Attention new parents! Just in case you’re contemplating otherwise, I hereby instruct you to leave your babies with a sitter for New Year’s Eve. That’s an order.

Before you question my heartlessness, I promise you: I’m not heartless. But I have made some choices that I now question regarding New Year’s Eve, babies and not bothering to find a sitter. And if I don’t share my experiences and newfound wisdom… then what’s the point?

I remember my days as a new mom. I was on some kind of confusing, fabulous adrenaline with back-to-back babies…. especially around holidays. It’ll be fun to spend New Year’s Eve with the kids! It’ll be nice to have a low-key party as a new family! It’ll be such a sweet memory that they’ll remember forever! It kind of was, it worked for the moment, and no they won’t.

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The first year of parenthood, my husband and I went out to a party for New Year’s Eve… alone. (At least I think we did, if I remember correctly?) Baby was with grandparents, we went out and had fun. Second year of parenthood, I was pregnant again (which kind of curbed our New Year plans). Third year of parenthood, we dressed the girls up in silver and gold tutus and did a casual early dinner at home with kids and went to bed. Fourth year of parenthood, we did the same thing except we went out and had dinner. Last year, we did the same thing.

(Oh my. Didn’t realize I’d etched such a mundane pattern until writing this now.)

I’m not complaining: each year was great! The early-bird dinners with kids were sweet (hey! I got myself a cocktail!), but looking back, I’m now wondering why (WHY!?!??!) we didn’t make the effort to do something as a couple, as adults, as non-parents for a night to celebrate the past year and ring in the new one? Laziness? A genuine feeling of wanting to all be together as a family? Lack of planning? All of the above.

My girls are now 5 and almost 4, and, let’s be honest here, they’re just now getting to the part in their lives where memories are starting to live forever in their sweet tiny heads. For some inexplicable reason, I romanticized a family New Year’s celebration (because I am truly grateful for my little family here)… but I also failed to realize that my girls will not remember those early, early-bird dinners from their first years of life. That was time my husband and I could’ve cashed in on a date night. That was time I could’ve busted out my sparkly dress and put it on for old time’s sake. That was time I could’ve felt younger and glamorous again. That was time I didn’t realize I’d want back so much now that my girls are growing so fast.

If I could go back to my new mom days, I’d have forced myself to call a sitter (or grandparents) and capitalized on the find-a-party-and-go-to-it New Year’s Eve expectation… without kids.  Because there’s plenty of time to have family New Year’s celebrations that they’ll actually remember.

So what are our plans this year? An early-bird family dinner at one of our favorite restaurants… dressed in silver and gold. Maybe I’ll wear my sparkly dress anyways. Because now, they’ll remember.

What are your family plans for New Year’s Eve?

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