When JJ was first born I thought it was my job to care for him; biologically, socially, emotionally I believed this. And I was miserable. I was overwhelmed, lonely and exhausted. I was on maternity leave and Scott (my husband) was traveling for work. With my parents living in a different country, I was alone most of the time.
It took me way too long to learn that asking for help did not make me a worse or incompetent mother – it in fact made me a much better one. Things like being able to learn from an experienced mother, take a much needed break (or shower), or just have a little company are so so important.
One of the most helpful things a girlfriend did was come over and just hold JJ while he slept so that I could shower in peace. It took 25 minutes out of her day and it made my week.
Sometimes it’s really hard to ask for help, so while we moms grow some balls, it would be awesome if those around us could offer specific help rather than the open ended “here to help if you need anything” (which still forces us to actually ask for the help we need).
Ways To Help a New Mom: (even if we won’t ask)
- Company, come play with us or hang with me and tell me whats happening in the real world
- Watch baby while mom showers, eats or naps
- Help around the house, bring some food, fold some clothes or take the dog for a walk
- Help write thank you notes
- Help get pics of the baby printed
- If you live far away, you’re not off the hook: the phone and amazon are your friends.
- Call when you’re “at the store” to see if they need anything (less pressure for them if they say yes)
- Create a food calendar/chain to make sure that not just the baby is getting fed
- Offer to play chaperone the first time mom has to take baby in the car (that shit is terrifying)
- Offer company for bath time, until you get the hang of it (that shit is stressful too!)