In years past, my holiday plans usually included some sort of “turkey trot” or “fun run” (the word “fun” being entirely subjective here) grudgingly completed to offset Thanksgiving feast guilt, which was quickly followed by a long, luxurious nap in order to prepare for a day of feasting and fun ahead, where I would show up with a side dish, a bottle of wine, and absolutely no other obligations.
Oh, the good ol’ days.
Now I sit here expecting baby #5, my holidays have become notably more hectic and less boozy. My to-do list resembles a CVS receipt and can no longer be just written carefree on a Post-It: -Bring wine! -Buy new boots! -Get hair done! The festive outfits I choose now come embroidered with turkeys and pumpkins and in sizes 2-5T. My youngest gets bottle service instead of me.
Yet for all I have given up, I have also gained. Here are some of the plus sides of having a baby over the holidays:
Maternity Pants = Best Thanksgiving Attire Ever
In my pre-baby days, I meticulously planned what I would wear to Thanksgiving dinner, prioritizing style over comfort and always completely forgetting the amount of feasting to come. I would leave the table full and uncomfortable. Suddenly that sheath dress didn’t look so flattering and the waist of those skinny jeans cut me like piano wire.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, maternity pants—and specifically maternity leggings—offer a whole new world of opportunity and comfort. You can sit down to that dinner table safely knowing that your clothing is there to support you, literally.
The mullets of the pants world, maternity pants are deceivingly stylish on bottom and elastic-for-days on top.
“The mullets of the pants world, maternity pants are deceivingly stylish on bottom and elastic-for-days on top.”
Wear them while pregnant or postpartum—and yes, having a two-year-old qualifies you for postpartum. Nobody needs to know. Also pro tip: once your baby days are over, take my advice and get rid of all the other baby stuff but hold onto those pants.
No Outfit Complaints
It seems mathematically impossible, but those with newborns know that bringing home one teeny-tiny bundle of joy into your home immediately increases your laundry ten-fold. The up-side to this? It means you have someone new to dress, and they look absolutely adorable in everything.
While my own fashion may have taken a temporary backseat, (Hello, momiform: black leggings, tunic top, slip on shoes, out the door.) my child’s has not. Combining newborns and the holidays is the perfect combination: they are too small to walk around and get the outfit as dirty as a toddler would and they have absolutely no opinion about what they wear, unlike my husband who cringes every time I come near him with a gingham shirt. Turkey on the bum? Witty saying on a onesie? Suspenders and newsboy hat? Mommy and me matching dresses? You literally can’t go wrong.
You Never Need to Set an Alarm
Worried about not putting the turkey in the oven on time? Well, no fear of that now. You now have a built-in alarm clock that will never let you down.
No need to fear about sleeping through anything this year. Your bundle of joy is certain to remind you (several times throughout the night) that it’s time to get up.
You Have The Perfect Excuse to Get Out of Everything
While I love the holiday seasons, all the joy it brings, and the opportunity it gives up to connect and reconnect with family and friends, as a classic introvert, I sometimes find all the festivities and gatherings exhausting. Even in our current pandemic and COVID lifestyle, the Zoom meetings, FaceTime calls, and socially-distant gatherings can be a bit too much this time of year. So, if this is your first year with a newborn, allow me to introduce you to your cutest excuse for an exit ticket ever.
Don’t want to Zoom with your in-laws? Baby is fussy, let’s try again another night. Need a break from another family gathering? Baby needs to stick to his bedtime routine; you can’t go out. While you may have to stretch the truth in that precise moment, the overall honest answer is that it would be better for your household sanity (you and baby alike) if you skipped out on said event. And I am not above using my children as an excuse to be absent from social obligations. They’ve prevented me from attending things I did want to participate in; they can prevent me from things I don’t.
“I am not above using my children as an excuse to be absent from social obligations. They’ve prevented me from attending things I did want to participate in; they can prevent me from things I don’t."
You Can Use Your Baby as the Perfect “Out”
Similar to the method above, if you find yourself in the middle of an event and just need a breather from dear old Aunt Mildred’s persistent questioning of “When’s the next one going to come along?” or Cousin Ted’s political rant, you now have an “out” literally right in front of you.
The only time I can remember fighting over the chance to change my son’s diaper with my husband happened at cousin’s wedding where we were both cornered by a somewhat distant and very drunk relation. It doesn’t matter if baby has a perfectly clean diaper or has just been fed. These people have no idea what your child’s eating and omitting schedule is. Sniff that baby bum or ask if you can have a nice, quiet room to nurse in and you’ll find your conversation mate disappears real quick.
All Your Baby Wants for Christmas is You
Now that my older kids are becoming, well…kids, I appreciate holding a newborn during the holidays that much more. Don’t get me wrong: I revel in the excitement (and also the help) my school-age children bring to the table but it also comes with a list of demands and wants.
But a newborn doesn’t care what you get him for Christmas or if you even make a visit to the Jolly Old Man this year. He doesn’t want fancy gadgets whose price tags rival that of my mortgage and will break in a month. He doesn’t fight over who gets to put ornaments up or who has been naughtier. A newborn just is. All he needs is to be well-fed, changed, and held. All she needs is you. And that in itself is the most rewarding gift there is.
So this holiday season, amid the craziness and noise, amid the obligations and demands, try to take some time to realize that your “new normal” might have some pretty awesome benefits of its own.
And if that doesn’t help, at least you can eat sushi again?