Holidays can be some of the most miserable times for parents who are recently divorced. Shuffling the kids between parents feels foreign and uncomfortable. But it gets better with time, practice, and lots of planning and communication. Here’s how to cope. The first holiday I experienced after my divorce was Thanksgiving. My ex took our kids to New York City to see his family, and I found myself alone for the first time since I could remember. I’d had three kids in four years and been home raising them for more than a decade. After they left I walked around the house for a couple of hours, circling the quiet like an old golden Lab trying to figure out where to land. I ended up calling a friend who was three years into her divorce and whose kids were with her ex. After talking for a long time, we decided…

The first time my daughter had a school friend over, the mom marched through our living room and parked herself at my kitchen table. (I’d met her once.) I thought, “Ummm…is she going to stay here the whole time?” Yes, she was, and yes she did. That was the start of the small village that became my life in the years to come. Village friends are people with children the same age, living a parallel life at the same point in time. We crave company, commiseration and venting. Suddenly we’re together waiting in lines, watching games, figuring out carpools, bitching about teachers and coaches. Eventually we’re downloading daily on all things Kid—from truly important to completely inane. Yet as organically as it all goes down, the village would obviously never be if not for our kids. That is what makes these friendships so different from others. But in the village,…

Telling it like it is. Wisdom and candor from a single mom raising three kids. Life has been pulling something over on me ever since I became a parent, and it’s taken me this long to figure it out. My parents constantly told my siblings and me that when we turned 18 their job was over—we’d be adults. (A little aside: I’m five out of seven. My mom should have been sainted. Of course, I didn’t know that then.) This turning 18 thing is like a decree we bow down to and never question. It’s as if we universally imagine a switch turning on and suddenly our kids are grown up and responsible. Borrowed cars will be returned with more than fumes in the tank, empty cereal boxes will no longer be put back in the cabinet, and the terror we experience when they come home late without texting will…