How to Juggle New Parenthood and the Holidays
There’s nothing quite like a Christmas baby: All the anticipation of the pregnancy and joyful hope of the holiday season culminate in a tiny-yet-perfect gift for the whole family. But the stress of Baby’s arrival can be compounded by new parents who wish to recreate their traditional holiday experience of years past. Instead of decking the halls, wearied parents find themselves pacing the halls with a fussy infant, and while Mom used to decorate the house from top to bottom with ribbons and wreaths, this year she can’t find time to even drag out the ornaments.
So, what’s a new mother to do when all she wants for Christmas is a nap? Plan ahead. Simplify. Reprioritize. And get help.
If your due date falls between the end of October and mid-January, you can expect your pregnancy and new baby to impact your ability to zoom from store to store for gifts or prepare a holiday feast for out-of-town guests on Christmas Day. Obstetrician Dr. Susan E. Mackey, MD, of Women’s Medical Associates of Nashville says, “Most people aren’t prepared for how much their lives will change. Realize that it’s not like the holidays before. Don’t wait until after the baby’s born to prepare.”
To ease the pressure, start shopping as early as possible—like the Fourth of July (I’m not joking!)—and wrap presents as soon as you get them home. If you’re on bed rest or the baby comes earlier than expected, online shopping can save the day. Just point, click, and ship from the comfort of your easy chair.
And what if you’re a mom to a newborn come December 20? If your mind is boggled by postpartum hormones and sleep deprivation and you can’t decide what to get everyone on your list, send them all the same thing! Gift baskets full of snacks or bath soaps, nice bottles of wine or gourmet olive oil, chenille throws, books, flowers or plants, and gift certificates are all universally appreciated gifts. And send your husband to the local theater to buy movie gift certificates for all the kids on your list—they’ll love it!
Prior planning can make holiday get-togethers a little easier, too. If it’s your turn to host Christmas dinner this year, the smartest thing to do would be to ask for a rain check due to the circumstances.
But if you must play holiday hostess and care for a newborn at the same time, rather than cooking everything yourself, let someone else do it. Call your local grocery store to order holiday dinner packages that include ready-to-serve turkey or ham and lots of sides options. Local caterers and restaurants—and even some big chains—offer similar catered meals. Hosting a potluck is another option. The holidays are about sharing our gifts and bounty, so ask everyone to bring a dish while you supply the main dish and beverages.
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