I fell into a depression when I separated and was in a sad and dark place.
Now my daughter who is 15, gets the benefit of Christmas in both homes.
At times I say that she is a healthy happy and contented child and if my childhood could have been as good I would be okay and maybe have grown up better.
My tips at Christmas would be to put the child first , seek consultation rather than confrontation and quality time is better than quantity.
Do what is in the best interests of the child and when the child is happy, you are happy and it will mirror back into the overall wellbeing of everybody.
I have to say that any marriage breakdown or relationship can be the biggest nightmare that an individual may experience, it is life changing and can have a serious impact on your mental and physical health.
Many men resort to alcohol and substance abuse and then when they realise it is doing more harm than good it can be too late.
It is best to get the proper support from groups that fully understand what you are going through rather than bar room advisors.
I am in a good place in my life today and when I look back on all that has gone on I regret a lot of it and I also think to myself what the hell was I doing destroying myself.
The children grow up and they move on so it is important to look after yourself because if you are no good to yourself you are no good to your children and no good to Life in general.
I had to come home to a rented room - it was a single bed - and as time progressed, I rebuilt my strength , determination and know how and many men are waiting for someone else to do it for them when they need to do more for themselves.
It is the child’s right to love and be cared for by both parent’s, even if it is in a divided unit.
Children need PRESENCE not PRESENTS because cards and gifts are for Christmas, a parent is for life.