I. Am. The Mom.


With the holidays upon us, we are all gearing up for extended visits with family. That can be such a fun time with a newborn, but it can be incredibly stressful for new parents. If your baby is teeny weenie, you are probably either trying to get into a good routine or you have just started using a good routine. Neither of those times are the best for lots of friends and family and all the events and chaos that come with those things at the holidays.

I remember traveling home to see family when both Bean and Gracie were little bitties, and none of those experiences are really fond memories for me. I wish I could tell you that by the time Gracie came along, I knew how to handle it better, but that’s just not true. I had a heck of a time balancing family obligations and expectations while managing the needs of my little, young family. So instead of telling you how I solved the problem, I’m going to tell you things I would have done differently.


First, I would have stood up for my own family’s needs more firmly. I think I was so worried about being labeled the “anxious new mom” that I really tried too much to be laid back and cool with everything. When family wanted to do an activity in the afternoon and then again after dinner, I really should have spoken up and passed on one of those events because I had small kids who were absolutely exhausted. Instead, we tried to do everything that was asked of us, and most of the time we ended up having “those kids” at the parties or dinners or outings because they were overtired and overstimulated. In hindsight, it would have been better to be “that anxious new mom” than the mom with “those kids.” People will judge everything you do and don’t do as a new parent, and I hate to say that sometimes family can be the harshest judges. But in the end, you have to do what is right for your family.  Even if that means saying no to your extended family.


Another thing I would have done differently is pass on anything that required my kids to miss their nap times. Nap times at home are crucial, but they are even more crucial when you are traveling. We weren’t sleeping well at night because the kids were in unfamiliar surroundings, so I should have realized that nap times would become even more important. Instead, we’d let them nap in the car on the way to outings and activities, but then wake them up and make them go, go, go. No wonder they were fussy! Looking back and even now when we travel, we plan our entire visit around nap times. I know that might seem extreme, but it actually works out pretty well. We are out and about seeing people in short spurts, and then we head back to where ever is home base for us and put the kids down for real naps. It keeps the kids happy and well rested, and it keeps the family happy because we are able to go and do when naptime is over.

The last thing is probably the most important and the one I realized the quickest. With Bean, I had this weird thing in my head that other people were just as good at comforting him as me. I mean, the entire house was full of moms and dads. Surely, one mom was just as good as the next. But that’s not true when it comes to your kids. It’s not enough that SOMEONE rock them to sleep or hold them when they are upset. My children want ME when they are out of sorts. I remember them crying for whatever reason (probably because they were tired) and me standing there feeling helpless as other moms passed my baby back and forth between them, always assuring me that, “I’ll just calm him down for you…” But finally, I broke through my haze and realized that babies don’t want to be soothed. They want to be soothed by their parents. When my babies were little babies, I started to react to this by making sure that I spent some quiet, one-on-one time with them every couple hours. I’d go into a room with just me and the baby and rock them or talk to them or sing to them, just to remind them that I was there with them. Even now that my babies are older, I still am very protective of them when they get worked up around other people. I find it’s easier to take them into another room where so many people can’t “help” and then I can calm them down faster because it’s just me and them. And that’s what they want. They want me. That seems like common sense, but I had a hard time realizing that as a new mom.IMG_7238

Families and holidays make the best memories. But make sure that you are putting the needs of your baby first in the middle of all the hoopla. That’s a great way to make sure you are making GOOD memories, and not memories you want to shut out of your mind forever!

Check out the†Huggies Mommy Answers Facebook app†and find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the†Huggies page on BlogHer.com.

Related posts

13 Thoughts to “I. Am. The Mom.”

  1. Thank you for these tips. We’re struggling with scheduling and making time for our little family first. I’ve recently announced that we’re spending Christmas Day just the three of us, and I know that isn’t going to go over well. But I want to make good memories, just like you said. And traditions. After all, I am the mom!

