As a new mom, you've already been through a lot. It doesn't matter if you became a parent last week or 10 months ago, you've seen some sh*t. Often literal sh*t, the likes of which you'd never even imagined before. This is, in fact, possibly the hardest thing you've ever done. Well, my dear, gird your loins, because you're about to hit a milestone that will earn you another metaphorical mom medal: your baby's first Thanksgiving.
Oh, you'll attempt to be prepared. You will buy them the same Carter's Thanksgiving outfit that literally every other newborn on your Facebook feed has worn for the past several years (mine did); You will prepare the dish you are going to bring to your grandma's house lovingly and ahead of time; You will pack an absurd amount of necessary gadgets, blankets, extra outfits, and toys to take with you to wherever you will be celebrating. You will do all these things, and there's still a pretty decent chance that your baby's first Thanksgiving will knock you on your ass, especially if this is your first big holiday with an infant. Because celebrating a holiday as a parent is completely different from celebrating as a childfree gal-about-town.
From logistical issues to personal struggles, from compromises to choosing where to take your stands, your first Thanksgiving as a new mom is a trial by fire. Here's why.
Every Germ-Ridden Jerk In Your Family Wants To Hold Your Too-Young-To-Be-Vaccinated-Yet Baby
I have met very few parents who were not at least a little bit paranoid about their infants getting sick. Tiny sick babies are heartbreaking and difficult to deal with... almost as difficult to deal with as pushy relatives who want to cuddle the bejesus out of your infant despite your concerns about their fragile immune systems and being too young to be vaccinated against the really scary stuff. All they see is your sweet little teeny one and all you see are their unwashed hands, runny noses, and the tissues sticking out from under grandma's cardigan. Say yes and you risk your fears realized. Say no and you already have a reputation for being an overprotective killjoy. There's no winning.
Slinking Off To Constantly Care For Your Baby Gets Old
Whether you would prefer privacy to breastfeed, or your baby just took a crap that can only be described as "volcanic," or it's nap time and there's no way that will happen amid a bunch of loud drunk people and clinking silverware, chances are you are going to have to keep ducking out of the party to tend to your new charge. Now, depending on your family, this could be a good thing, but if you're actually trying to catch up with people, this disappearing act is inconvenient AF.
"You're feeding him again? Just mix some rice cereal into his formula. I did that for all of my kids from day one and you know what? They slept through the night right away, were potty trained at 2 months, and spoke perfect English by 4 months."
"That baby should be wearing a hat. She's got to be freezing. It's only about 72 degrees in here!"
"What is that thing you've got him strapped to you in? A "Moby wrap"? You're spoiling him. I mean, seriously, you're creating a monster."
"I'm just saying you should consider not vaccinating, at the very least. Do you know millions of credible studies have shown that they cause your baby to actually turn into a hermit crab? Claws and everything. It's heartbreaking. Just think about it."
The Same Joke About How Little Sleep You're Getting Over And Over
Everyone thinks they're coming up with this one. Or that you haven't heard it before. But you've been hearing this joke since you told people you were pregnant, only now it's even more annoying because you are, indeed, running on about 5 hours of broken sleep and your tolerance is wearing thin...
If you gave birth to your baby, your hormones could still be completely out of wack days, weeks, or months after the fact. So being at a family gathering with the added challenge of having a new baby with you might be tougher than usual. Like, normally you can handle your mean, passive-aggressive cousin arching an eyebrow and asking. "Are you really going to eat all that?" but hormones might cause you to actually burst into tears this time around.
It Doesn't Matter How Young Your Infant Is: People Will Try To Feed Them
Maybe this is just my family, but I feel like everyone wants to feed babies. It's weird. The current AAP recommendation for introducing solids is around 6-months-old, and my husband and I followed that. Try explaining that to a bunch of enthusiastic Italians who believe "food = love." My son was less than 3 months old at his first Thanksgiving and I had to vigilantly guard him from grandparents, great aunts and uncles, and others who wanted to give him his first taste of turkey or pumpkin pie or stuffing. Slow your roll, folks! You will have a million opportunities to feed him over the course of his life; he's going to sit this one out.
Screwing Up Their Schedule = The Worst
Honestly? It's not worth it. Ever. At all. It's not worth it attend a gathering to eat some turkey and listen to your racist uncle wax poetic about Donald Trump while you step away from dinner every five seconds to attend to your child. But if you don't go you will be shunned by your family for at least a year. But, hey, maybe consider just how bad that would be: I hear skipping Thanksgiving gatherings is all the rage lately...
Your Dinner Will Be Cold
This is basically true of all your meals until your kids move out of the house. Either cold or eaten so quickly you will burn your trachea and not taste anything anyway. Have fun with that.
Image: Mark/Flickr; Giphy (8)