In recent years, I have had the joy of being a resource for two WashingtonPost.com blogs: the "Solo-ish" relationship blog and the "OnParenting" family blog.

Thursday
Nov172011

Holidays plus kids compounds stress

Holiday time always puts extra pressure on couples - but add kids to that mix and you can be walking into a mine field. Janice D'Arcy and I talked through some tips for avoiding disaster at the holidays.

Here is an excerpt:

“I advise couples to rundown all scenarios first, gathering input from extended family members (don’t assume you know what they want, they might surprise you), then make the final decision between the two of you. That way neither person is painted as a dictator when you explain the choice to a wider audience.

By talking with one another first, couples can be upfront about the potential consequences of any option and decide if they can live with them in advance ...

New parents often expect a lot of themselves, they expect to experience the holidays like always, just with a baby on their hip this time. Instead of strategizing for how to make the holiday perfect, it may be more useful to name more basic or realistic goals (e.g. enjoying time together, marveling at how everyone is reacting to the new baby).

Sometimes just talking about it — putting words to those goals and explaining them to another person — can be enough to snap us out of the unconscious thoughts that raise our anxiety (e.g. ‘Hmm, when I hear that out loud it sounds silly. Maybe it’s not so important that I stay up all night making three different kinds of pumpkin pie.’)

Read the whole article here.

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