The real truth about a new-mum Christmas

December 20, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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The lovely team at Mother and Baby magazine asked me to contribute to a feature as an ‘expert’ (I like to think so) on how to survive Christmas as a new mum (January issue page 96/97).

So here are the tips I contributed to – they changed somewhat between my thought process and the finished print article so  here they are in all of their glory.

The truth about….Drinks parties.

The dream – you get your friends together for drinks – the first after nine long months of sipping elderflower juice and sparkling water out of a champagne glass.  There will be mistletoe and harmless flirtation with the neighbour who looks a bit like Dermot O’Leary.  Later you will leave, flushed from the glow of just two glasses of chilled white wine having been devastatingly witty all evening.

The reality – your alcohol threshold is so low after pregnancy that the two (ok, four) glasses of supermarket Chardonnay you slurped turn you into the lightweight person everyone is talking about the next day.  And why did you tell your middle-aged neighbours he looks like Dermot O’Leary?

It’s ok because – ‘you’re normal’!  Catherine Warrilow, parenting writer and blogger at says.  ‘It’s important to let your hair down every now and again.  You may wake up feeling like everyone is gossping about you, we’ve all been there, and they’ll soon forget about your drunken shenanigans!’

Before the cut – you’re normal! It’s important to let your hair down every now and again – and your neighbour is now spending Christmas on cloud nine! You may wake up feeling like everyone is gossiping about you but Margo from accounts went home with her skirt tucked into her knickers and Steve from IT was photocopying things he shouldn’t. (so maybe I missed the brief and it’s at home rather than work….)

The truth about….carol singers.

The Dream – Carol singers will come to your door, carrying lanterns and chorusing you with hymns.  You will all join in, before handing out homemade gingerbread men to the rosy-cheeked revellers.  It will be like something out of Downton Abbey.

The Reality – You hear the sound of singing and rush to the window with your child.  On closer inspection, the approaching chorus is a worse-for-wear group of office workers, fresh from the karaoke bar. The two of you hide behind the sofa until they go past.

It’s ok because – you don’t have to miss out on carol singing just because your child is very young.  ‘Ask around’ says Catherine Warrilow.  ‘Your local toddler group might be organising a children’s carol concert, and many churches organise “pram” services.  (ok so I admit I’m going to look into this, sounds nice).

Before the cut mark I – (it’s ok because…) you just found out that your NCT group is doing a 5 o’clock children’s carol chorus AND they’re providing gingerbread biscuits – all you have to do is wrap up warm and head on over.  The little ones can sing and you can drink tea and gossip with the girls – you haven’t seen them for ages!

Before the cut mark II – record yourself with your children singing Twinkle Twinkle on your smart phone or via a web cam on a laptop, upload it to YouTube and send it to Grandma and Grandad as an early Christmas gift.  Children will be pleased as punch, you’ll be super proud and the grandparents will be in tears.  Win all round. Here’s our home movie.

The truth about… A White Christmas

The Dream – On Christmas Eve, feathery snowflakes will fall.  You’ll play in the garden with your baby, who will love making a snowman.  The pictures you take will make you smile for years to come.

The Reality – the country grinds to a halt four days before Christmas, throwing everyone’s travel plans into chaos.  It’s freezing.  But  by Christmas Eve, a thaw has turned the white-out into grey slush, rendering snowmen impossible.

It’s ok because – Your baby probably won’t like the snow much anyway – it’s cold and a bit strange.  Enjoy sunggling up together inside, safe in the knowledge that you won’t get a snowball down your back.

Before the cut – If it’s pre-Christmas explain that Santa’s elves may have melted the snow to make sure that Santa could get around to all of the houses easily and check everyone was being good.  Then head off on a walk or to the park talking about all the things you’ve done that deserve the presents you’ve ask Santa for this year.

What would your tips for surviving Christmas be?  Namely I’d like to know what to do to make it ok if my homemade foodie gifts turn out a disaster…

A big thank you to Elle Tucker for asking me to be involved in this feature – here’s to being asked again… if she forgives me for telling…!

Image from Flickr Creative Commons Laura Dye


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  1. What great tips. Mine would be don’t try to go for a Christmas dinner at your inlaws with a 24 hour baby. It’s not the easiest to sit on a dining room chair with 22 other people. Looking forward to seeing you in print. x

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