What A Family Really Needs after a Baby is Born

What A Family Really Needs after a Baby is Born

I really liked this blog post, which Jennifer of Conversion Diary linked to some time ago: it’s a list of what one mom really wants people to do for her when she’s got a newborn. I especially like number 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.

Now, although she says these are things missing in every house with a new baby, I think this list is much too individual to be a good generic to hand out to people.(Number 2 seems very particular to her individual needs. I have no use for either item. And 3 and 5 also seems to reflect a particular taste. I like big salads but the kids wouldn’t be big fans and I’d prefer goat cheese to feta and please hold the garlic bread. My preferred breakfast is oatmeal not toast and eggs, though grapefruit is nice.)  But I do really like the idea of the list of very specific things that people can do because I think often people have good intentions but just don’t know what would be helpful.

I only wish I had a plethora of local friends who could jump in to help out. But I’m getting over being jealous of moms who have that kind of network because as one dear friend has pointed out God might not have given me that specific gift but I would be utterly foolish to ignore the gifts he has given me. No, there won’t be an army of church ladies coming to deliver casseroles but my wonderful mother just bought a plane ticket to come up a few days before the birth. She will be here a little over a month. My sister—who lives with us!—will be taking off a few days from work so she can be here to help my mom with the kids while I’m in the hospital. The girls will adore grandma time and Ben will at least have his familiar Auntie here who he has known since he was born and who is like a second mommy to him. And Dom will be taking off some days to be with me in the hospital.

Truly I am blessed in my family. I will have all that I truly NEED. In the meantime I’m trying to write up some shopping lists and menu plans to help my mom out. It’s been a while since she was taking care of four young kids of her own and of course she isn’t as familiar with all the likes and dislikes of my crew or of all the rhythms and routines of our household. Things will fall apart, of course, and once I’m up on my feet again we’ll have to develop new rhythms and routines as we learn to fit a new person into our household. Anthony will fit himself in and we’ll all bend a little to accommodate him and soon enough we won’t be able to imagine how we ever lived life without him.

So I do have a support network. I will not be trying to recover from a c-section, take care of a newborn, and three older kids and the house all by myself. Still, based on my experience with the last three babies, I wouldn’t mind a few church ladies stopping in to help out my family. If I did have such a crew, what would be on my list?

Vacuum my carpets. (A family with three kids and beige carpets? Recipe for always looks a mess.)

Scrub my bathtub and my bathroom floor and the toilet.

Mop my kitchen floor and scrub out the sink.

Do a few loads of laundry.

Take the kids on an outing (i know there’s not a lot to do in MA in February; but they get really cranky when they’re stuck in the house for too long.)

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  • My family’s first winter in Boston (1969) was also exceptionally snowy.  My mother took pictures of three little girls in caves we dug for ourselves in the snowbanks created by the incessant shoveling.  I bet if you gave your kids sand shovels (reasonably good ones) or “toy” snow shovels, they’d have a blast digging for themselves.  They might never make caves, but they’d still have fun.

  • Kathryn,

    In Texas, where I’m from, so do we. Thus my compulsion to try to capture the sheer volume of the stuff in photographs.

    Scotch Meg, I’ll have to look for toy shovels next time I go to Target. I think all our beach toys are inaccessible in the shed right now. If any of them would even be heavy duty enough for snow.