The Single Mom’s Guide To Surviving (Co-)Parenting During The Holidays

For single moms, long-standing daily routines often change during the holidays. You may suddenly find yourself alone and missing your kiddo if the child’s other parent has visitation. Or you may feel increasingly stressed if there’s no help in sight, leaving you to take on the bulk of holiday shopping, preparing meals, hosting visitors, and budgeting for gifts by yourself. 

Regardless of the parenting arrangements in your family, there are some steps you can take to keep overwhelming emotions at bay, protect your wallet from overspending, and navigate the holidays with aplomb, single mom style. 

  • If your child will be with their other parent for the holidays, try to make the most of your “time off”. Make plans with friends 3-4 weeks ahead of time so you don’t end up scrambling to find something to do last minute. Even if you think you want to be alone, make the plans anyway. Cancel if you must, but leave your options open. 
  • Create a tradition of celebrating early if your child will not be with you. Go to the drive-in, bake homemade cookies, try something new. Just because your child won’t be with you on the actual holiday doesn’t  mean you can’t create magical memories of the season.
  • Map out a holiday plan with your child(ren’s) input and interest in mind. Allow them to participate in deciding what activities and new traditions will create happy memories and get them involved with the decision making.
  • If you have teens, agree to let them spend time with friends. Having them all to yourself can be fun, but this can also make your teen feel isolated. Allow them to celebrate and enjoy a few moments with the good friends that support them throughout the year. 
  • Don’t give in to the guilt trap. If you are a complete solo mom with no co-parent, try to resist the temptation to overspend. You may feel that you have to compensate for the missing parent, doubling up on gifts and depleting your bank account in the process. Tackle the issue head-on and talk to your child (when age-appropriate). Be open and honest. Concentrate on their feelings and emotions instead of material wants. 
  • Stay present and focus on your children. If you have them with you during the holiday season, being mentally present and emotionally available is the biggest gift you or your children could ask for. Put the phone down, get on their level, chat, and play.
  • If you feel down, call a friend. Take a deep breath. Go for a nice long walk or take a soak in the tub. Do a little yoga or meditation. Read a good book. Cry it out – for a minute or two, then move forward with care and understanding that this, too, will pass. Be kind to yourself. 

Take care of you. Self-care during the holiday’s is crucial, even more so when you are a single mom. Take time out to visualize what you want to see and experience – for your own life and for your children – as the new year approaches. 

Journal, create a vision board, do a no-social-media day and just…dream. 


Neferteri Plessy is a trailblazer for mom entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders. A sought-after motivational speaker, Neferteri has coached over 5,000 women into living their best life now. As the founder and CEO of Single Moms Planet, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit, she has developed programming, events and resources which have not only uplifted and inspired thousands of mothers, but also celebrated their amazing achievements. She is the creator of the “Smart Mommy” brand, a global movement that empowers mothers in business. Neferteri has been featured in The Huffington Post, BBC News, MSN Lifestyle, KIIS FM, and the cover of LA Weekly.

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