Holidays with Divorced Parents: A Balancing Act

By Gracie Riley
Staff writer

The countdown to winter break has officially begun. The leaves have all fallen, the temperature is dropping, midterms are over, and students are practically drooling about eating anything other than buffalo chicken wraps and dining hall quesadillas.

While memories of consuming massive amounts pumpkin pie, turkey and stuffing dance in college students’ heads, for some terps the holiday season is a little more complicated.

When freshman government and politics major Audrey Anderle went home to Ohio for break, she celebrated multiple Thanksgiving dinners. One was spent with her dad and stepmom, one with her stepmom’s family, and another with her actual mother. Although this means triple the turkey, Anderle admits that “holidays with divorced parents is stressful because it is a constant balancing act between giving parents equal amounts of attention.”

However, at the same time, Anderle is grateful that her parents have maintained a civil relationship with each other since their divorce approximately 8 years ago.

Anderle confessed that although “it’s a strange family dynamic, it is also a good one,” one she would not dare give up.

Anderle looks at her parent’s divorce as “more family to love and more family to love me back.”

Photo Courtesy of the Huffington Post

Celebrating the holidays is different for each family. Some students do not share the same luxury of having parents close enough together to celebrate each holiday with them both.

Sophomore journalism major Chris Rogers recalled his holiday experiences growing up with his mom living in the D.C. area and his dad across the country in San Diego.  Although Rodgers grew accustomed to constantly traveling, he admitted that growing up and celebrating holidays with divorced parents is “hard in some senses.”

“Although you do get two celebrations for every birthday, Thanksgiving or Christmas, no matter if I was with my mom or dad for the holidays, I always felt a little left out somewhere,” Rodgers said.

Thankfully, Rodgers vividly remembers his parents explaining to him that Santa would visit him twice: once in D.C. and again a few days later in San Diego.

Two visits from Santa Claus would be any child’s dream.

Divorce is never easy, but Rodgers feels especially fortunate. “I am thankful that each parent would always do their best to give me the full holiday experience,” he said.

Divorce can be tricky, especially when your parents refuse to get along. Brita Hawtof, a freshman business undecided major, is all too familiar with this.

Balancing time between parents during the school year has proved to be more difficult than during the chaotic holiday season.

Hawtof’s father is Jewish while her mother is Christian so, at least in December, there is no conflict because Hawtof can celebrate Hanukkah with her dad and Christmas with her mom.

Although there still remains a bit of tension between her parents, Hawtof joked that “since my dad is Jewish and my mom is Christian, we call December Hanukamas.”

The holidays are a time to be happy and thankful for family, friends and good food. Fortunately, no matter the circumstance, Maryland terps are taking advantage of the break from dining halls and exams, and enjoying time with the people that love them most.


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