What do you need? Food! Everyone who visits you is going to ask “Is there anything I can do?”. For whatever reason, our brains are hardwired to say “Oh no, we’re fine.” It’s time to quit that. Right now. You want them to bring you food. Holiday season is cooking season. Your friends and family will be more than thrilled to bring you a meal if you will let them. This is one of the easiest ways to accept help. It’s fairly non-intrusive and it relieves a lot of work in your household. Bonus tips: set up a meal calendar, ask people to bring the food in disposable containers, stock up on paper plates, ask for meals other than dinner.
Set Your Boundaries, Appoint a Defender Make a decision now about when and/or if you will have visitors in your home. Talk about it with your partner or spouse and make sure they know the rules. Let them be the enforcer. Maybe you only want to have visitors during certain hours. Maybe you have a black list. It’s up to you. Just think about what will bring you the most joy and the least stress. Also important is deciding which events you will go to. You won’t be suffering for invites. However now is the time to be choosy. Don’t overdo it and let your spouse/partner respond to invites! If you are going to attend parties keep a postpartum kit in the car at all times with an extra change of clothes for you (hello overactive milk letdown) and your toiletry necessities (you don’t want to run out of pads). Whether you are having visitors or going to parties you are sure to get lots of questions about your parenting choices. A well meaning “So are you immunizing?” is a veritable minefield. Think about how you will handle those types of questions ahead of time. Master the skill of evasion or be flat out refuse to answer. Pro response: “I know that’s a sticky decision with a lot of strong opinions on both sides so we’ve chosen not to discuss our choice.” Make sure you have one person with you at all times to help defray the pressure.
Start to Create Your Own Traditions Before we have kids it can be pretty easy to just follow along with the holiday traditions that come from our childhood. Now is the time to think about what types of traditions you want for your children. Is there anything you want change? Are there traditions close to your heart that you want to keep going? Granted, your 2 week old is not going to remember that you decided to have a carol singing night but if you start to practice the traditions now they will become part of your routine. While you are thinking about traditions this is also the time to do only the things you want to do. Simplify. Think of what will bring you joy, not stress.