managing the holidays

The first holiday season with your new baby can be exciting, but also overwhelming. Managing the holiday season with a baby in tow takes a little bit of flexibility. All the events, projects, and/or shopping you did pre-baby may seem daunting this year. That’s normal. There are so many factors at play now that a new human has entered your life: you may want to set up new traditions with your baby, maybe you don’t want to host anyone at your house anymore, or maybe you haven’t figured out the role of in-laws and grandparents in your post-baby reality. Wherever the overwhelm stems from, be cognizant of it and put measures into place so that it doesn’t take the joy out of your celebration.

Here are a few tips to managing the holiday season that I’ve learned in my seven years of holidays with babies in tow (don’t worry – I’m still learning!)

  1. Talk with your partner about the different responsibilities you may have. Clarify ones that are non-negotiable (maybe making time to see your in-laws is something that you both know needs to happen) and list those that are “extras” (like 9 dozen cookies), Any “extras” that you feel like you can cut out, do it. Just because you don’t do something one holiday season, doesn’t mean you won’t ever do it again.
  2. Check with your partner before you commit to anything. Both partners need to support one another. Check to make sure the other is on board with whatever additional responsibility or event you are presented with.
  3. Explain to your close family any changes in the “normal” holiday routine. If you are now deciding to stay home on Christmas morning, make sure you explain that. And, if you are now cutting out visits with certain people (because it’s important for you to SLOW down with a baby in tow) understand they may have hurt feelings.
  4. Limit outings to one a day. Do not overdo it. Not only will you be tired, but new places and faces can be overwhelming and exhausting for littles.
  5. Recognize that with a baby in tow your plans may change last minute. Baby was up all last night? Maybe you skip the office cocktail party. It won’t always be this way, eventually you will have more predictability and will have the sleep and energy to go to these functions again.
  6. Pack enough diapers, food, and pjs for the apocalypse. Sometimes, you find that you are enjoying yourself and are staying away from home much longer than you anticipated. Relax into knowing that you are covered, not having a deadline to your outing can be liberating.
  7. Have an open house/open door policy one day around the holidays. I’m a big fan of this. When my babies were celebrating their first Christmases, we told our family if they wanted to see us on Christmas Day they needed to come to us (with food!). It worked out well, everyone who wanted to see the babies on Christmas could, and I didn’t have to cook!
  8. This last one is a big one: TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF! Just because it’s the holiday season does not mean you need to forget your self-care. Taking care of yourself is the number one way you can ensure you will be more present for your baby. ┬áThe holiday season should be a joyous time (even if you are sleep deprived). Don’t let the stress of the holidays overwhelm you, enjoy your babies and the beautiful life you’ve created.

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