I really find it frustrating when I see something on the internet that makes me roll my eyes because I suspect it's stupid, but I can't truly judge it because I haven't experienced it. Some things are worth doing just so I can pass judgments. Examples: Whole30 and rigid birth plans.
|He made it out, no birth plan needed.|
While I can still be accused of being a judgmental jerk, at least people can't be all like “you haven’t been there, you don’t even know!”.
I have been suspicious of those lists floating around that new moms are supposed to post on their Facebook or tape to their door, with a list of "helpful hints" for friend and family. I never said anything, because the prospect of having a kid is terrifying enough without potentially turning down essential help. But I've survived nearly two months of new parenthood now, so I am ready to judge away. My first suggestion would be that prior to popping out that kid, find some friends and family that don't suck. I'm even more appreciative of the people in my life now because I had people coming out of the woodwork to visit and help, no stupid list needed.
Disclaimer – I have one kid, no pets, and an amazingly supportive partner. Single moms and moms of multiple kids are superheroes to me so maybe the list is needed in that case. I don’t really understand why anyone would want to own a pet but it is more responsibility so maybe pet owners need more help too.
This is just one example, but I’ve seen a bunch and they are all pretty similar. I’m not trying to call anyone out specifically.
1. Buy us toilet paper, milk and beautiful whole grain bread.
Toilet paper doesn't go bad, so why is it on all these lists as a must have? We just stocked up at Costco before the baby arrived. You have nine months to prepare, it's not like a sudden storm where you get stranded and you are screwed. If you want to bring me bread, I'd prefer a nice Garlic Tuscan with fatty white flour please.
2. Buy us a new garbage can with a swing top lid and 6 pairs of black cotton underpants (women’s size____).
You are doing parenting wrong if you have destroyed a garbage can before your kid can even hold his head up. I don’t even understand this, it’s so specific. Personally I didn’t find I needed new underpants, but if I did, I wouldn’t be asking visitors to bring them to me. I have some close friends that I feel comfortable discussing some very private details with, but I’m not asking anyone to bring me undergarments.
3. Make us a big supper salad with feta cheese, black Kalamata olives, toasted almonds, organic green crispy things and a nice homemade dressing on the side. Drop it off and leave right away. Or, buy us frozen lasagna, garlic bread, a bag of salad, a big jug of juice, and maybe some cookies to have for dessert. Drop it off and leave right away.
Lasagna, yes, garlic bread, yes, cookies, yes, salad, no thanks. I can put lettuce in a bowl just fine, if I’m going to demand someone cook for me, at least I want the good stuff. But again, I had lots of awesome wonderful people do this, and I didn’t have to demand it, and if someone is close enough to you to meet your new baby at your home, shouldn’t they know at least ONE food you might like? And is it really necessary to say “drop it off and leave right away” not once but TWICE? I have this weird quirk where I like to actually see my friends, and I don’t get nervous about them coming over because if I need them to leave, I can just politely request it. Hint: not by posting it on my door for them to see when they’ve slaved over a hot stove.
4. Come over about 2 in the afternoon, hold the baby while I have a hot shower, put me to bed with the baby and then fold all the piles of laundry that have been dumped on the couch, beds or in the room corners. If there’s no laundry to fold yet, do some.
|Good luck putting the baby to bed. Don't let this fool you, it's easier said than done.|
Again, underwear…it’s personal. I don’t need anyone coming to my house to fold or, even worse, wash mine. Like really just imagine this scene. A grown ass adult being put to bed by their coworker who had the day off and thought they would try to stop by. And I’m a pretty casual, what you see is what you get type, but I cringe at the thought of taking a nap while someone is in my living room folding all my laundry. Just use the clean laundry off the couch instead of getting it put away. It won’t kill you.
5. Come over at l0 a.m., make me eggs, toast and a 1/2 grapefruit. Clean my fridge and throw out everything you are in doubt about. Don’t ask me about anything; just use your best judgment.
I’m noticing is whoever wrote this list seems to have a lot of unemployed friends, or at least friends who aren’t 9-5ers. And apparently a late sleeping baby, because 10am is way past breakfast time over here. Having someone come over and clean my fridge is even more uncomfortable to think about than the laundry.
