When the Holidays are Hard: How to Create Meaningful Moments When Things Aren't How They're "Supposed to Be"

As if waiting on your baby’s debut (early, late or right on time?) or bringing baby home (Congratulations, here’s your baby.  Now go home and figure out how to be parents!) wasn’t stressful enough, bringing home a winter baby means you’re dealing with all of this in the context of the holiday hustle.  

It’s like a beautiful, fragile snow globe of wants, needs, and expectations swirling around you, with you, your partner and baby at the center.

The good news is, you can get through it. I’ve got some tips to help.

Bringing Baby Home... During the Holidays

As if waiting on your baby’s debut (early, late or right on time?) or bringing baby home (Congratulations, here’s your baby.  Now go home and figure out how to be parents!) wasn’t stressful enough, bringing home a winter baby means you’re dealing with all of this in the context of the holiday hustle.  

It’s like a beautiful, fragile snow globe of wants, needs, and expectations swirling around you, with you, your partner and baby at the center.

The good news is, you can get through it. I’ve got some tips to help.

How to Create the Holidays You Want For Your Family

The holiday season can cause some conflict in our relationships. So, today, I want to talk to you about how to create the holiday traditions you REALLY want.  

That includes compromises that feel good to both you and your partner and clear boundary-setting that communicate what you won’t do, but also what you can do.

It all starts with a heart-to-heart with your partner, where you ask each other some key questions.

Slowing Down to Make Space for Gratitude

And seriously, if we are already busy multitaskers, how in the world are we going to fit in one more task like journaling into our already overflowing days?  

There’s really only one way.  You guessed it: SLOW DOWN.

So, in this week’s video, I’m talking about literally HOW we can slow down. And, for once, I’m not going to tell you to delegate tasks or scratch to-do’s off your list so you can do less.  Because who are we kidding? The holidays are upon us.

How to Make Gratitude a Daily Practice to Feel Happier, Healthier & More Connected

If you’ve been on social media lately, I’m guessing your feed has been inundated with three things in the last week:  Halloween photos, midterm election posts, and 30-day gratitude challenge posts.

By now, the Halloween posts are probably waning.  The election posts--or political posts in general--don’t show any signs of stopping though.  But, at least right now, there are more celebratory posts than angry rants, right?

And if you haven’t seen any gratitude posts on your feed, then you’re clearly not following me on Instagram or Facebook, because I’ve been posting a video each day sharing one thing I’m grateful for.  So far, I’m really loving this challenge. And I’m seeing others post things they’re grateful for too, which is a lot of fun.

And actually, that’s right in line with what I want to talk to you about today:  How and why you should start a gratitude practice.

Honoring the Baby You Lost

Maybe you need catharsis or maybe you just need a way to connect with joy rather than sadness when you think of them.  It might be something you do once and never again or it might become an annual tradition. Maybe it’s a very private, intimate thing or maybe it’s surrounded by your most important support people.  Maybe it’s something you even do publicly with the intent of connecting with others to heal together.

The point is, there are so many ways to do it and there’s no timeline for this.  When you’re ready, I want to encourage you to find a way that feels good to you.

4 Things to Know About Grief

Grief affects every one of us sooner or later.

I’ve been talking all month about the specific grief that comes from losing a pregnancy or losing your baby.  There’s no other kind of grief that is quite like it.

And, unfortunately, it’s a quiet grief.  It’s not one we talk about much. There are so many reasons why.

But I also want to acknowledge that grief is something we all come to understand.  Like it or not, it is a part of life. In a way, that creates room for empathy in every one of us, even if our grief is different from someone else’s.

Resources for Parents Grieving a Miscarriage or Baby Loss

Last week, I talked to you briefly about how October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.  1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage or lose their baby. This means that you definitely know someone in your family or social circle who has experienced this.  

So, today, I want to share some resources I rely on with you that might help you if you’re struggling with this or know someone who is.

Dealing With the Grief of Miscarriage & Baby Loss

October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month.  This is so important for every one of us to be aware of--because even if you’ve never experienced this yourself, I can almost guarantee someone close to you has.

Of course, my hope is that this kind of tragedy hasn’t happened to you. But whether it has or hasn’t, this impacts you.  And because of that, I wanted to share some thoughts for both the parents who have lost their baby as well as to the loved ones who want to be a support.  Because we don’t talk about these things enough--in fact, it’s hard to know what to say. No one wants to say the wrong thing.

Parents, Look for Signs You're Succeeding

I’ve been talking a lot on the blog lately about ways to get the support you need when you’re really doubting yourself as a parent--how to know when you need advice and when you just need encouragement, what to do with advice that doesn’t fit, and dealing with unsolicited advice from relatives and strangers.  

Today, though, I want to talk about finding that inner confidence as a parent, so that you can squash self-doubt and overwhelm all on your own.  Truth be told, it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a practice. But the good news there are things you can start doing today that will help you to trust your own parenting sense and feel better about doing things your way.

