Babies are one of the largest joys in the world, especially to other mothers. When our friends bring home their new bundle of joy, many of us automatically jump for the chance to visit and hold the sweet little nuggets. While this is a totally normal response, and absolutely valid—it does beg the question: while you’re holding the new baby, who is holding the new mom?
Becoming a mother is such a beautiful and exciting moment of our lives, but it is also intense, terrifying and exhausting. Especially the first few months of our child’s life, we are sleep deprived, unsure of what we are doing half the time, and often ignored by most of the world as the focus pivots from our bellies to our babies.
This time of transition is the best possible time for friends and family to step up to become the village that raises the family, not just the child. Here are some ideas of specific ways you can help to support new moms:
Making a quality meal doesn’t always have to be time-consuming, but when you have a tiny human being who needs to eat constantly, sometimes taking even that 30 minutes to cook yourself something from scratch just isn’t workable. If you are able to come and cook your friend their favorite meal or drop off a few freezer meals for her to have on hand for when she can’t handle the idea of making another peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner, she would appreciate it a lot. Alternatively, if you aren’t confident with your cooking skills, pick up her favorite takeout!
Do the Laundry
Laundry sucks. Let’s just get that out there: it’s pretty much the worst chore of all time. Which means it will mean that much more to an exhausted new mother not to have to handle a few loads of it.
Clean the House (or Hire Somebody Else to Do It)
Keeping up with a house without kids is hard enough, but add the little ones, and it can get overwhelming very quickly. Helping out with cleaning, or gifting a cleaning service, can be a much-needed relief from this unlovable chore.
Offer to Run Some Errands
Running out to the grocery store with a newborn is a rite of passage that many mothers are absolutely fine with passing on for as long as possible. By offering to pick up groceries, grab stamps, get diapers from Costco, or whatever else she might need, that is one less thing she needs to have to handle with a baby in tow.
Offer to Sit with Baby, So She Can Do Whatever She Wants
This goes a little against what we were saying about not holding the baby—but by offering, this gives the new mom a choice if she wants to have time alone (which is at a serious premium with a newborn). If you want to make it interesting, make a bet with a friend on whether she’ll choose a nap or shower, because I can just about promise you those will be the top two choices.
Tell Her She’s Doing a Good Job
Becoming a mother is overwhelming. Infants are tiny, fragile, they cry a lot, and you love them more than you thought you could ever love anything. No matter how much you read about parenting, mothers will always question their skills and choices with their children. Telling a friend that she is a good mom is one of the best gifts you can give her.