A new baby means new routines and new priorities for a family. Sometimes this can cause a clash for the extended family during the holidays. We want to encourage you to set healthy boundaries so that you can enjoy this special time of year.
Here are 5 helpful tips.
#1 Get on the same page as your partner. Before all the festivities begin, talk with your partner about expectations and concerns for the holidays. What boundaries are important to each of you? How will you celebrate at home? How will you celebrate with friends and extended family? Will you travel? Talk about things like baby’s schedule, gifts, issues related to religion, and extended family dynamics.
#2 Communicate. Once you are clear, communicate these boundaries to the people who need to know. For example, if you usually spend a week visiting family but are only comfortable bringing the baby for a couple of days this year, say that in advance. If you don’t have room for lots of large toys or aren’t sure your baby can make it to a midnight candlelight service, let your family know that too.
#3 Hold the line. You can use humor or even apologize, but stay firm when it comes to the boundaries you have set. You are trying to do what is best for your baby and your family—that is important.
#4 Create new traditions. As your family grows, this is a great time to create new traditions! Maybe it means celebrating at a different time of day or even on a different day! (We haven’t celebrated Christmas on Christmas with my extended family in years.) Maybe you start drawing names rather than giving gifts to each individual. With tiny babies staying at home can be easier so maybe new traditions include preparing new foods together, cookie decorating, or marathon board games rather than going out.
#5 Be quick to forgive. Just as you are navigating these new waters, so is everyone else. If someone pushes against a boundary or ignores it all together, remind them why you think this boundary is so important. But also, try to be quick to forgive and don’t add more stress or pressure to yourself.
As you transition to this new season as a parent, Tennessee Family Doulas would be honored to walk alongside you! Give us a call and see how we can support you and your family.