Having a new baby at home is so exciting! And you’re looking forward to this holiday season even more than usual because of all of the firsts for your baby! But with all of the holiday hustle and bustle, you might be facing mountains of stress from the unending family obligations and expectations. Learn about a few different family personalities you might encounter this holiday season and find a couple of tips to stop them from ruining your baby’s first holidays.
Difficult Personality #1: Dueling Grandparents
Hopefully, you are as lucky as we are and your baby is so incredibly loved. Our family wants to show their love and constantly shower our baby with tons of love and affection.
But with all this love, you might run into the first difficult personality. The dueling grandparents – several grandparents (or any family members) constantly trying to one-up the other and become the “favorite” grandparent.
And if you’re like me, this might be one of your main concerns as your baby approaches her first holidays.
I’ll be honest. I find this competition super annoying and petty. It makes me want to avoid the holidays altogether because I know that it will ruin our holiday season. I just can’t handle the stress of constantly assuring everyone that we will not have favorites and there is enough love for everyone…
But, I’m finally finding a way to be more understanding and graceful when encountering this problem. If you have dueling family members threatening to ruin your baby’s first holiday season, try these tips:
Remember they are parents too.
First, think about how much you love your little baby. I know that you want to build a great relationship with your child and be part of his life when he is grown and has a family.
Have a little grace for your parents as well. They are proud of you and your significant other and they just want to be part of your life. It can hurt their feelings to think you might be closer to your spouse’s family. And they worry that they won’t be able to see and know their grandchild.
A little love and a lot of patience will help this problem immensely.
Be intentional about showing appreciation for everyone.
You want everyone to know that they are loved and important. Be intentional in your efforts to assure them that there is enough love for everyone. Thank your family members for being such an important part of your baby’s life and make sure to carve out time for everyone.
What works best for us is to set a specific timeline for the holidays. We make it clear when we will be spending time with each family member. This helps them to know right away that they will get to see us and to assure them that they are an important part of our family traditions.
Be upfront about your feelings.
I won’t lie. This tip is a hard one because it feels really awkward and rude. But it is the best way for you to keep your sanity over the holidays! Before the holiday season even begins, kindly confront your dueling grandparents.
Assure your family members that your baby loves everyone and everyone is equally important to her. Then admit that battling for time and attention or overdoing it on gifts and presents stresses you out. Be honest that this competition makes you want to skip the holidays altogether because you feel like you can’t please everyone, no matter how hard you try.
This helps your family to understand that you value their input and want to make everyone happy. And hopefully, once they know they won’t be forgotten or left out, they will tone it down a notch.
Difficult Personality #2: The Story Topper
I know that we’re all proud of our kids, but this mom or dad takes it one step (or several steps…) too far. She constantly brags about why her kids are
Maybe you’re all sitting around the Thanksgiving table and you tell your family about how excited you are that your baby finally started to enjoy tummy time. She quickly interjects that her babies spent hours on their tummies every day.
After dinner, your family oohs and ahhs over your little baby, but she quickly jumps in to redirect the attention to her kids instead.
She makes a big deal about all of your breastfeeding challenges, which started in the hospital. And she jabs at you for being so concerned about increasing your milk supply, while she proudly proclaims that she never had to do extra work.
Sure it’s annoying but there are a few ways to you try to stop this family member from ruining your baby’s holidays.
Realize that this family member might be jealous of all of your attention.
Not too long ago, this mama was the new mama in town and everyone focused all of their attention on her and her adorable kids. When she starts getting less attention, she might feel like people don’t love her and her kids as much as they used to.
Try to be understanding and not take it personally. Her little digs aren’t about you and your baby at all. Instead, it’s all about her seeking some approval herself. Instead of becoming upset, try to give her kids some attention when you can and let her know that she should be proud of her family!
Be the bigger person and IGNORE it.
Whatever you do, don’t join in on the story topping game! This starts a vicious cycle, which will only end in crabby parents and resentful family members.
When this happens to me, I just smile, ignore the comments, and cuddle my adorable little baby. Because honestly, how does that not cheer me up and make me forget these petty games??
Difficult Personality #3: The “Expert” Parent
You’ve made it past the dueling grandmas and story topper, but now you’ve got to deal with the “expert” parent, who is determined to tell you all of the things you’re doing wrong as a new parent.
If you hold your baby, your parenting style is too attached and you’re spoiling her. But if she cries, you’re a bad mom because you can’t console her.
She can’t believe all of the sleep rules you have broken and she constantly tells you everything you need to do differently to get your newborn to sleep through the night right away.
You just can’t seem to do anything right around the expert parent.
Honestly, I’m not sure that I entirely know the motives behind this difficult personality. But you can stop this family member from ruining your baby’s holidays.
Let it all roll off your shoulders.
Trust me, you know what you’re doing with your baby. Unless you’re specifically struggling with something and looking for answers, listen to your gut. You and your baby communicate with each other much better than any outside person.
Whether this family member feels threatened by you and wants to knock you down a little or they just can’t help from giving unsolicited advice, just ignore them. There are a billion different ways to parent. What worked well for them might not work well for you.
You just keep doing your thing and ignore this challenging personality. In my experience, I ignore it or politely answer with
Difficult Personality #4: The Professional Guilt Trip
This final difficult person is a cousin to the dueling grandmas. The entire holiday, they want you to feel guilty about everything. And you’re sure this will ruin the holidays for you and your baby.
You don’t visit enough. You don’t call enough. You never answered that text and haven’t sent a baby picture for exactly 4 1/2 days.
Instead of enjoying the holiday, it feels like one epic vent session for them to tell you everything that you’re doing wrong. How in the world is this not supposed to ruin your holiday?
Again, try to ignore this.
And I know it’s hard. Many times, these complaints are more about your family member than you. This person feels insecure, unloved, etc. and are taking it out on you.
But with all the work you put in this holiday season, this might be hard to ignore.
They don’t understand that your baby cries for hours every time that you get in the car, which is why you don’t make the three-hour trip (one way!) very often. They don’t know that your baby is fussy and crying in the evenings, which is why you can’t call very often. And they don’t remember that having a baby is exhausting, and sometimes it takes all of your energy to take care of yourself and your baby. You just don’t have anything left for other people.
Which leads to the next tip…
Be honest and tell them all of this!
Again, admitting all of this is challenging! You feel rude for standing up for yourself and vulnerable for admitting these challenges. But this might finally help them to understand what’s going on in your life. And then they can stop guilt tripping you and you can all just enjoy the holidays together.
When you have these difficult people in your family, it can be challenging to enjoy the first holidays with your baby.
But you will only one first Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. with your child. Don’t let your family steal it from you!
Be open about your expectations and how much you are able to give. And then, try to ignore the little things and be honest about your feelings when you can.
Finally, just step back and enjoy it. Watch the wonder in your baby’s eyes as she takes in the Christmas lights. Take joy in watching all of your family members smile and cuddle with your pretty baby. And take a gazillion pictures to remember everything.
As a final note, remember that if you have really toxic family members that are certain to ruin your holiday no matter what you do, it’s okay to skip the big family holidays. You can just stay home and enjoy the holiday with your nuclear family instead. At the end of the day, the most important thing is for you and your babies to have a fabulous holiday. And sometimes simple is the best way for that to happen.
Are the holidays stressful with your family? What tips do you have to help other new moms and dads?
Please leave your comment below! I’d LOVE to learn from the great tips you have as well!