Truthfully, having Harrison in October when I did was a masterful plan. At my old job, we only got Christmas Day off from work & having a baby in October ensured that I would be out on maternity leave the entire holiday season. & y’all know how I adore the holidays – I’m like Will Farrell in Elf, with a huge cup of coffee in one hand & a bucket of twinkle lights in the other. I daydreamed of sitting by the fire while my baby played on his mat or napped lazily in his swing, with Christmas cookies in the oven & me decked in a bright red sweater, looking cheerfully pretty.
The reality? I was a sweaty postpartum mess. I didn’t get Christmas cards out that year. The neighbors didn’t get goodies. I couldn’t squeeze into my dresses or sweaters yet. & instead of carols over the sound system, I had a screaming baby in my ear 13 hours per day.
I remember a shopping trip the day before Thanksgiving. I had waited & waited, praying that the kid would nap or snap into a good mood before I braved the store but the clock was ticking & he was the bomb ready to go off. So I ran to Target in my yoga pants that had spit-up on them & blazed through the aisles, only to stand in line with a screaming baby & beads of sweat rolling down my back, feeling the eyes of judgment all around. I threw together sausage balls & a pie that night & by Thanksgiving morning, I was passed out on the couch while everyone cooed at my baby.
Christmas & tacky sweater parties & church festivities – it was like the song that never ends, yes it goes on & on my friends.
I’ve learned my lesson, though.
A) Don’t plan maternity leave over the holidays if it can be helped.
B) Simmer down.
I should have cut myself some slack & gave a firm “no” at bringing anything other than the baby to any holiday gathering. If I brought a pie, it should have been a delightful surprise (mostly for me) other than feeling like it was a requirement. I should have handed off my baby to eager relatives & gone to nap in a back room rather than feeling like I had to put on a show of glowing new-motherhood. I should have bought a sweater that fit me that year but instead, I cringe to see the pictures of that year.
Maybe if you’re not all Type-A control-freakish, you’re thinking I’m a little bonkers for even thinking I could do all of that. If you are a Type-A control-freak, you’re probably nodding & thinking that is so me.
So to my lovely fellow freaks, pour yourself a cup of eggnog & have ye a merry little Christmas, even if you are a sweaty postpartum mess.