122 | CITISCAPES | DECEMBER 2018 t’s the most wonderful time of the year! ‘Tis the season to pick out the perfect tree, deck all the halls, decorate sugar cookies and binge-watch holiday movies on Hallmark Channel. December is for family traditions. It’s a month full of annual activities and celebrating your own brand of customs with those you love most. But, for some parents, it’s also a time of what I like to call Holiday FOMO. FOMO: fear of missing out For many newly single parents, myself included, this holiday season will bring changes in family traditions. This is the first Christmas I will not see my 4-year-old daughter, rumpled with sleep in her red plaid nightgown, staring at all the gifts Santa brought in the night. Since she was tiny, my mama has read ’Twas the Night Before Christmas to her on Christmas Eve, and it breaks my heart a little to know that tradition is getting skipped this year. I won’t see my girl until 2 o’clock in the afternoon on Christmas Day, and it’s already killing me. I’ll be honest, I’m bitter that I have to share her. Bitterness may not be the best emotion to display during the holiday season, I admit, but I want that time with my baby, by golly. It’s true that she deserves and needs the same holiday time with her father as she does with me, just as he needs and deserves it with her. Sharing holidays and missing out on part of her sweet memories is pure parental torture. It’s enough to make a person want to get an early start on the eggnog. Well, fellow single parents, we can either dwell in the sad state of Holiday FOMO or we can dig deep and make new traditions. Since my daughter will be with her dad the full week before Christmas, I’ll be turning up the clock a little on some of our normal activities. For example, our Great Holiday Cookie Baking Bonanza is getting moved to the first week of December. Now, you and I both know those cookies won’t last until Santa’s appearance, but, hey, that just means another batch will get baked. Bonus cookies are always a win! Maybe we’ll be reading ’Twas the Night Before Christmas a little early this year, but do you think my mama is going to complain? Nope, she just wants her time with her grandbaby. I haven’t done this before, so I’m making a plan — a survival guide of sorts — to get through December, especially the week of Christmas, in one piece. The first of the month will be jam-packed with activities as I try to fit in all of our beloved traditions into a smaller window of time. Then, for the week of Christmas, I’m going to try to go about my business as if it were any other week. I’ll also spend some time preparing extra special activities for Christmas Day when we are back together again. If you have single-parent Holiday FOMO as well, I encourage you to lean on your friends and family to distract you. If this is your first solo-parenting Christmas, it’s vital that you allow your people to love on you, feed you, and welcome you into their homes. Allow yourself to start new traditions to enjoy, sans kids. Personally, I’m going to welcome Christmas morning with a mimosa and waffles. I’m not sure which family member I’m going to impose on, but I’ll bring enough to share. Because here’s the thing, I refuse to live with Holiday FOMO and you should refuse, too. So pick up a ham, head to your neighbor’s, and rejoice in the season without a single fear of what you’re missing out on. Cheers and Merry Christmas! ■ Kathryn Doland is a Northwest Arkansas native and works as the bookkeeper for her church, Christian Life Cathedral in Fayetteville. She can also be seen driving around with her daughter, windows down, performing Disney sing-a-longs for the world to enjoy. For more humor and positivity, follow her on Instagram at @braceherself. THE FINAL SAY | BY K ATHRYN DOLAND I When Holiday FOMO Hits Single Parents