Help for Holiday Madness

Here's how to survive -- and genuinely enjoy -- the season.

Holidays as a Mom

Holiday Madness

For each of the past three years, I've ordered 100 Christmas cards with photographs of my children, and for three years, I haven't mailed a single one of them.

As the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas passed in a swirl of diapering, nursing, chasing toddlers, and moving piles of laundry, the stack of cards sat on my desk. Every night, I promised myself that I would get to them the next day, and every January 2, I looked at the faces of my babies on the untouched cards. Why couldn't I manage to mail them?

We all have ideas of how the holidays "should be." But just as having a baby changed every other aspect of your life, it will change this too. You might have to put aside some of the traditions you developed through adulthood, but in their place is the chance to dive back into the exuberant, magical experience of Christmas from a child's point of view. You won't just survive, but you'll really love your first December as a mother if you plan for and embrace those changes.

In addition to discovering that I need to have the cards made and the envelopes both addressed and stuffed well before Thanksgiving (which means that on this year's card, the baby is wearing a sundress -- maybe no one will notice!), here are a few other things I've learned, mostly the hard way.

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