To be honest, I've never understood the appeal of New Year's Eve. In my opinion, it's nothing but an over-hyped reason to put on uncomfortable clothes, spend an hour of my life obsessing over my crooked eye liner, and, after the birth of each of my October babies, pre-planning a way to celebrate so I can still be a functional parent the following morning. So when I say there are more than a few reasons why New Year's Eve is the worst for new moms, know that I'm right. Undoubtably, and in so many ways, completely right. Because any night that revolves around copious amounts of alcohol and a midnight kiss is a night I don't want to experience.
As I'm sure you've guessed by now, I've never been a big drinker. But after I became a mother, and found myself trying (read: struggling) to breastfeed, celebrations of the alcohol-drinking variety were the furthest things from my mind. I was tired, I was frustrated, and I was overwhelmed, so staying up until midnight surrounded by a bunch of drunk people with an overabundance of child-free energy? Forget about it. I wanted sleep, dear reader, and I wanted a lot of it.
Even now, and with a 10-year-old and a 5-year-old, my opinion of New Year's Eve hasn't change. That's probably because I can remember my sleep deprived new-mom days as if they were yesterday. I remember feeling like my body wasn't my own, how my anxiety scry-rocketed when I was around crowds, and how lost I felt in the seemingly never-ending sea of parenting responsibilities. I wanted to celebrate the new year in comfortable pajamas, watching a movie and interacting with the least amount of people as humanly possible. So with that in mind, and because I only speak the truth, here are a few reasons why New Year's Eve is the absolute worst for new moms. Or, you know, for new moms like me.
In 20016, my daughter was just 2-months-old on New Year's Eve. She and I were trying to overcome breastfeeding obstacles, and the only thing that alleviated her fussiness was a lengthy bedtime routine that involved a bath and swaddling. Leaving her to begin with wasn't something I was interested in, let alone nailing down an available, reliable babysitter for a few hours. Plus, hiring a babysitter who's not grandma on New Year's Eve can be an expensive "is it really worth all this?" lesson. And for me, the answer was no. Not at all.
As a new mother, I didn't feel like stuffing my still-healing body into anything that wasn't maternity wear. And even if my pre-pregnancy clothes fit, my self-esteem was at an all-time low. I didn't feel like myself, which made dressing up and going out less-than-ideal.
I applaud new moms who feel great in their postpartum skin, but I wasn't one of them. So dressing up in some expensive dress, wearing a pair of probably uncomfortable shoes, and being around other fancy people wasn't my idea of a good time.
New Year's Eve was the first time my partner and I were to go on an official date since the birth of our daughter. In theory, it sounded like a great idea. Food, drinks, conversations with other adults about non-baby things, late curfew, and lack of usual responsibilities? Count me in.
The reality, of course, was very different. Instead of a good time, we had an expensive meal at a restaurant so loud we could barely talk to one another, let alone anyone else. As a new mother, my home was loud enough. I had a crying baby needing me every few minutes. So a night out in a loud restaurant or club or wherever? No thanks. I want some peace and quiet, thank you very much.
Sure, I could have forced myself to stay up until midnight to watch a ball drop, but why should I? I mean, why would I? As a new mom I was trying to adjust to surviving on zero sleep and erratic schedules. I needed to take any amount of sleep at any time it was presented to me.
As a new mom, drinking becomes some complicated endeavor that hardly seems worth the effort. You're probably a lightweight after the 40 weeks, more or less, of abstinence, which means you have to be careful about consumption. And if you're breastfeeding, you have to manage your intake and/or "pump and dump," if you feel like being on the "safe side." And if you miscalculate and wake up with a massive hangover, your baby won't give a flying you-know-what. You'll still need to parent, headache or not. Yeah, no thanks.
Why, people? Why, oh why, do you feel the need to light a bunch of fireworks (read: explosives) to signal the start of a new year? Don't you realize that people have babies sleeping in their homes? Don't you know that there's a new mom, somewhere, who is just starting to fall asleep when you light that damn thing off, and you've successfully ruined her trip to dream land?
No. More. Fireworks.
After the birth of both of my children, I had severe separation anxiety. I didn't want to leave the house, and if I did, I wanted my children with me. I honestly felt like my babies would feel as though I had abandoned them. And while I now know that my feelings were part of being postpartum, hormonal, and bonding with my kids, it was also the only reason I needed to skip the festivities together.
Thanks, but no thanks. I'd rather stay home with my family, thank you very much.
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