I’m at a point in my life where it feels like half the people I know are either trying to get pregnant, are pregnant, or just had a baby. That’s a lot of bambinos right there. Unless the mother is a close friend, I’m sometimes at a loss for how (or whether) to respond immediately after she has the baby.
Do I call right away? Will she be annoyed by text messages and e-mails? How soon is too soon to visit the baby? Will my attempts to give her space be translated into a misconception I’m uninterested?
The struggle is real.
I was a new mom twice. Unless baby Jesus makes a second appearance here on Earth, there won’t be a third time.
The chances of lightning striking my house or me winning the lottery are greater.
That said, I remember being grateful for all the people who reached out after my girls were born to lend a helping hand. As my parents and in-laws don’t live in the same city as me and my husband, the help we received was valuable and didn’t go unnoticed.
If you want to reach out to a new mom, here are some original (and unoriginal) ways to offer your support.
Take them a Meal. If you’re a working parent who doesn’t have time to prepare a homemade meal, or you simply detest cooking, don’t be ashamed to order take-out. My go-to meal for new parents is pizza, salad, bread sticks, and a bottle of wine from a local Italian restaurant. Who doesn’t like pizza?
Nobody I want to be friends with.
Arrange a Meal Train. As most of the new parents’ friends will offer to take meals, this is a great way to ensure the food delivery is organized. This is easy and can be arranged through a web site. Popular, free options include Take them a Meal and Mealbaby.
Caveat to moms: don’t be unreasonably picky about the type of food you want people to deliver and just be grateful. I once was invited to participate in a meal train that had so many unreasonable parameters regarding the time to deliver (15 minute window), days to deliver, specific food choices (read: filet mignon preference- literally!), and a request to coordinate the delivery with someone other than the new parents.
I was completely put off.
Take Their Older Kids to the Park. The only thing more stressful than having a new baby is dealing with older children on top of the new baby. Especially when the older children need to stay active and don’t enjoy being cooped up in the house.
One of the greatest ways to help new parents is keeping their older kids busy. Offer to take them to the park, library, or local swimming pool. This is mutually beneficial for people who also have older kids, as the children can play together. If you’re already driving to the park, what’s the harm in bringing one or two more people?
Pamper the Mama. Visitors typically take presents for the baby, but what about the new mom? Doesn’t she deserve to be pampered?
Yes, yes, yes!
Take her nice smelling soaps, a bottle of wine, bath salts, scented candles, fun magazines, or even a gift card for a manicure or pedicure. If you’re crafty, you can put together your own “care package” of high-end beauty products that are often substantially discounted at retail stores like TJMaxx, Homegoods, and Marshall’s. Depending on where you live, a gift card for a mani/pedi combo usually costs $35 with the tip included. All of these items can be obtained with a subscription to the Pampered Mommy Box, which I love. (This is an affiliate link, which means I get a financial kickback with purchases. Hey, the blog ain’t gonna pay for itself!)
Clean their House. There’s something peaceful about walking into a clean home.
Fabuloso brand floor cleaner. Mmmmmmm.
If you don’t enjoy cleaning (who does?), you can get together with other women to chip in for a cleaning lady to clean the home when the new mama is running errands. Depending on the number of contributors and the size of the mama’s house, this can be accomplished for around $20 per person.
Do their Laundry. This favor is reserved for only the closest of friends.
I get it, the idea of an acquaintance cleaning your husband’s sweaty gym clothes is awkward. However, as laundry seems to pile up and there are few things in life worse than having to fold and put away a mountain of laundry, this is a perfect way to help out.
Your help will be appreciated and will help lighten the load during the new mom’s period of uncertainty, nervousness, and insomnia.
Cheers to good friends!