constantly walking on eggshells.

Even when I spend an equal amount of time at each house it is a hassle. It usually takes a day or two for my children to get settled and sleep well. As soon as we have somewhat of a bedtime routine it is time to move to the other house. I feel like I spend my entire holiday yelling “help me pack your things! Just get in the car!” My children are young, they do not understand the dynamic. For the most part, they are happy to see everyone and play. What they do not like is my stress coming out as anger and frustration.

I spend every second of every visit trying to make sure that everyone is happy. I hardly sleep and worry myself sick. I spend these trips with chronic headaches. I sometimes feel as if I neglect the people that I know will not get mad at me. I know they do not judge me as I am struggling to balance it all. They do not harass me and therefore I see them the least. As they say, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

This topic of fairness causes a lot of anxiety. I even worried about writing this article. I worry about people who legitimately need a divorce worrying about their children. I worry about how my parents will feel, how my stepparents will feel. I worry about the people who will think I am whining, those who think I should move on. I tell myself to get over it, that this is part of life, but it feels unfair that my feelings about it all are insignificant.

A friend said it best: amazingly, a decision two people made twenty plus years ago can still make such an impact on my life today. I feel like they have moved on but I am still dealing with the aftermath. I am 35 years old and still on a rotating schedule. I long for some peace about how I handle visitation.

I want my family to give me the benefit of the doubt and understand that I am trying my best to make it work.

I have decided that I need to make my husband and children my top priority, set boundaries for the others, and choose what is least stressful.

I am going to choose a place to stay and stay there for the entirety of the trip, visit the others, and if anyone questions that I will reply that I am doing what is best for my family. I hope that you will too.


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