Creating Holiday Traditions as a New Mom

For the past 10 years, I’ve called New York City home after making the move from Austin, Texas. I was initially terrified of starting a new life here, but I was even more terrified of never pursuing a career in magazine writing. Despite my initial reservations, I have never felt more at home than I do in NYC. However, this sense of home was challenged when I became a mother to twins this year.

Before motherhood, I could easily travel back to Texas to see my family during holidays, but the demands of being a new mother have made that more difficult. FaceTiming in Halloween costumes and exchanging photos during Thanksgiving have replaced the in-person gatherings I once enjoyed. The distance from my family feels particularly pronounced as my husband and I navigate our first holiday season as parents.

Therapist Bisma Anwar, LMHC, explains that living far from family during new motherhood can be emotionally taxing due to the lack of support. Research also shows that in individualistic societies like the United States, new mothers often report higher levels of loneliness compared to those in collectivist societies. This sense of isolation can be exacerbated by the massive transformation new mothers go through as they enter motherhood.

As a new mother, I find myself feeling “dislocated” as I try to reconcile my new identity with my past self. The distance from my family only adds to this feeling of disconnection. To bridge this gap, my husband and I have started to establish new traditions and carry on old ones. Therapist Bisma Anwar emphasizes the importance of creating and maintaining new traditions to provide a sense of control and stability in a mother’s life.

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One of our key traditions involves incorporating familiar foods into our holiday celebrations. The Christmas punch my grandmother used to make has become a staple at our gatherings, and it serves as a link to my past. Creating and maintaining new traditions with local friends or immediate family can foster a sense of community and reduce feelings of isolation, as stated by Anwar.

In addition to food, we’ve also introduced new traditions, such as individual Christmas trees for my kids’ rooms and attending cultural events in the city. These new experiences not only bring us joy but also serve as a way to cope with the distance from our extended family. Despite the challenges of being far from home, I find solace in witnessing the wonder of childhood through my children’s eyes.

In summary, the transition into motherhood and the distance from family have brought about feelings of disconnection and loneliness. However, by creating and maintaining new traditions, seeking out community, and experiencing new adventures with my family, I find ways to navigate these challenges and embrace the magic of the holiday season.

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