It’s cold. It’s the winter holiday season. And now you have a baby.
It’s not that you’ve never considered what life with a baby will look like during the holidays, but now it’s a real baby and not a hypothetical one!
So with your very real baby, perhaps you’re starting to question longstanding traditions, or are reconsidering which parties make sense to attend.
There isn’t a right or wrong choice here. But there are ways to communicate your expectations and contributions clearly, so the relationships you have with other adults in your life can be primed with compassion as you navigate these first big moments.
Some questions for you to answer:
- Will you be traveling a long distance to attend?
- This could impact what you will need once you arrive – perhaps a private space to feed and comfort your baby if they don’t do well in the car.
- Will you be trying to follow your “schedule” when away from the house?
- Will there be a place for your baby to nap apart from your arms?
- Is there a family expectation that your baby will be held and cared for by many people at the party?
- This could be a relief to you, to have the help – or – this could cause some stress
- Do you have your family and friend’s support to parent your child the way you wish?
- Are there a lot of “You Should…?”
- Can you ask for what you need?
- Do you want to go to the party?
The holidays can be a time of togetherness, love, and positive memory-making. But there is also the potential for resentment to creep in. Be aware that you have the agency to ask for what you need, set clear boundaries for what will work for your branch of the family tree, and when in doubt, over-communicate.
Just like one party doesn’t get to define your entire season of joy, one season of celebrating isn’t the way your family will interact for eternity. This is a unique period of your life. You are now responsible for a new human, and your family may not remember what that was like!
You are doing your best, and so is your family, and no one can decide what choices will feel right for you. Take a breath. Take a look around. Can you find your reason for celebrating this season?