The holidays overwhelm many of us with the lengthy to-do list for preparation, whether that’s cleaning or shopping… or both. “So little time,” as the saying goes. Now add being a new mom to the mix. What’s a gal to do?
Surviving the holidays with an infant in tow can actually happen. It can be daunting – or stressful – but with a little know-how and a bit of forethought, riding the rails of holiday get-togethers and parties doesn’t have to be traumatic… for anyone involved.
If your family is headed to grandparents’ or friends’ places, think things through before you leave home. Is your destination baby-friendly or at least baby-welcoming? How will you handle feeding your baby? Diapering? Naps?
Will you be rigid about your baby’s schedule, or will you go with the flow and attempt recovery later?
As one friend said, “Give grace – realize that having schedules and systems completely wrecked for a few days isn't the end of them. But also don't be afraid to do what's best for your family, even if it means going against an established norm or tradition.” –Sarah Jo
Having guests in your own home presents a lot more freedom to call the shots for your little one. That doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't take into consideration what might or might not make your guests comfortable. Maybe you’re used to changing Little’s diaper wherever you happen to be – even if that means in the middle of the living room floor. Your 80-year-old grandmother might (or might not) comment about it, but it could upset the mood. Be aware in the moment as much as possible, but don’t obsess about it either.
A friend, in the grandma stage of life, had this to say about gifts for Little: “Don't stress over their gifts, if they are too young to know what is happening. A good, cleaned up toy from an older sibling is just as good as a new gift, especially if it was a hit the first time!” –Dotti
If you’ve had an infant for long, you know that you can effortlessly become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff others give. Some are needs and can be used; others just sit in the closet or get added to the pile of duplicates. If your relationship with grandparents facilitates it, don’t hesitate to ask for needs rather than stuff. Diapering needs are a big one. Looking at making your own baby food when Little gets bigger? What tool would you like to have for that?
Grandparents aren’t convinced? Remind them that Little can’t really play with toys yet (or already has a bucket full) and that diapering needs or preparing for the eating solids stage is an excellent way for them to nurture their grandchild. Maybe a professional photography session is more up the grandparents’ alley… They would get some great photos of their grandchild out of the deal!
If you can’t say those things aloud, don’t despair. You can cycle toys every couple of months. You can regift when another friend finds out she’s expecting. You can take some to a women’s shelter. If all else fails, in many cases, you can return the item.
The holidays can be overwhelming… or they can be joyous, even in the midst of burp rags and baby wipes. It takes a little planning, a little creativity, and a whole lotta “We can do this!” You can make this a Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or New Year’s, to remember – for all the right reasons.
A Jesus follower, wife, and mom of 3, Kayla lives convinced that life is a grand adventure if we allow God to train our eyes to see it. She chronicles her grand adventure over at Renown and Crowned, and she'd love to hear about yours, too!