The 6 Myths of Christmas

Myth #3: Low Expectations

Myth #3: I'm a new mom -- people won't expect as much out of me.

This, to a certain extent, is true. You probably won't be asked to cook a turkey dinner with all of the trimmings if you've got a newborn. Then again, if you've always made that huge turkey dinner in the past, it might not occur to your relatives to offer to take it over for you now.

What's worse is that you, as a modern mom, will be tempted to hang on to "what you've always done" and not let yourself off the hook. Amy Panos, a colleague of mine, has the same love of baking that I do, and we had similar experiences during our first holidays with infants. We got relatives to watch our babies while we devoted one solid day to baking. But it wasn't relaxing and fun, like it used to be -- it felt like a chore. "For me, I felt like I had to keep up this baking tradition I was known for, but I really wanted to focus on Owen," Amy says of her now 2-year-old. "This year I'm vowing to concentrate on people, not baking."

I, too, have cut way down on my baking and decorating. It's important to recognize, I think, that what made you happy in the past might not make you happy this year -- in fact, your old ways might make your new life a lot more difficult. Thus, your first Christmas as a new mommy requires a lot of self-reflection and adjustment.

My friend Jen is going through this now -- she recently e-mailed me to say that this will be the last Christmas she'll travel (by plane, to two different cities) to see her and her husband's parents. "Now that we have our son, we must start traditions at home and not travel somewhere else on Christmas Day," she wrote. "We plan on letting Miles wake up at home to look under the tree and find out what Santa brought him. It's a tough decision because we're having a hard time letting go of our childhood traditions with our own parents. But once you have children, the holidays force you to create memories and new traditions for them instead of indulging in your own desires."

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