Most new moms I know have some decent support for the first few weeks, perhaps, even a month, after the new baby arrives. This is wonderful of course. But at his often crazy but still wonderful time of the year, it seems like a good idea to remind all of us that new parents need support for as much of the fourth trimester as they can get.
The Triangle, where I live, is an area with many transplants, lucky as we are to have two internally known universities and also Research Triangle Park. What this often translates too, however, is a large number of people without families close by. And while family doesn't always equal support, as some of us might know, it can...especially when they're a cute little baby arriving on the scene. But family might not equal support if the new mom is traditionally the one who has been the giver of support. I've seen this a lot recently. New moms hosting family dinners, visiting family or taking charge of the holiday preparations. This is often what we women do of course...because if we don't, who else will?
But perhaps instead of those new moms stepping up, we women whose babies aren't newborns anymore or maybe those women who don't have any babies at all, can step up instead. I feel like the reason for the season isn't Jesus (which seems exclusionary if you aren't a believer!) but giving instead. Isn't that something we can all agree on? The gift of giving. And maybe you, like me, believe that women need to support each other more. If so, then let's tackle this together...starting with new moms. Below are 3 ideas that you can do to help a new mom, at this time of year and beyond.
- Drop off a cooked dish. Think veggie lasagna, tamale pie, a bowl of cut-up fruit or Slow Cooker Lentil Soup. Need ideas? Visit Catherine over at Weelicious for easy, family friendly ideas. Make it, cover it, drop it off. Doesn't need to be fancy, just edible and ideally a bit healthy to help those recovering moms heal as well as they can. Also key, the words "drop off". Do not linger. Visit another time. Let the new mom not have to feel like she needs to "host" or entertain you because you're giving her food. This is crucial.
- Offer to watch the older child or the dog for a bit. This can mean playing with the child in the comfort of her own house or walking the dog around the block. As a post-partum doula, these are two activities that I tackle often with my clients. This comes under the header of "seriously useful hands-on help"! Another idea: you pick up the child and head to the local playground. Bring the child to your house to play with your child. Let mom be mom with just one child to worry about..even for only an hour. Every little bit helps.
- Run an errand. Pick up groceries. Drop off clothes at dry cleaners. Pick up clothes at the dry cleaners. Get stamps. Mail a package. Get gas for the car. Get the car's oil changed. Return a gift. Pick up a book at the library. Return her books to the library. Drop off flowers. Stop by Buy Buy Baby for more diapes (although Amazon's diaper autoship is still my go-to idea for simplicity and ease.). You get the idea. Offer to do one of these and if the new mom seems less than thrilled, ask her what would be helpful.
What would you add to this list? Leave me a comment below.
Happy holidays everyone!