I’m currently pregnant with Baby #3 and slightly panicking about having a “right-smack-dab-in-the-middle-of-holiday-craziness” baby. But it’s fine. It’s fine. Everything’s fine. I’m fine. Its nothing a little planning and lowering of expectations can’t help! When you know you’re having a November or December baby you’ve got to have a plan in place, there must be communication between you and your spouse, and you need to get organized. Here’s how I’ve been prepping to deal with the insanity known as the holiday season.
I’m a planner by nature. I basically live my life by the Benjamin Franklin quote: “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” I’m getting a little better at loosening up with the small things, but birthdays/holidays/vacations? Sorry, bro. We will have a detailed itinerary and it will be color-coded. For example, my family started planning our Halloween costumes in August. I knew there was no way I would have the energy to make all of our costumes (something I’ve done in the past) so we agreed on a theme and Momma scored those costumes online for much cheaper (because, off-season).
I also made a list of everyone we would be Christmas shopping for and what they would receive. I plan to do all of my shopping online while on maternity leave (I already shop like crazy whenever I’m nursing a baby; why not make it productive too?). I’ve got my “go bag” packed, as well as bags for our older two kiddos so grandparents won’t have to worry about gathering things for the littles.
“Oh, hey, Jessica! What are you bringing to Thanksgiving dinner this year?”
Sorry, I won’t be passing out homemade pumpkin cookies to my kids’ classmates. I also won’t be making stuffing for Thanksgiving or snowman pancakes Christmas morning. You need someone to help hang up 150 paper turkey hands? Move on down the road, Karen.
The next few months will be survival mode: newborn edition. I will be doing well to remember to shower and put nursing pads in my bra, mmkay? Catch me next holiday season when–hopefully–I’m not in such a zombie-like state. Repeat after me: The fourth trimester is real, and its really rough. Don’t put more pressure on yourself by trying to be Mrs. Freaking Claus when you’re still wearing those mesh undies. Your family will not throw a fit if there are no handmade place cards with pilgrims at every plate. It will NOT ruin your child’s Christmas experience if you don’t do Elf on the Shelf this year.
I’ve already made a few freezer meals for those first few weeks postpartum. We have an amazing village of family and friends who have already asked about bringing food, and I am so incredibly grateful. But I also know that the holiday season is SO. HECTIC. for everyone. I know my village will need to tend to their own roosts during that time, and I’m completely understanding of that. But, again, I’m a planner. So I’ve made a few family favorites and popped them in our freezer for when the time comes. I’m also trying to stock our cabinets with non-perishable, easy to open snacks for my older kids, as well as healthy snacks for me to stay fueled (almonds, lactation bars, etc.). Plus, its never a bad idea to have extra rolls of toilet paper laying around the house because nobody wants to get out in 24° for Charmin.
Rebuke the Germs
Inevitably, especially if you have kids in school, someone in your house is going to sick. But having a sick kid as well as a newborn in the house? You’ll want that padded room real quick. We’ve already started our regimen of daily multivitamins, probiotics from organic kefir, and elderberry to help us reduce the likeliness of getting sick. I’ve started a new protocol for after school as well: shoes off and sprayed with Lysol, everyone showers and puts on clean clothes, then you can have screens! We’ve been doing this for two weeks now and the kids know exactly what to do when we get home. It may sound excessive, but I want us all to do whatever we can to keep the sicknesses at bay.
When it comes to visitors wanting to cuddle your new bundle, don’t be afraid to put your foot down. Your kids have strep but you feel fine? Let’s wait until everyone in your house is fever and symptom-free. You’re feeling a little “under the weather” but you’re “pretty sure its just allergies”? Um…take a few days and we’ll talk. With the flu, RSV, and other illnesses running rampant this time of year, you really can’t take any chances.
And last but not least, be like Elsa and…
Let It Go
Are you going to have to run to CVS Pharmacy for a last-minute teacher gift? Perhaps. Will you be exhausted and fall asleep during your child’s nativity play? Maybe. Will you live on take out for a few weeks because you and your spouse are too exhausted to cook? It’s highly likely. But you know what? That doesn’t make you a bad mom. It doesn’t even make you a bad person. It makes you human. A human who literally just brought another human into this world. This is not the time to try and emulate The Great British Baking Show. Its a time to take care of yourself and your baby. And not only that, a time to let others take care of you. You’re worth it, Momma.