Do-able Holiday Service Ideas for New Moms

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 4.49.59 PM“Remember the Reason for the Season!” is a sweet sentiment that is often repeated to encourage thinking of others during a time where it is easy to become focused on oneself. Whether it is preparing for the end of a semester, scheduling and preparing for various holiday parties, or merely surviving during a time of year that seems like a hotbed for depression, performing acts of kindness through service can be a means to brighten your holiday as you brighten someone else’s.

A significant barrier to performing service, though, can be the recent birth of your child. Whether it’s anxiety about taking out a tiny one into the cold, risking exposure to all the fun illnesses brewing about, or exhaustion from the busy-ness that comes with having a new baby, engaging in helping others can seem impossible. Here are some simple ways to still get your charity on with your tiny human bundle accompanying you:

  • Write holiday cards for a local nursing home. In an ideal world, all of the folks in nursing homes are members of large families with doting relatives who visit at every opportunity and send thoughtful care packages. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for many, and these folks can go without a visit or a thought from the outside world for lengths of time. Writing out holiday cards to distribute could mean the world to someone who feels forgotten.
  • Put together baked goods for a local shelter If you have a shelter in mind, call ahead—some may prefer store-bought treats to your famous breads or cookies for safety reasons. If they do accept home made treats, though, and you have other kids at home to help, decorating holiday cookies and taking them to a domestic violence shelter could mean a lot to the kids receiving services there. The more brightly colored sprinkles, the better!
  • Send a small gift card and note to someone who may go unnoticed. Is there a checker at the grocery store who always remembers your name? Or perhaps the person you see lovingly walking their dog twice a day? Receiving a reminder that you matter from someone you wouldn’t have guessed noticed you can give you a huge lift. It would be so meaningful to be that person for someone else.
  • Send a message/tweet/comment that is genuine and heartfelt. There is a lot of anger on the Internet, and social media can be bruising to the soul with its divisiveness and lack of filter. So in one of those 3 a.m. nursing sessions, consider letting someone know how much you admire a strength that they have. When there is an impulse to feel envy, try expressing admiration. Social media can be such a vulnerable outlet of expression of what we feel is our best self: let someone know that you think they’re doing great at what they’re putting their heart into.

Being kind to one another is an incredibly powerful way to influence the world around you, and being able to engage in such activities even when taking care of a nursling can help you feel connected to the world. As always, try to remember to extend that kindness to yourself as well, and give yourself permission to let the service slide a bit this year if you are in need of self-care. None of us can keep going if our tanks are empty.

Keighty Brigman is terrible at crafting, throwing birthday parties, and making sure there isn’t food on her face. Allegedly, her four children manage to love her anyway. 

Tags: Charity, christmas, holidays, infant, newborn, nursing, self care, service

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