In the movies it looks picture perfect - a happy family sitting around a Thanksgiving table filled with festive food. In real life this blissful scene does not always come to be. With a new baby at home or nursing children, it can be more of a juggling act. Here are 5 helpful tips for less stress and more enjoyment this Thanksgiving:
1) Consider in Advance How you Want to Celebrate: As families grow, you may want to adjust how you celebrate the holiday - the hour of the meal (to suit bedtimes and nap times), the size of the guest list, the distance you want to travel to share the meal at someone else's house may change as a new baby or children enter the picture. Decide with your partner ahead of time what kind of holiday you want to create and do what's best for your family.
2) Simplify the Cooking: If the meal is at your house, remember that the main part of the holiday and what everyone will remember, is being together. Do not feel pressure to whip up a gourmet meal, offer three different Pinterest-worthy desserts, or serve on your finest china . Ask guests to bring a dish, supplement with takeout, and keep menus simple. This will make you more relaxed hosts, resulting in a better time for everyone. If you are eating elsewhere, offer to bring something that is helpful but does not require excessive preparation. For example pick up the drinks, order a dessert from a bakery, etc.
3) Take "Helpful" Comments in Stride: When everyone gathers together, well-meaning relatives or friends may make suggestions or comments or offer parenting or new-baby advice. Sometimes this can be helpful, and other times it can even be upsetting or just off target. Keep in mind that most people are just trying to help, and a simple "thank you for your concern" and changing the topic of conversation can be a good strategy if this advice is unwelcome.
4) Reconnect to the "Gratittude" Part of the Holiday: The idea of giving "thanks" on Thanksgiving can sometimes take a back seat to all the preparation and anticipation. Before the holiday festivities begin, set aside time to think, or even write out, what you are grateful for. This will help center you and put you in the right mindset of focusing on the truly important things, and may make it easier for you to handle situations that do not go totally smoothly.
5. Wear Clothes That Make You Feel Good and Confident: Comfortable, flattering, good-fitting, clothes that also give you easy-access whenever your little one gets hungry, will help you relax and enjoy the holiday even more.