Holidays can be stressful enough, but when they coincide with having a newborn and everything that goes with that-sleeplessness, breastfeeding, visitors-you’re looking at maximum overload. There’s more company, shopping, cooking…and all the holiday things! If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and needing a break, find a way to step back. Ask for support. Respect your own boundaries and others will follow.
So how can you lessen the stress as a new mom or dad and still enjoy family, friends and the holidays?
Well first, you have to commit to some downtime for yourself. I know easier said than done, but you don’t have to spend a lot of time to benefit from these small breathers and energizing tips. This will work even better if you have a postpartum doula or a family member to care for the baby.
- Take a nap
- Take a long, hot shower or bath with candles or aromatherapy
- Watch a favorite show ( or guilty pleasure reality tv) you’ve been putting off
- Listen to music
- Have dinner with a friend while someone else looks after the baby
- Take a walk in nature-either by yourself or babywear so you both can enjoy some fresh air
Connect with Your Partner
Having a newborn is stressful! You both are sleep deprived which can lead to anger, blaming, disconnect. Take a deep breath and remember what it was like before baby. You are in this together. Lean on each other and be a team, especially during the holidays while visiting with extended family and their expectations.
- Put on your favorite music or “your song” and dance together-in the kitchen, in the living room, in the nursery. Anywhere!
- Have dinner together (at home or out) while someone else looks after baby
- Write sweet notes on Post-its and put them where your partner can find them
- Watch a favorite show or movie together
Take Pictures with You in Them
I know this sounds crazy, but what I mean is, be in the pictures! So many moms won’t be in pictures if they don’t look perfect. Well guess what? Motherhood is NOT perfect, it’s messy and beautiful. Trust me, one day you will look back at the pictures and be so glad you didn’t forgo being in those pictures with your kids. I have so many pictures of my three children at the holidays when they were infants, but very few of me with them. Almost 30 years later and I still truly regret it.
Motherhood/parenthood is a journey. It takes time to become comfortable with your new identity. Give yourself some grace, set boundaries and enjoy this precious time with your newborn and family.