I’m the proud first time mom of a two month old and have found myself happily relying on the help of friends and family to get through the crazy first months. I felt inspired to write about some of the creative ways friends and family blessed us in this phase of our lives. 1. Clean the new parents’ house before they come home. Okay, this isn’t that creative, but there are creative ways that my mom got our house ready for our arrival. I had an unexpected emergency induction due to severe pre-eclampsia so my house was definitely not clean and not put together and honestly, it probably wouldn’t have been had I gone full term either! Other than the ho, hum basic cleaning, my mom also:
– Washed our sheets so we’d have nice clean sheets to, ahem, not sleep consistently in.
-Cleared off the kitchen table and stashed the piles of junk so we wouldn’t have to see them.
-Made a cute little “self-care” area of my bathroom for all of the fun post second-degree laceration times that lay ahead. This included using some of my cute Longaberger baskets and arranging things that I’d need so I wouldn’t have to think about it.
-Stealthily put clothes away for us so we wouldn’t see piles.
2. Stock the new mom’s fridge with easy late night snacks. I was hungry all the time when I got home from the hospital, especially in the first days of breastfeeding. Adair would wake me up for the 3 AM feeding and I’d be ravenous! My mom stocked up with easy to grab foods like unsweetened applesauce (the ones that fifth graders take in their lunch), carrots, almonds, string cheese for protein, etc. These easy to grab foods made a world of difference as I could eat quickly and go back to bed.
3. Clean up the new parents’ lawn. Who cares about the lawn when you’re trying to survive, right? Well, it’s actually really nice to have help with the yard! My grandpa raked our leaves for us and cleaned the lawn in general and it was so nice that my husband didn’t have to worry about doing it.
4. Be understanding of whatever the new mom is worried about. You may have five kids and know a lot about newborns. You may have no kids and don’t really care about “baby” things (I’ve been there), but a brand new mom has many things that weigh on her mind and more hormones than a 14 year old boy! If a new mom wants to talk about breastfeeding worries or her traumatic and painful birth, listen with an open ear and please do not respond with “at least the baby and you are fine.” Yes, praise God for that, but it isn’t what a new mom wants or needs to hear in that moment.
Offer to pray with the mom or offer her a scripture verse and be sure to validate her feelings. Along this line, if you are a get-on-a-schedule mom and she is feeding on demand or vice versa, if you are a natural child birther and she has had a medicated birth, or whatever the case may be, it is not the time to aggressively defend your way of doing things! Be supportive and offer respectful input (if you feel it would be well taken) but always with the back drop of support. Thank the Lord for freedom of choice on these issues within our Christian faiths!
5. Consider skipping a baby present and getting a mommy present. Does the new baby have tons of cute clothes? Is this her second girl or boy and she already has plenty of baby gear? Forget a present for the baby and spend some money on things that will help mom relax like a massage gift card or a coupon for a night of free baby sitting when she feels up to going out. Recovery from birth is a lengthy process (physically, mentally, emotionally) and little pick-me-ups really helped me get through it.
What are some creative ways friends and family have helped you (or that you’ve helped a new mom)??
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