raising a mommy

raising a mommy

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

top ten tuesday: blessing a new parent

Today's blessing:
Listening to my two and a half year old babble in bed while she's supposed to be napping. We've been though some hilarious mash-ups of Daniel Tiger, VeggieTales, and the story of what's going to happen when Mommy and Daddy go to the hospital when Nugget is born. Usually they're in song form.

It's no secret that people love babies. The newer, the better. They're so tiny and cute (some actually cute, some cute just because they're so tiny) and they don't stay that way for very long, so when someone has a baby, most people want to get in there as soon as possible and meet the new little one. It can't be helped, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. However, there are some things that need to be taken into account. I hope to address some of them here with a positive spin - giving suggestions, rather than telling you what you've been doing wrong. I hope this list is helpful, and if you have anything to add, I hope you'll leave it in the comments! So, without further ado, here is this Tuesday's Top Ten List:

Top Ten Ways to Bless New Parents

  1. Feed them. When you're not sleeping for more than two or three hours at a time, the last thing you want to do is have to worry about dinner. When you come to visit a newly expanded family, bring something nutritious for them to eat. Prepared meals are wonderful, though maybe check ahead first. If they've had four other people bring them food that needs to be eaten within 48 hours, there's a lot of waste that could be happening! Prepared meals that you can all enjoy together are wonderful, especially if they come with a post-meal dishwashing service. Freezer meals are great, too. Be sure the meal is carefully labeled so the family doesn't have to guess at what it is and how to prepare it! Snacks are good, too. I've gotten rave reviews about my Grandma's Homemade Granola. I packaged it in those tiny little 1/2 cup containers so mom could have one next to her to snack on while nursing, and I was told that it was great. I was also just told about this site called MealBaby. I guess you can sign up for free, then you create a calendar and list of your favorite foods or restaurants in your area. People can sign up to bring you food on certain days, and the gifter doesn't have to worry about making something the family might not like. I don't know much about it, but it sounds intriguing. What do you think? Brilliant or presumptuous? Personally, I would rather be sure that I'm bringing something the family will enjoy at a time that is useful for them!
    A freezer full of meals and veggies...dream come true!
  2. Clean for them. Offer to sweep the floor or wash a load of dishes before asking to hold the baby. And mean it. If they say no, ask again. Chances are, they would love some help, but feel silly accepting.
  3. Let them shower. I remember some weeks after my first was born, I averaged two showers a week. Not great. Yes, you can put a newborn in a crib or swing while you shower, and even if they wake up, you know they'll be fine, but it's nice to know that they're in the company of another caring adult in case they start crying. And if you have a toddler, too...well, they can do plenty of damage if they go unsupervised for even 10 minutes!
  4. Let them sleep. I have read about the elusive simulnap. (This is when multiple children nap at the same time. It may be a myth.) Be kind and offer to take both children off mom and dad's hands for an hour so they can get some sleep, too.
  5. Feed them. Sometimes restaurant gift cards are the best things you can give a newly expanded family. Family friendly places are great - Perkins, Baker's Square, or Applebee's kind of places for "nicer" sit down meals, or Subway, Jimmy John's, Chipotle, Panera, Noodles, etc for your faster "oh crap it's 5:30 and I forgot that we need supper" kind of meals. This way, they can enjoy a meal (maybe even leftovers) and not have to clean up after it. Win win!
  6. Don't overstay your welcome. Short visits are usually best at first, unless you're busy cleaning or occupying a child or two so mom and dad can nap. Here's a hint: if you know mom is nursing baby and she says something along the lines of, "Well, I think it's {insert baby's name}'s lunch time!" that probably means you should go. Unless she specifically prefaces it with "Feel free to stick around, but..." Then use your best judgement.
  7. Don't surprise them. Do not show up at their house unannounced. Call or send a text ahead of time to find out when would be best, and be willing to be flexible. If you make plans to go visit at 9:00 the next morning (with an offer to bring muffins or cinnamon rolls, please!), then don't be offended if you get a text at 8:00 saying "{Insert baby's name here} just fell asleep for the first time since 1:00am. Can we reschedule?"
  8. Don't feel obligated, but if you want to give a gift, be thoughtful about it. Baby gifts are fun. I know. The little tiny outfits with bows or trucks or dinosaurs are so cute! And the stuffed animals? Darling! However, in some cases, they may not be the best way to bless a family. It may lose some of the fun element of surprise, and definitely may not be as "cute," but if they family does not have a gift registry, you can't go wrong by asking what they would like. We have boxes of toys from our first that she didn't ever play with, and are still finding outfits that were given to us that still have tags on them. We are currently living in a pretty small apartment, we have plenty of people to lend us clothes, and, as I stated before, we have enough toys to occupy a day care full of babies. However, our changing table is in desperate need of a new pad and we're hoping to use newborn cloth diapers this time around. I know it's more fun to buy a giant stuffed teddy bear or a little flowered dress with ruffly bloomers, but honestly, some new parents would rather have one cloth diaper than either of those. Seriously. Money or gift cards are always appreciated, too. Though, again, don't feel obligated. (Well, maybe just a little obligated. A new baby is a pretty big deal!)
  9. Go for a walk with them. Now, this may not be for everyone. Some moms may give you a death glare or laugh hysterically at you if you suggest going for a walk. I would appreciate it. However, I am one of those weird people who get extremely crabby if I go too long without physical activity. And sometimes it might be nice to have someone else to push the stroller!
  10. Feed them. Are you noticing a trend here? Before you stop over for your pre-planned visit, call and ask if you can pick up anything from the grocery store. As a new parent, it's so easy to not realize that you have less than one sippy cup full of milk left in the whole house, and, in my house, that will not fly!
So there you have it. Moms and Dads, what other suggestions do you have?

1 comment:

  1. My addition to your list: remember that 2nd and 3rd and 4th(etc) babies are just as special as that first baby. We were showered with gifts and love when our first arrived, not so much so for our second. Every baby deserves to be welcomed with love, notes, a thoughtful gift, prayers, etc. And trust me it means a lot as a mom who just went through some incredible stuff to bring that little one into the world, to feel loved and supported with every babe that comes and steals your heart all over again.