6. Put a sign on my door saying “Dear Friends and Family, Mom and baby need extra rest right now. Please come back in 7 days but phone first. All donations of casserole dinners would be most welcome. Thank you for caring about this family.”
Another thing you could easily do ahead of time but seriously, having a baby is busy, but not so busy that you can’t write four sentences and tape them to your door.
7. Come over in your work clothes and vacuum and dust my house and then leave quietly. It’s tiring for me to chat and have tea with visitors but it will renew my soul to get some rest knowing I will wake up to clean, organized space.
This is actually sounding like a good way of responding to someone you really can’t stand who wants to visit. I kind of wish I had had that opportunity now that I think of it. But again, I actually like my friends and enjoyed spending time with them when they visited Dalton. I like a clean house as much as the next person, but not as much as I like not having my friends think I’m a total jerk. I get that diapers don’t come cheap and this is a good time to cut costs, but if some dust is really going to affect your sanity, just hire a cleaning person. Pay that person to clean your house and have fun with your visitors, and they’ll leave still liking you.
8. Take my older kids for a really fun-filled afternoon to a park, zoo or Science World and feed them healthy food.
Well, fun-filled afternoon and healthy food do generally go hand in hand for a child. I don’t have older kids, but expect me to come back and comment on this down the road.
9. Come over and give my husband a two hour break so he can go to a coffee shop, pub, hockey rink or some other r & r that will delight him. Fold more laundry.
How much laundry can you have? Even with the baby around, I was doing less by staying in my pajamas 24/7 and not changing outfits as often as I should have. I’m truly don’t mean this as a slight to my husband, because he’s amazing, but he doesn’t have boobs, so he could take a break anytime he wanted! He didn’t need someone to come over, because another adult was chained to the baby constantly – me. In the beginning, when Dalton was eating every two hours, there just wasn’t as much for Eric to do because so much of Dalton’s time had to be spent solely with me by necessity (and he still did a ton by doing everything around the house and waiting on me hand and foot, which maybe is why I don’t understand lists like this).
10. Make me a giant pot of vegetable soup and clean the kitchen completely afterwards. Take a big garbage bag and empty every trash basket in the house and reline with fresh bags.
Enough with the vegetables. There’s time for healthy eating down the road. As far as the trash, a majority of our trash output was (is) dirty diapers. That just seems to be to be a parent’s responsibility to take out. No matter how cute someone else’s baby is, I’m not interested in any part of their bodily functions. The least I can do is offer that same courtesy to my guests. I solemnly swear that if you ever come over, I will not ask you to literally take out a trash bag of crap.
|No baby other than your own is adorable enough to deal with poop.|
I’ve been pretty forthright on here that I’m one of the most introverted, antisocial people out there. Yet even I was really honored that people were taking time out of their busy lives to come see me and meet my son. I also liked that he was beginning a relationship with all these good people. Plus, flattery will get you everywhere, and I certainly didn’t hate the compliments on his cuteness, and I even got some myself! Seeing lists like this while pregnant made me feel like the world’s biggest jackass for all the times my young, ignorant self went to visit a new parent empty handed and GASP just wanted to see their new baby and spend a little time with them. But I loved all our visitors, whether or not they came with a casserole. I even wanted visitors in the hospital! I thought that sounded awful, but when the time came I couldn’t get enough.
(Imagine a montage of photos of friends and family holding Dalton here, I don't have time to make it.)
I’m absolutely not saying I don’t need help. I’m a hot mess and just bumbling my way through as best I can. I’m just saying that maybe if you need to place all these demands on your door to get that help from people, it might be time to take a good hard look at your life choices. Personally I just think having friends I can turn to when I’m crying harder than the baby is more valuable than a freshly vacuumed carpet or an empty trashcan with a brand spanking new liner. But I reserve the right to treat everyone as my maid if we are lucky enough to have kid #2, because that looks hard.
Totally unrelated but I've been meaning to link to my friend Jessy's blog for forever and I keep forgetting. We were friends in high school and lost touch and then just reconnected on Facebook since we both recently had babies. She is saving my life and loaning me her Rock and Play when I go visit my family this weekend so there is a fighting chance I will get a few minutes of sleep.