Spring Break and Divorce in Ontario
Spring Break is upon us and with tens of thousands of Ontario students out of school for a week (or two), there is an excited energy out there. Airports will soon be overloaded with holiday travellers seeking to escape the winter weather.
However, what was designed to be an opportunity to rest, relaxation and rejuvenation for both children and their parents; can sometimes become a source of stress, particularly for separated and divorced families.
Who will the kids be with? Do we share the time? I don’t want him/her to take the kids away. I can’t possibly top what he/she did last year. I can’t afford to …
We can easily get caught up in the pressures of holiday time when all these emotions get mixed in. Wasn’t this supposed to be a ‘break’?
So how do you thrive when all these emotions get mixed in?
First of all, stop trying to ‘top’ what the other parent did last year. If your schedule is an alternating spring break with the kids, don’t focus so much on how much money you spend or trying to ‘one-up’ last year’s experience. As a former teacher, I often heard kids talk about ‘connection time’ more than anything. Ever notice how you might take a child to an amusement park, spend a fortune on that ‘souvenir’ only to have it end up under the bed or at the bottom of a closet, quickly discarded and forgotten? But ask a child about the bonfire singing at grandma’s cottage last summer and they’ll tell you every detail of that magical night.
That is not to say that travel experiences aren’t full of wonderful memories. Who wouldn’t love to spend a week in a warm climate or at a Disney Park after the frigid winter we experienced in Waterloo Region? If your ex is planning that vacation with the kids, release them to have a great time. Kids never want to leave a parent if they think that parent will feel bad. Let them go, knowing that a healthy childhood is about healthy relationships with both parents. Besides, you never want your adult children to ask: ‘why didn’t you let us go…”
If you are not travelling this March break and have the kids, there are so many things happening across the region of Waterloo. With the long and cold winter, our many outdoor rinks will likely still be in full operation. And with milder temperatures, an afternoon of skating can be a great way to spend time with the kids. Chicopee is running March break specials for those who are daring enough to venture to the slopes or want to try out a day of tubing. St Jacobs is running tours of the Maple Sugar Bush for a little education and sweet treat. For those who would rather not be out in the cold, consider checking out Kitchener’s THEMUSEUM for tons of March Break activities (there are some interesting adult displays there too)! And if you are really feeling like venturing out of your comfort zone, how about the Bugfeast at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory? Finally, many people who are separated feel that the photos get divided, leaving very few kids ‘pics’ for each parent. Check out scottmcquarrie.com for “A Day In the Life” – and get a professional photography session with your kids.
So whether you are sharing time or spending the whole week, remember it’s the quality time spent together that counts, not the dollars you spend. And even if you are not going anywhere, then sometimes the simple break from a routine like sleeping in, playing, talking can be fun! That’s what creates lasting memories.
(PS And if it’s not your turn with the children, then take some time to relax from the everyday routine yourself – sleep in, rest, play)
Author: Colette Fortin, Owner Fairway Divorce Solutions Waterloo-Wellington/Kitchener