Most of us love the holidays and the connection of family and friends that comes along with it. Decorations on display, lights twinkling, the joy on the faces of children and an overall sense of magic in the air makes this time of year so special and my personal favorite. Sharing your traditions and celebrating with your baby makes this year especially precious and full of wonder.
Along with the excitement, comes the additional planning, organizing and juggling our hectic everyday life along with the extra activities of the season. If you are anything like me, you try to juggle it all, fit in as much as possible, and find yourself overwhelmed more than one time in the process.
Plan and Set Boundaries
Holiday celebrations bring together friends and family that you may not see frequently; some of them may not have even met your newest addition yet. While it’s an exciting time to introduce your amazing little bundle, sharing your newborn with loved ones can be difficult and anxiety ridden. Talk with your partner and establish a plan and boundaries that you both are comfortable with.
Possible things to discuss:
-How many parties/dinners/activities you should attend
-How long you will stay at each activities
-Who is allowed to handle the baby
-How long to allow baby to be held by others
-How to incorporate baby’s schedule (naps, feedings, etc.)
-If breastfeeding, where and when to nurse the baby
-A code word to indicate that either of you want to leave an activity early
Connect with Your Partner
A new baby in the house definitely changes the dynamics of a relationship; then you add the holidays and things seem to speed up and it’s easy for anyone to find themselves stressed out. Remember the holidays are the time to appreciate your loved ones, so set aside some time dedicated to your other half.
One thing becoming a parent has taught me is the need to be flexible. Although having a plan is important, the unexpected is a guarantee when you have a baby. Having to change or cancel plans is a regular occurrence in parenthood. By being prepared to shuffle things around is a true asset to juggling life with a baby.
Take a Moment (or 2) for You
Taking care of yourself is important during postpartum. The holidays are great but often come with added stress. Make sure you take some time for you and put your feet up. Self-care is one of the best ways to ensure that you are being the best partner, parent, daughter/son, and sister/brother that you can be.
Life can be overwhelming and when things get super busy, such as holiday time, and everyone deserves a little R&R. So snuggle up with a book and a glass of wine while your partner puts the baby to sleep; you have earned it.
Take Note of the Little Moments
The little things that happen are often what stick with us the most. Take a moment to soak in the feeding that pulled you away from your baking marathon. Snap a quick picture of your husband or wife napping on the couch with the glow of the Christmas tree lights behind them.
These are the moments that make all the chaos worth it and they happen so fast. We want to make this holiday perfect for our family, especially when we have a new baby. They only get 1 first holiday and we want to make as many memories as we can. Finding the happiness and joy in the little moments and allowing them to fill your heart, will make the best memories for you to reflect on.
Gentle and Kind
Everyone is under pressure to get a laundry-list of things done for the holidays and we all struggle at some point. I believe that as parents, we tend to put a lot more pressure on ourselves than anyone else. Remember that as we share holiday cheer and forgiveness with our family and friends, and spread kindness to strangers (hello, Dunkin Donuts pay-it-forward), we also need to be gentle with ourselves.
Most people tend to be their own biggest critics. From forgetting to dry the shirt you wanted to wear to dropping the plate of cookies you spent the afternoon baking to packing the wrong lovey for your little one, you might spend the rest of the day beating yourself up about it. It happens to the best of us and the best way to make the most out of the rest of your holiday is to not dwell on those little mistakes and make the most out of all the good to celebrate this year.
Forgive yourself, be kind to yourself, be gentle with yourself.