When I entered the world of motherhood in April 2012, I felt like friends and family came out of the woodwork and I remember feeling so taken care of. Friends gave selflessly and family consistently cleaned my house (thank you Mom!!) when I couldn’t. As more of my friends became moms, I realized just how rare my experience was, so I wanted to share some new and old ideas that I learned in how we can help care for those new moms out there, who may not have their support system nearby.
1. TakeThemAMeal.com. The biggest help we received was the fact that we didn’t have to cook for 6 weeks after we had Judah because our friends used this fabulous site to organize meal times, meal drops, and dinner ideas. I’ve also created a few meal schedules for friends and it really is the easiest way for friends and family to get those meals to new parents–plus you can post the link by email, facebook, twitter, etc. to really spread awareness and get that schedule filled up.
2. If You See a Need–Meet it. I’ll never forget when one of our couple friends came to visit us after we were back from the hospital, and my friend told me, “I’m going to do your dishes.” At first I was mortified thinking of all the dishes that were piling up in the sink, but she didn’t even give me a chance to say no. She just did it. And I was eternally grateful! This can be in regard to dishes, cleaning bottles, laundry, vacuuming, and the list goes on. If you see dust bunnies in the bathroom, ask your friend where she keeps her cleaning supplies and just do it.
3. Snack Attack. As a new mom, you are worried about how your body is recovering and its tough to make smart food choices when you’re up at 2 am for a feeding or are starving at 10 pm with zero energy. I came across these adorable free labels for snacks to give to new mamas designed by Kirsten Bingham. I just printed a few out and taped each one to a snack-sized tupperware. Then I filled them up with combinations of crackers, cheese, fruits, veggies, hummus, nuts, etc. Plus, you can even throw in a few bites of chocolate to
restore her sanity boost her spirits.
4. Ding-dong Ditch. A week after we brought Judah home, I got a text from a friend that said something like “check your doorstep.” Low and behold, she had snuck up to the house and dropped of a container of the most delicious cupcakes leftover from her son’s birthday party. It was like Christmas morning for Joel and me! I later realized just how thoughtful it was that she wanted to just give us a nice treat without any strings attached. This is now one of my favorite ways to treat new mommas. P.S. Don’t actually ring the doorbell–always text first!
5. Don’t Come Empty-handed. Anytime we had a new visitor, they either had a home-cooked meal, a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread, or even just something small. In fact, one of the most special things we were so lucky to receive was a friend who demanded my grocery list and credit card (when we wouldn’t let her pay) and came back with a car full of groceries and then unloaded them and insisted on making me lunch.
If you are a new mom or expectant mom reading this, my biggest piece of advice to you is that you allow yourself to be cared for. Have a grocery list ready, say yes when someone asks if they can watch your newborn while you nap, or put aside your pride as your friend folds and puts away your mountain of laundry. Don’t feel pressured to have it all together and even if you feel like you’re fine, save your energy, and let your friends and family help you keep that momentum. There’s no competition for who can bounce back the fastest.
We only get a newborn for a few months, so just say yes and enjoy those snuggles, knowing that your friends and family love you and want you to soak up every fleeting second.