The alternative title for this post was “What Newly Made Parents Really Want.” The answer to which is an SOS flag and the arrival of help. It doesn’t matter if these are first-time parents or ones well-versed in child-rearing. Every new set of parents need help. And I don’t mean help holding the baby.
I had a co-worker once tell me that her mom would come over and offer to take the baby from her hands. After a C-section delivery, she said, “What I needed at the time was not someone to hold my baby. I needed someone to cook dinner for my husband when I can’t get out of bed!”
Another girlfriend recently told me over coffee, “My mom kept offering to feed my baby, when that was something I was capable of doing. Meanwhile, the dishes in the sink had been piled up for days and the dog needed dinner!”
So I decided to offer a list of things that newly made parents might really want. Please don’t be offended if it’s not to share the first few moments of their newborn’s life with you. It’s okay if they don’t want to socialize, or go out, or entertain. Right now, they need you for other roles, most of which are frugal or free.
What Newly Made Parents Really Want
- Fresh sheets. When a recovering mother and a sleepless father can barely get out of bed, the last thing they’ll want to do is change the sheets and do the laundry. However, having spent all day lying down in said bed, a change of sheets would be heavenly. When we left for the hospital, my water had broken in the middle of the night so we had tossed the sheets into the hamper for later. We came home to a bed that needed making the evening we were allowed to go home. It’s like an adult’s bane of existence – being ready for bed and having to do the sheets. Now that we’ve been home three days, our sheets are ready for changing again. Recovering from a C -section means I am mostly bed-ridden. Then again, being a newborn parent means Mikey is mostly bed-ridden, too.
- A cake loaf, or sourdough bread and special jam. This could be an unpopular opinion but a buttered slice of sourdough in the wee hours of morning or a cake slice in the afternoon can be so rejuvenating! If you care to make it with love, here are a few recipes to try: Lemon Poppyseed Loaf, Chocolate Chip Walnut Banana Bread or My Sourdough Bread Recipe. Although I’m sure take-out from a local bakery would be just as endearing. Mike and I found ourselves exhausted on the second morning back from the hostpital. His dad wanted to see baby at 9am but Mike had just hopped into bed at 6:30am, after staying up three hours with our little one so I could get some shut-eye. I called his dad saying we were lagging behind for breakfast. So he went to a nearby cafe and brought over breakfast burritos and cinnamon rolls, which was a life saver!
- Housekeeping. If you don’t mind cleaning duties, a quick vaccuum of the rug, sweep of the floor, loading or unloading of a dishwasher or dusting of furniture does wonders. If you’d prefer, hire a housekeeper to pop in during a time that works for mum and dad. My parents visited the second night we were home. They brought us take-out and unloaded the dishwasher of the clean dishes that needed to be put away. They also loaded the dishwasher and took out the trash. We were so grateful that night. It really set us up for a successful feeding and sleeping schedule with our new babe.
- Pet Sitting. Dropping by to walk the dog or feed the cat can take a load off their plate. As a pet sitter, I know how grateful parents are when their pet family members get the attention and love they deserve, at a time when it’s running short in the home. You can even create a whole business out of this! Ask new parents to refer you to other new parents in order to gain more clients. Allergic or not a fan of furry friends? Why not hire a walker for the family? My dad swung by the house every night we were at the hospital to feed our cat. I was able to focus on recovering from an emergency C-section without worrying about our other family member left at home.
- A new book. Send it via app, drop off a recent read, or do a library haul. Leave it behind so they can get some relaxing time. While I havent had a chance to even look at a book (let alone read one), this is a great idea for dads or maybe recovering moms who have it more managed than I. Check out the books I read about parenting and pregnancy that helped me through my journey.
- A vase of fresh flowers. Fresh florals are a solution that doesn’t lead to clutter or require much upkeep. Just a gentle reminder that life is beautiful during what may be a difficult transition. I’ve received so many beautiful bouquets that have cheered me up during my lowest of lows. Just knowing that I was loved really help me transition out of the dark moments – like when I cried over spilled milk (literally) or when breastfeeding seemed too much to continue on.
- Moisturizing lotions, heat packs, and other self-care bits. It’s a time of heavy hand-washing and hunched over laboring. Simple products such as baby salves, sitz-bath salts, or massage balls will be a huge stress-relief. I have my girlfriends to thank for this. So many of my gals who have experienced motherhood before stepped up and provided all the awkward items that no one wants to talk about. The reality is, their openness and honesty helped me mentally prepare for what feels like the toughest moments of my life.
- A free photo shoot. Have a knack for the camera? Offer to pop-by and photograph the new stages of life. It may not be something they’re even thinking about or initially want. But these fleeting moments of parenthood do pass by quite quickly. A memento of even the toughest times will eventually become a tribute to the best days of their life. My dad brought over his camera and took pictures of us as a family. One of my dog-sitter’s pawrents offered to do a photoshoot for baby. And Mike’s dad snapped photos of us after a fairly rough night at home and a bout of crying over aforementioned spilled milk.