Coping with Not Being there: The Struggle of Separated Parents during Celebrations

The end of a relationship can be an emotionally challenging time, especially when children are involved. The situation is even more difficult for separated parents who can no longer share holidays and special occasions like birthdays with their children. In this blog post, we will explore the struggle of separated parents during celebrations, and how they can cope with not being there after a breakup.

Acknowledging Your Feelings

Divorce, marriage, relationship or breakup – whatever led you to being a separated parent, the pain of not being able to spend important celebrations with your children can be excruciating. It’s normal to feel a range of emotions during these times – sadness, anger, loneliness, guilt – and it’s important to acknowledge and accept these feelings.

Allow yourself to grieve the loss of being a family unit during these special occasions. It’s okay to cry, to reminisce about past celebrations, and to feel a sense of emptiness. Trying to suppress these feelings can only make the situation worse.
Take some time to process your emotions, whether it’s through talking with a friend, therapist or journaling. Remember that it’s natural to have ups and downs during the holiday season or your child’s birthday, but these feelings will pass with time.

Planning Ahead

When a relationship ends, planning ahead for special occasions can be especially challenging. Holidays, birthdays, and other celebrations that were once a time of joy and togetherness can now be filled with anxiety and sadness. As a separated parent, it is important to plan ahead for these events to help alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty.
Start by creating a calendar and marking the dates of special occasions. This will help you stay organized and give you time to prepare. If possible, try to come up with a plan with your ex-partner about how you will celebrate with your children. This can include scheduling specific times for phone calls or video chats, coordinating gift giving, or sharing travel arrangements.

It may also be helpful to consider your own personal plans for the day. Surrounding yourself with supportive family and friends, planning a fun activity, or doing something charitable can help shift your focus from the negative emotions of the breakup to positive memories and experiences.

Remember that while it can be difficult to not be physically present with your children during these special occasions, there are still ways to stay connected and show your love. The key is to plan ahead and approach these events with a positive and proactive mindset.

Focusing on the Positive

When going through a breakup or divorce, it can be easy to get caught up in the negative aspects of not being able to see your children during holidays or special occasions. However, it’s important to focus on the positive aspects of the situation as well.

For example, you may have more time to pursue hobbies or interests that you’ve been putting off due to your relationship or marriage. You may have the opportunity to start dating and meet new people, or even have a chance to strengthen existing friendships and relationships. Additionally, by being separated, you have the chance to develop a new perspective on life and discover new possibilities for growth and happiness.

It’s important to recognize that there are many positive aspects of being a separated parent, even though it may be difficult at times. By focusing on the positives, you can maintain a healthy and optimistic outlook, which can help you cope with the challenges of not being there for your children during special events. So take some time to reflect on the good things in your life, and appreciate the opportunities that your situation has presented you with.


Going through a breakup can be difficult, especially when you’re not able to see your children during special occasions like Christmas or birthdays. It’s important to acknowledge your feelings and plan ahead to cope with the situation. Remember to focus on the positive moments that you’ve shared with your children in the past and look forward to creating new memories with them in the future. If you’re struggling to cope, don’t hesitate to reach out to a coach or counselor who can offer support and guidance. Whether you’re navigating the challenges of dating, divorce, marriage, or any other type of relationship, it’s important to prioritize your mental and emotional wellbeing. So, take care of yourself and stay strong for your children. And if you have any questions, feel free to give us a call and mention Coach Bra