The holiday season can be a magical time for many, and for new moms, there are challenges with a young baby that needs navigating. There might be situations that have never been stressors that now are because you have a little one. Use this guide to explore what these challenges might be and learn some effective strategies for setting boundaries during this season.
Understanding the Challenges of Being a New Mom During the Holidays
Being a new mom during the holidays is a journey filled with wonder, but it comes with its share of challenges. Postpartum experiences and the desire for a peaceful family celebration can create stressors unique to this season. Sleepless nights, struggles with travel, feeding and napping schedules to work around, and just general adjusting to the new normal can make it challenging to fully engage in the normal festivities. Recognizing and acknowledging that this year is going to be different is the first step toward making a holiday experience that keeps your and your babies well-being in mind.
Identifying Priorities for New Moms
The holidays bring a whirlwind of expectations from yourself, your family and your friends. It is crucial for new moms to identify their priorities. This year, you will not be able to meet everyone's expectations and that is okay! A part of being able to enjoy this year is identifying your priorities. This might mean saying no to more invitations than usual or creating new family traditions for your new family. Building in time for rest might be something to consider this year, whether it's a quiet evening at home or a special outing. Find what truly matters, what are your values and how can you have a sense of joy and fulfillment during the holidays around these values. When you have a changing of values, a changing of needs, that also means that there is a change in boundaries. It is imporant to know your boundaries and communicate them with family and friends during the holidays.
Establishing Holiday Boundaries as a New Mom
Setting boundaries for yourself this holiday season is not only to preserve your well-being but is crutial for enjoying your celebration. As we go into recognizing and establishing boundaries, remember that boundaries are placed on you, not on anyone else. When we try and place boundaries around others, we are unable to control the outcome and as doing so, we are setting ourselves up for failure.
Here are some essential aspects to consider when establishing boundaries:
What limits do you have this year?
You have a new baby! You are going to have different limits than before having a baby. Take a step back and recognize where your energy, emotions, and tolerance for others is at. Most, if not all moms, have sleep deprivation which comes with lower tolerance, a harder time regulating your emotions and less energy to share with others.
Once you have taken a look at your limits, look at what that means as far as changes in need this year. Incorporate intentional downtime into your holiday schedule.
If you have less energy, maybe that means that you need more time to rest. If you have less tolerance, maybe that means less time with people that tend to be challenging. If you have lower emotion regulation, it might mean that you have to get some support people on board to help in difficult moments.
Find Ways to Communicate Boundaries
A change in your boundaries can be difficult for people to understand. It is imporant to communicate boundaries in a way that is understanding of the other persons emotions, but also that are firm.
Remember that validating the other persons emotions can go a long way when you are trying to be heard.
Effective Communication Strategies During the Holidays
Setting boundaries is just one aspect of effective communication. With open Open and honest communication around these boundaries, you will have a greater chance of a successful and enjoyable holiday season for you as a new mom. Effectively expressing your needs, expectations, and desires can lead to a more supportive and understanding environment. Here are some effective communication strategies to consider:
Part of setting boundaries is setting clear expectations with family and friends about what you can realistically manage during the holidays. Be honest about your capacity and communicate your desire for a more relaxed celebration. Letting people in a little will help lower defenses.
Clearly articulate your priorities, whether it's focusing on quiet family moments or participating in specific traditions that hold sentimental value.
Expressing Your Needs
it's the need for yourself or your baby, communicating your needs allows others to understand, not always agree, but at least understand.EX: I need to go in 30 minutes because it is getting to be the kids bedtime.
Use "I" statements to express your feelings and requirements, fostering a constructive and collaborative dialogue.
Setting Boundaries Diplomatically
When setting boundaries, approach the conversation diplomatically. Frame your boundaries as positive choices that contribute to a more enjoyable holiday experience for everyone.EX: I just love doing the gift exchange with you guys! I wouldn't miss it! Ill make sure to be there in time for gifts, but then we will have to run to get over to another event. I can't wait to spend time with you!
Provide context for your boundaries, explaining how they contribute to your overall well-being and the well-being of your new family.
Creating a Realistic Holiday Schedule
Sit down, get out your calander and make a realistic holiday schedule. This will be the key when trying to balance between festive activities and self-care. Build in rest! Start with the things that you need in order to be well, getting a walk in, having time for naps, eating a healthy meal in the morning, getting a good nights sleep. You can then start adding in events, travel time, and celebrations. Make sure you are adding in a little more travel time if this is your first holiday with a little one. Effective time management like this will help you avoid overcommitment and will provide space for the joyful moments that make the season special.
Seeking and Accepting Help
Building a support system is crucial for new moms navigating the holiday season. Don't hesitate to seek help and delegate tasks to trusted friends and family. Embrace the strength of community, whether it's a friend offering a helping hand or a family member assisting with holiday preparations. Accepting help is a sign of strength and allows you to fully enjoy the magic of the season.
Practicing Self-Care During the Holidays
Amidst the hustle and bustle, self-care remains essential for new moms during the holidays. Prioritize moments of rest, nourishment, and mindfulness. Whether it's a quiet cup of tea, a short walk, or a moment of meditation, self-care is a gift you give to yourself and your family. A well-rested and rejuvenated mom is better equipped to savor the holiday festivities.