The 7 Hardest Parts of Being a Single Parent Over The Holidays

by Kristin Perpignano
Originally Published: 

Parenting can be challenging for all of us. And as a single mother, I often feel like I’m tackling life while missing an important appendage. I’ve been doing the One-Armed-Mom dance for many years now, and I can say with certainty that the holiday season is routinely the biggest kick in the face. These are a few of the hardest parts of being a single parent over the holidays:

1. Negotiating who gets the kid this year. Even though it’s been several holidays since she figured out that Santa was a big sham, it’s hard to wake up on Christmas morning and not see the joy in my daughter’s eyes when she sees presents under the tree. But denying her the bliss of sharing the holiday with her father, his family, and a million cousins who all live a stones throw from one another, well, that’s just some Mommie Dearest shit.

2. Getting time off from work. My daughter gets two weeks off at Christmas. I get two weeks off a year. Usually I am able to patch together enough kid-coverage, between a flexible office environment, family, friends, and YMCA holiday camp, but it’s never easy.

3. Well-meaning friends and relatives who ask, “Isn’t it hard not having your kid on Christmas?” No, it’s awesome. I truly love watching my dog eat his Christmas rawhide instead of my daughter tearing open packages. Come on, guys. You know it sucks.

4. Damage Control after your child celebrates five consecutive Christmases. Two sets of grandparents, step-grandparents, two parents, and a heaping dollop of guilt equals holiday overload.

5. Christmas lists via group text. My daughter’s dad got her an iphone this year, so she decided to mass-text everyone her Christmas list. This resulted in my own phone buzzing every 5 seconds for about a week as everyone responded and asked questions. It’s always nice to get a text alert and glance down to see that it’s your kid’s stepmother. Again.

6. Missing grown-up festivities. I don’t know if this is really such a hardship, actually. I’m generally a homebody who would prefer a glass of wine on my couch in my ripped yoga pants to a glitzy holiday shindig. And shelling out money for a babysitter just so I can prove I still know how to apply glitter eyeliner really seems kind of wasteful. Still, it is nice to socialize with grownups while wearing a dress. If memory serves.

7. Money. By far my least favorite thing about the holidays. It wakes me up at 3AM in a panic. There just never seems to be enough. But somehow, year after year, I make it happen. And we don’t end up on the street.

Year after year, I try to do preventive things to avoid holiday stress, but somehow I always end up, come December, wishing I’d asked my doctor for some of those ‘nerve pills’ the neighborhood ladies whisper about. But I get through it, because when all is said and done, this whole crazy season is really all about her.

Related post: An Apology To Single Parents

This article was originally published on