When each of my girls was born, the steady delivery of meals was an enormous help. I couldn’t figure out how to breastfeed, much less feed myself, so the food friends brought nourished me in a way I deeply needed. In addition, their visits proved to be a much-appreciated and reliable contact with the regular adult world whose primary concern was not how many wet diapers the baby has had today. So if you’re considering making meals for new moms, I say to you: DO IT.
Since my big girls are no longer babies, I’ve had the opportunity to pay everyone’s kindness forward. I’ve brought quite a few meals for new moms and their families, and in the process I’ve learned a lot about what to do—and what not to do—when delivering meals to new moms.
So if you’ve signed up for a meal train, YOU ARE AWESOME. Know that by making a meal (or bringing takeout—that’s totally not cheating!), you are showing this new mama that she is loved, supported, cared for—and that her village will help lift her up as she undertakes the most monumental change of her life.
She is a new mom, and you are helping her become the best mother she can be.
(And that’s a big deal.)
If you’re not quite sure what to bring or what to do, though, you’ve come to the right place. When it comes to making meals for new moms, I share these 12 tips to help you make life easier for the family more focused on umbilical cord scabs than dinnertime. Read more
I’m one of those strange hybrid creatures you read about in Buzzfeed articles: the introverted extrovert, or extroverted introvert, or whatever label we’re using these days for someone who likes to be social but tends to become totally exhausted when my calendar isn’t empty. I can also get extremely socially anxious—every so often, I feel like I’m floating outside my body and am sure that everyone can see what a phony I am as I make sure to laugh in the right places and stand in a way that I don’t look as awkward as I feel. (Overshare!) But this weekend I got over all that when I made myself just say yes—to a full three days’ worth of unforgettable experiences.
When Kiwi was a few months old, a friend texted me.
“I’m coming over. Be there in 15.”
I was a little surprised—we’d met a month or two earlier in moms’ group, and our babies were mere weeks apart, so we didn’t know each other terribly well. I didn’t really know what to expect.
When she arrived, I welcomed her into my home, trying not to think of the dog hair tumbleweeds and last night’s dinner-coated dishes still on the counter.
“I’m here to guerrilla help,” she said, stepping inside. “You never take me up on my offers to help. But here I am.”
She set down her baby, who was sleeping in her car seat, and asked if I’d rather she do a load of laundry or scrub my shower.
She ended up bouncing Kiwi, who woke up from a two-minute nap and refused to go back to sleep. But that was a bigger help than battling shower scum to a harried, exhausted, desperate mother who spent nearly every minute of the day trying to get a baby to sleep.
My friend did something special that day. She rescued me from one more attempt to bounce my baby to sleep—the time that may have pushed me over the edge. She let me know I wasn’t alone. She showed up when even I didn’t know I needed her. She lived what should be the international mother’s motto: Don’t ask. Just help. Read more
In the depths of winter, when every day as a mom of two felt too hard to endure, I had this kids-free fantasy: I’d check into a hotel, I’d lie down in the king size bed, and there would be no one there to touch me. I would take a shower and eat a meal someone else cooked. Maybe I’d watch some TV. But mainly I’d be away.
The fantasy always felt cruel because it seemed utterly unattainable. I had a toddler who cried whenever I picked up my baby. I had a baby who was often in pain from reflux, who hardly slept, and who wouldn’t take a bottle. Even though we had the means to pay for a hotel for a night, I couldn’t go.
I felt trapped.
I remembered this fantasy a few weeks ago when—wait for it—I spent an entire kids-free weekend at the beach with friends.
I remembered the pain, the desperation, the dark hopelessness of those teary days. But the memory didn’t sting like a fresh cut; rather, it was an ache of a more distant pain. And the salt water of the Oregon coast helped heal me. Read more