The Holiday Season Is Here and Again I Feel Bad My Kids Have a Broken Home

Elle Silver

My children are missing out on a warm, fuzzy holiday experience with a cohesive family unit. Still, it’s for the best that my ex and I are divorced.
Photo by Kristina Paukshtite from Pexels

The other night, my ex-husband took the kids and me to a nearby Christmas tree lot to buy a tree for my house. Yes, my ex-husband drove us there. He has an SUV with the room to bring a tree home.

This might sound weird to a lot of people — that my ex-husband came along with us to get a Christmas tree, seeing that we're divorced. I don’t think it’s weird at all though.

I’m doing my best to get along with my ex-husband for the good of our children. So we were all in the car, driving to this lot. That’s when my youngest exclaimed, “Look, the whole family is together!” 

The glee in his voice. He was so happy! The joy rushed over me as well. 

And then just as quickly I felt sorrow. 

My son was only so cheerful because we’re so rarely all together as a family. What I mean is that my ex-husband and I are so rarely together with our kids. 

He and I are now living separate lives with new partners. The children are growing up in two distinct households, splitting their time between two parents. 

This has been hard on our kids. Their home is broken.

It’s especially difficult during the holidays.

Our children want to be with both of their parents on holidays.  

But sure, as I mentioned, my ex and I are doing our best to be civil as a means to effectively co-parent our children. That’s meant putting aside our differences to form a united front to make our kids' lives happy.

But still, nothing can fix the fact that our home was broken by divorce.

This Christmas, the kids will be with me. On Thanksgiving, they were with my ex. 

My sons told me they wished I was with them on Thanksgiving. They were sad I wasn’t. 

I spent the holidays with my boyfriend. I missed them, too. 

They’ll be with me for Christmas — and they’re excited about that. But this also means they’ll spend Christmas away from their dad.

The kids want to be with both parents on every holiday. 

Yes, my boyfriend and I still try to create amazing holidays when we have my children with us. My ex and his fiancée try to do the same.

But still, the home is broken. The kids want to have both their parents together for the holidays. 

That’s impossible. Their father and I are divorced.

Many families aren’t happy on holidays.

But I get it — a lot of people stay married when they shouldn’t. They spend the holidays arguing and make their children miserable as a result. 

If a couple isn’t fighting while their kids watch, then family members are bickering with each other. This can be an oppressive situation for children.

Sometimes breaking up the family is for the best. It was for us. And yet, I still feel terrible that my children aren’t getting the cozy feeling of spending the holidays with their cohesive family unit. 

The holidays are stressful times even between the happiest of families. 

Maybe I’m being too hard on myself. Even the happiest of families struggle during the holidays. And when I think about reality, no matter how bad I might feel that my kids are growing up in a broken home, had my ex and I remained together, that would have been worse for our kids. 

My ex and I fought so much during one holiday season that I was uninvited by my now-ex-in-laws to go on their annual holiday trip. Now that my ex and I are divorced, the season is much calmer.

And so, I do my best to create the warm, fuzzy experience of happy family holidays for my children. But still, nothing can fix the fact that our home was broken by divorce. 

My children will forever miss out on the joys of being with both parents on holidays. 

It’s just the way it is. 

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Journalist and relationships expert. I write about Los Angeles as well as about dating, divorce, and family.

Los Angeles, CA

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