Are You Looking For Advice or Encouragement? (How to Know What You Need.)

Are you the kind of mom that appreciates parenting advice from others?

Or, does that stuff annoy you every time?

Maybe it depends on the situation, the question, the messenger.

Every mom I know feels vulnerable and questions themselves at least once in a while.  (There’s nothing quite like motherhood to make even the most confident, competent woman question herself.)

3 Communication Tips for Parenting Couples to Get the Support You Need

Today, I’m going to keep this short and sweet.  

Last week, I talked to you about the role of grandparents in our lives and why it’s so important to communicate with your little ones’ grandparents about what kind of support you need.

So, today I’m taking this topic deeper by offering you a 3-minute video discussing 3 quick and simple tips for how to ask for (and get!) the support you really need from them.  

Getting the Support You Need from Your Baby's Grandparents

Grandparents Day was this past Sunday.  I don’t know if this is a thing people actually celebrate, but maybe we should be.

The role of a grandparent in a kid’s life can be such a special thing.  I know I felt a special closeness to my own grandparents. Maybe you did too.

It can also be a godsend to us parents when we need a break and a heart-warmer when we see their special bond with our littles grow.

But I also know that when you have a new baby or toddler at home, navigating that relationship as a new parent still trying to figure things out--even if you adore your parents or in-laws--can be…..well, tricky.

Top 5 Excuses Moms Say about Why They Don't Practice Self-Care

Confession time, mommas.  Sometimes self-care is really hard to be consistent with.  Even for a therapist and mom like me.

I think we all struggle with this one--at least from time to time, if not all the time.

And when we fall off the wagon with it or have struggled to implement new self-care habits in the first place, the hardest part is starting.

It’s kind of like--well, I don’t know about you, but this is definitely true for me:  Getting to the gym is the hardest part of exercising. If I can just get myself there, then I’m fine.  I’ll find something healthy to do for myself. But leaving the house? Oh, so hard.

3 Real Self-Care Tips All Moms Need to Hear

I talk about self-care a lot.  Like, A LOT, a lot. And it’s not just me.  Self-care became a buzzword years ago and it doesn’t show any signs of disappearing anytime soon.

I think this is a good thing… and a bad thing.

It’s great because we would all do better to slow down and tune into ourselves a little more often to ask, “What do I need right now?” But, it’s also kind of a bad thing because there’s so much misunderstanding about what self-care really is.  

Are You Spending Enough Time with Your Kids?

More and more, I hear from moms that they worry they aren’t spending enough time with their kids.  

And, I mean, it makes sense.  Many of us moms work, which means someone else is doing the caregiving for a significant portion of the day.  And then, we come home and it’s boom-boom-boom. We have to do the whole dinner, bathtime, bedtime routine, with the rush hour commute in between.  It often feels like there isn’t much time to “just be” with our kids.

But, it’s not just working mothers.  Stay-at-home moms feel it too.

Manage Your Task List Like a Boss Even with a New Baby at Home

Last week, I showed you how to use my Postpartum Support Matrix worksheet to help you determine where you need extra help right now and over the long term.  

This week, I’m showing you the next step:  How to manage it all and make sure everything is getting done, even if it’s not you doing every single thing.  

(And, in doing this, if you discover that it IS you doing every single thing, you’ll also discover how to pass those things off to someone else.)

One of the most common things I hear from new moms is that they suddenly feel like there are so many more things they have to do now.  The chores seem to multiply literally overnight!

But you can totally handle it like a boss. Here’s how.

How to Start Asking for Support When You Don't Even Know What to Ask For

Are you a new mom or dad that feels like you’re doing too much and can’t keep up? 

Are you so overwhelmed or exhausted that you can’t even think of what to delegate when people ask how they can help?

Or, maybe asking people for help just feels too hard, but you’d love to try to let yourself off the hook a little?

I get it.  Completely.  

For one thing, as a mom,  I’ve been there myself. For another, this is something that comes up in my therapy practice ALL the time.

That’s why I created two tools that can help. You can download both of them here.

Life Hacks for Parents: Solving the "What's for dinner?" Dilemma

For years, I'd say the worst question anyone could ask me is "What's for dinner?" 

I know I'm not alone in this.  Whether you love to cook or not, it's the deciding what to make that is the most exhausting.  And it's only made worse when it's followed by groans of "Ew, not that again...." 

Now, there are a variety of ways to solve this problem in our modern world.

Surviving Road Trips with Kids

Today is the 4th of July, a day for celebrating freedom and independence.  But when you’re a parent, our experience of freedom changes a little bit, doesn’t it?  It’s suddenly not quite so easy as hopping in the car spontaneously and driving for hours and hours.

But, still, road tripping with kids can be done.  It just requires a little more planning and different expectations.  In fact, our family takes a road trip this time of year every year.