I’ve been a new mom twice. The second time I felt like a total professional who knew just what to do, but the first time I was a hot mess.
One time someone stopped by unexpected when I was home alone with the baby, was in nursing pajamas and no bra, had just finished a 20 minute sob fest and was wondering why on earth I wanted a baby.
And now shit, someone is at my door and I need to smile at them and show them my new baby. I was embarrassed to say the least.
A new baby was way harder than I expected and although I certainly had great support from my friends and family, there are a few things that were the most helpful. Here are the things that a new mom actually wants from you – and doesn’t want from you.
To call and ask if you can come over.
Please, please, pretty please, never show up unannounced. Please don’t ring my doorbell and make my dog bark like a gang of robbers is entering. Ask for a set time and see if it’s OK. As a new mom I need a minute to put the dog outside, wipe the spit up from my shirt and make sure I put a bra on.
To bring her food.
Bringing food used to be the first thing people did when a baby was born, now it seems like it’s happening less and less. New moms are appreciative of any gift you bring, really, but feeding her family dinner means the world to her right now and gives her one less thing she has to do.
To come do her dishes. Or her laundry. Or mop her floors.
I know you want to come hold the new baby and that’s totally cool. But if you blocked out a little time in your day to offer to help with a chore afterwards you would be the nicest person in the universe. New babies are just so overwhelming and getting to the dishes sometimes takes last priority. It doesn’t mean they don’t need done though, and having that off their plate would feel amazing.
To give her space.
The truth is, as much as she loves her friends and family, she may just not want a bunch of people coming over throughout the first few days. I felt so overwhelmed and gross (no shower, no makeup…) and was honestly a bit embarrassed to see people. Don’t take it personal, it genuinely has nothing to do with you and she will be ready for visitors soon.
To leave her husband alone.
OK, so your husband is a big boy and can make is own decisions, but seriously, can you please not invite him to poker night the weekend we get home from the hospital? Let him be dad and don’t try to talk him into a celebratory drink at the bar yet. There is time for that later.
To offer to babysit her other children.
You’re right, no way am I letting you babysit my 5 day old baby. However, I will totally let you take my four-year-old on an afternoon playdate to the park so I can try and take a nap with the newborn. Take them to play, take them to the movies, give them some fun and freedom away from the craziness of the new baby at home.
To sit quietly and stare at the sleeping baby while she takes a much needed shower.
So I told you that you can’t babysit yet, and that’s true, but I will let you sit in the room with them while they sleep and let me walk 11 steps to the bathroom for a quick shower. Our hair hasn’t been washed in days and we may feel good to put on fresh clothes and maybe even a little mascara.