Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate – and happy holidays to those who do not.

I’m not sure which category I fall into this year.

Until today I have been off work since 9th December. What a treat. 18 days of rest, relaxation and preparation for the festive period. Of course I made a few plans: saw a couple of people for lunch, visited some exhibitions: cleaned and tidied and sorted a bit …

The holiday days themselves my children were with their father on Christmas Day and I had planned some stuff to do alone; the 26th my mother came for lunch.

All very nice. Certainly more relaxed and prepared than some years when I finished work at 6pm on Christmas Eve and rush back on 27th …So I dressed the house with care, got out all the decorations, including a Christmas Village scene given to me by me late father in law some years ago and a flying singing, noise triggered Santa to suspend from the light fitting; strung fairy lights through the palm in the front garden and wound foliage through the banisters; I bought multiple candles and lit them with a childlike simple pleasure. I planned meals, ordered food and cooked puddings and cakes as well as inviting family and friends over. I enjoyed pottering around my home and making it ‘nice’; I enjoyed walking the dog most days in the brisk Winter mornings; I enjoyed planning and cooking and I enjoyed being clear headed, not hungover, not excessive …

On the 22nd my brother and his family came for an early Christmas lunch. Apart from difficult behaviour by son #3 (which is unusual) it was a lovely day. I enjoy seeing my brother and sister in law and the light hearted banter of their family. We had a great day.

After that, not so much. Christmas itself was a bit of a let down (but then that’s what I expected, given that the children were with their father) Yesterday, tense and crabby with son #2 eating nothing at lunch because his father had given them literally scores of chocolate bars the previous day and he had finished the lot. Maybe it shouldn’t matter, but it did. My lovingly prepared lunch pushed aside after two mouthfuls because hes been eating chocolate all morning. Cue argument; cue son#2 telling me I’m grumpy since I stopped drinking (thanks mate).


I feel lost really. No fun. Festivities are hard with no alcohol, at least I find them so. Looking at the wreckage of my ‘family’ makes me deeply sad. Realising (again) that my ex husband has no interest in ‘parenting’  – just in being popular eg buying a very overweight 15 year old 2kg of chocolate at Christmas …

That taking away their electronic stuff (PS4 and phones) doesn’t result in them wanting to spend time with me – son2 barely uttered 10 sentences to me apart from disagreements …

back to work doesn’t seem so bad really… and that’s sad in itself …


  1. My dad once told me that my daughter had to “divorce” me so that she could come back one day. She did! It took a while (8 years or so), but it happened, just the way he said. And he has four daughters, so he knows. Don’t worry too much about the son. My daughter couldn’t tolerate being in the same room with me for years, and I wasn’t happy with her attitude either. But now she’s grown up and spends her vacations with me by choice. Who knew?

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  2. The alcohol didn’t make things more fun. It just helped us care less about all the real stuff.
    My kids ate too much chocolate too.
    An argument ensued over getting a family picture and I had to be the bitchy mom.
    One kid didn’t like his big gift. I almost cried.
    I decided this year it was brunch, no dinner. It was a good choice.

    And later that day we played clue.

    Holidays are fragile. There are too many expectations. I am still learning that how others act is not my responsibility. It’s slowly happening.

    Hugs to you. You are changing everything. It’s hard! But worth it for your own peace of mind.

    Merry Christmas,

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    • Thanks Anne. I thought my expectations were low. I thought I had come to terms with the family set up that I have. But not low enough it seems and not really accepted … Lily x


  3. Oh Lily I am sorry. You are doing everything right and deserve the rewards. I know they will come. Stay the course, my friend. I keep reminding myself and my kids – gratitude, gratitude for what is good and thoughtful reflection about how to course correct on things we want to change. Have a wonderful New Years!


  4. Hang in there! Your son is being a grumpy teenage son – we had a big family Xmas (which I wrote about and then hit send and it failed!!) and my nieces and nephews who adore me and their grandparents still threw tantrums and often wanted to play video games or do other things instead of be with me!
    As mentioned above as well the expectations as Xmas are huge and most adults feel overly sensitive and fragile. Booze doesn’t make it better / just makes you feel able to ignore things!
    This is such a big transition period for you, your sons – you’re doing everything right! When your kid gets older and he sees what you did and how hard you worked and tried for them, for yourself he will be so damn proud!!

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