  2. I’m 36 weeks pregnant with our first baby (due Thanksgiving weekend) and we announced that we aren’t traveling at ALL for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year (um hello, she’ll be 3-4 weeks old at Christmas!). It’s gone over okay with some of our family members, who totally understand our POV, but other family members don’t understand why we can’t drag the baby all over Texas so everyone gets to see her for Christmas. We are open to having people come to us if they want to visit, but some people think it would be better for us to drag a newborn all over the place. Sigh, I anticipate this is the first of many holiday issues 🙂

  3. CP

    All these tips are totally true. I have a two month old and try to get him to visit his grandparents fairly often. In the very beginning it was easy because he slept all the time, but now he really needs structure. I am both looking forward to and anxious about the holidays for all these reasons. I think it is important for new parents to really give into their new role. A lot of times my parents will give me some mini breaks from the baby when we are visiting, but I find that these breaks agitate the baby a lot and they throw me out of mommy role/routine. I’m not saying moms don’t need breaks–they do for sure!–but if you are leaving the baby with your family often, even if it is just to shower or take a nap, it can sometimes be a disorienting experience for both the baby and the momma.

  4. Carla

    Totally! 100% right on all points! I learned this the by trial and error with our first baby last Christmas. Now, every visit home is planned around naps and down time. If he starts to seem overwhelmed by it all, we will even cancel plans.
    Call me what you like as a first time mom. I just want a happy baby so that we can have happy memories.

  5. Carla

    Laura, in my view, you are making a great choice! We lugged our 6 week old to Toronto for the holidays. As soon as we boarded the train (with so many passengers with obvious flu symptoms) we said “What were we thinking!”. We really should have just stayed home. And that was just the beginning of the 2 weeks of holiday craziness. Don’t forget that you will still be healing and getting used to life with baby, too!

  6. Amy

    I’ll have a three week old (if everything happens according to plan) at Christmas. We would have to take a 5 hour flight to get to family. We already informed them that we were staying put. I was feeling guilty about it, so thanks ladies for giving me a reality check that I really have nothing to feel guilty about!

  7. Every single bit of this is true in my experience! We’re expecting another baby January 2, and I’m already checked out of the holidays. I know I will be exhausted, and not as able to care for my family as I would be otherwise. Though my husband and I make a great team, knowing there’s a great change on the horizon means we need to keep it low-key for our and our toddler’s sanity. I love to hear that you plan around naps, too, Katie. I’m that extreme, if you can call it that, with day-to-day stuff. Maybe we don’t connect for the longest playdate, but maybe that’s better for our family.

  8. Karen

    I remember those days! My oldest is now 7 and my youngest 3. Naptime is no longer an issue. I was a bit put out when my youngest started refusing to nap, as I enjoyed the quiet time! But it’s nice now to not have to schedule around it. That being said, I limit the kids’ activities and make sure they have some “free time” every day so they can destress from “Go-Go-Go”.

  9. I so needed to hear this. we travel to both our families and its so hard to find that balance when you are traveling

  10. I totally agree with scheduling around naps. I was pretty firm on this for a long and got so much crap about being a “nap nazi”. As much as I hate telling people “No” I know my son the best and am going to do what’s in his best interest, even if he misses an hour of a party. He would have just eaten a crayon anyway.

  11. Sarah

    I couldn’t agree more! I had a baby the week of Thanksgiving. I thought it would be a great idea to drag him to FOUR different places on Christmas Day. Needless to say I wound up in tears halfway through the day. It was awful and not the way I wanted to remember his first Christmas. The second one was much better because I insisted we spread things out over several days and also that we have Christmas morning at home just the three of us. Looking forward to the same thing this year. Both of our families seem to understand. Hope they understand that when baby is unhappy everyone loses, when baby is happy everyone wins!

  12. KT

    THANK YOU for this. I know from experience that my family tends to think some of our sleep habits for our baby are a little ridiculous (her bedtime gets called early way too often). Thankfully one of my sisters-in-law has blazed the trail of being a sleep nazi and so I know that as long as I am willing to say what needs to be done the family will comply – even if there are a few joke-y comments.

  13. Melanie

    I needed to read this post. Thank you for writing this – I wish someone had told me these things before my baby came. Most likely I wouldn’t have listened, though 🙂 It’s taken a few disasterous (in my mind) family events for me to get to the mentality that I’d better be an advocate for my son, whether I look like a crazy mom or not. How to best do this is still a work-in-progress.

Leave a Comment