New Parent Advice for Managing Hectic Holidays
Christine Sweeney, LICSW Program Manager, Parent Connection, BIDMC
DECEMBER 24, 2019
It's the holiday season, and for many this may be your first season as parents. It's exciting, it’s magical! At the same time, it can be a frustrating downer if reality falls short of the fantasy you envision. Chances are, if you're currently living the 4th trimester, you're already experiencing the reality (vs. the fantasy) of the newborn period. And with that in mind, it's a good reminder to be aware of and manage your holiday plans accordingly.
You've heard the advice:
- Slow down
- Less is more
- Saying "no" to something is saying "yes" to something else: yourself.
Parents want to make the holiday season special for their family and extended families may amp up the pressure with wanting to spend time with you and especially baby. Perhaps before becoming parents, you split the day traveling between homes, and that worked fine. It may still, but it's worth a pause to consider with your partner, if that plan still makes sense, or if there is a less stressful/rushed way to manage. It may mean challenging the way your family has always done things, and it may also mean disappointing some people. But, it's OK to consider what will work for your new family and asserting your wishes into the planning.
Sometimes our desire to make childhood memories ends up over-scheduling the family. Add in the family holiday celebrations (and the routine shenanigans that come along with those) and the holiday time can get maddening rather than magical.
If you know that your holidays will have later nights, nap disruptions, and hectic socializing, plan some downtime. If you can keep routines in place, great, but allow for some flexibility, knowing that whatever disruptions come, you will get back on track.
Memories are made with people, with family. Special events are great, but too many can lead to stress and crankiness. Less really is more, slowing down really is better, and going with the flow, forgiving and letting go of whatever/whoever creates tension and stress is really the goal of this holiday season. Enjoy!