Life as a New Mom

A first-time mom adjusting to her new everything

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A family dynamic

Sandy’s questions, over at The Reluctant Entertainer were so good I ended up writing a massive comment and thought I’d write a post as well.
This is the first year my husband and I will have some external motivation to develop our own family dynamic.  With the holidays coming up, this affects our ability to entertain guests or travel to our extended families as guests.  Baby is the entire reason we now have the motivation to strike out on our own and find a new rhythm for our holidays.

Previously, we had a routine that worked for us as a couple, since we had no children and could easily travel with the dog for the 8 hours one-way it took to get home to our families for Christmas and Thanksgiving.  They had, of course, fallen into the rhythm of hosting these holidays, and it was always expected that we would be there at one family’s celebration (or both, in the case of Christmas).  It was complicated because my husband’s parents are divorced, so there were essentially 3 sets to see.  But we never saw the need to rock the boat, and the one year we offered to host Thanksgiving, people said they would come and we were alone after everyone decided it was inconvenient to drive to us.

This year, the question of their convenience doesn’t matter to us as a family as much.  We do want to see them, of course, but at the same time we emphatically do not want to travel with a newborn for that period of time.  It provided a great opportunity to sit down as a couple and discuss what mattered most to each of us and reach a compromise.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I always feel closest to my husband when we resolve issues like this together.  It brings us an additional degree of intimacy, because we’ve proven to each other that we can open up about our feelings, good and bad, and be safe with each other.

So we talked.  About how he wants to involve his family, and I want to establish ourselves as a family first, with our own traditions.  How I was afraid of traveling that long with an infant, and disrupting any forming routines.  How I was concerned about the immune system that wouldn’t be fully established.  How we both deeply want to share our family with our extended families during the holidays, and how our family is now ourselves and Baby.  We talked and talked, and came to the conclusion that we could manage about 2-3 people at a time, not staying with us at the house, for long weekends.  We’ll offer each couple or person a weekend, invite them to stay for 3 or 4 days, and if they can’t come we’ll do our best to make it work with them, but our schedule will be our top priority.  And we’re not inviting anyone for the weekend of Thanksgiving, or for Christmas Eve/Day.  Those are for us, our first opportunity to share the best of our childhoods with Baby, and once we figure out what we want, next year we can discuss with our extended families what we would like to see happen (and compromise again!).


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Am I the boat anchor?

Do you ever worry about things happening, when you’re not sure if it will even come to pass?  I have a lot lately.

We have quite a few people coming down for the 4th of July, and because we live 8 hours away from them, they’re staying 5 days.  Four people are coming in on the 29th, and staying through the 4th, and two are coming on the 2nd, and leaving the 6th.  All I can think is that for 2.5 days we will have 8 people (counting ourselves) in our home and I have no idea what to do with them or what to feed them.  Even more of a challenge, I’m not taking any time off from work because I need to save it for maternity leave.  I see days where I go to work, come home and have to feed 8 people, which is just overwhelming.

Being a reader of the fabulous Sandy Coughlin’s Reluctant Entertainer, I knew I could overcome the anxiety about feeding them by letting go of wanting it to be perfect and have everyone leave feeling like it was the best house party they’ve been to; they’re not coming because of the food, they’re coming to see us, so I know that as long as we spend time with them, they’ll leave happy.

But actually finding things to do with them concerns me.  Not because there are no options, but because they’re all outdoorsy, activity-oriented people, and frankly, I have no energy right now.  This pregnancy has me so fatigued, almost all the time, that I can barely get to work and come home to do one thing.  One thing could be cook a fresh dinner, take a shower, or do one chore, but I can’t do more than one, unless I’m having a really good day.  I know for the days I’m working, that thing will be cooking dinner.

Also, I can’t do a lot outside because the heat is already well past 90 degrees, so here’s my fear: I will be the boat anchor that weighs down the fun.

Maybe that’s a stupid worry to have, but I really want my guests to enjoy their visit, as well as get to do the things they enjoy with us, and right now I have limitations that might hamper that.  I’m hoping I can pull something out of reserves I don’t realize I have, but the worst case scenario?  My husband’s friends (that’s who’s visiting) will do things with him during the day, and I’ll enjoy time with them at a more sedate setting.  I struggle with this reality, but have to accept that sometimes that’s just the way things happen.

Do you struggle with feelings of being a burden, or the “not fun” person at the party?  How do you handle that as we move to summer, a season notorious for entertaining and parties?