A List of Things You Can Do to Support New Moms
I am a single, first-time mom. When my baby was 5 days old, all ‘help’ was gone and the two of us were left alone to begin our lives together. That moment is still etched in my memory as the most terrifying day of my life. As much as I was overjoyed, I felt paralyzed by fear. How could anyone leave this fragile creature alone with me? In an instant, I went from enjoying my independence to craving a community. Thinking back on that time today, I compiled a list of 24 Easy Ways to Help New Moms.
Keep in mind that not everyone’s situation is the same. Mothers, parents in general for that matter, have a variety of different circumstances. Some single moms are truly on their own, while others have a great support system in place. Conversely, you can’t assume that married or co-parents have everything under control. The military mom whose spouse is deployed may appreciate some support. Closer to home, don’t forget the deplorable absence of maternity and paternity leave in the United States.
Lend a Hand
A helping hand can go a long way to making things not feel so overwhelming. Despite the ease and convenience of online ordering, help from loved ones cannot be outsourced. Thankfully, there are so many different ways that you can pitch in to ease the burden on new moms. Do you enjoy cooking? Perhaps you’re handy or a great organizer. Chances are, there is something you can do to help.
- Prepare meals – Think of meals that are easy to reheat in the oven, air fryer or microwave.
- Freezer friendly meals are great
- When preparing meals for your family, just increase the amount and set it aside for the new family
- Grocery store runs – Do the shopping yourself or simply pick-up and deliver the grocery order to save on the delivery fee.
- Order a pizza –This is a super convenient way to do something nice. Order from anywhere and have it delivered. Who doesn’t want pizza?
Inside of the House
- Help assemble baby furniture – Furniture assembly can be tricky. If you know your way around a toolbox, putting your skills to use putting the baby furniture together could save on a lot of frustration.
- Move furniture around – Mom may need help organizing the nursery or rearranging the bedroom furniture in the main room to make things easier for mom and baby.
- Paint the nursery – People have a love/ hate relationship with painting. If your talent is with a paintbrush, help a mother out.
- Baby proof the house – True, baby will not be on the move for several months, but that time goes by fast. Help mom plan ahead and make sure the house is safe for that little mover when the time comes.
- Cleaning or organizing – Run that vacuum, load the dishes, help organize all of the lovely gifts the baby received.
- Fold laundry – Every parent knows that laundry only multiplies when you have kids. Getting help with some of those piles is a godsend.
Outside of the House
- Mow the lawn – Keeping the lawn neat and tidy may not be at the top of the list for new moms, but it may be for the neighbors.
- Tend the garden – People love their gardens. If this is true of your new mom, help ease her stress by making sure it flourishes until she is able to tend it herself.
- Put the garbage & recycling out/ Put it away – It’s the little things that happen on a regular basis that can be an afterthought.
- Wash the car – Again, something that may not be at the top of the list, but it may certainly be appreciated.
- Shovel snow – Help make sure that mom and the baby and delivery personnel are able to get in and out of the house safely.
Be a friend
It might sound silly but being a friend may be all a new mom needs. Some moms may be alone in a new city or may not have a lot of people in their lives they can lean on. In my case, as a mom of a certain age, I have exactly one friend who has a young child, and that friend is out of state. Everyone else is either childless and career driven or had their kids 20 years ago. So, if you are in the position to be a friend, be a friend.
Gift of Time
- Listen – Emotions and hormones can be overpowering after birth. Mom may welcome the chance to express herself and be heard.
- Stay connected – Maintain your friendship with mom. A quick call, text, or connect over social media may help mom retain a sense of normalcy of her life before motherhood.
- Keep her company -Offer to drive her to appointments or maybe go on a walk with mom and baby.
- Spend the night – Give mom the chance to sleep through the night by offering to take over night duty from time to time. A good night’s sleep can be transformative.
- Meet for coffee or go to lunch/ brunch – Mom might appreciate getting out of the house for a little socialization.
- Organize a girls’ night in – Head over to the new mom’s house with the girls!
- Keep it simple and order some food.
- Feeling a little more adventurous, have everyone pitch-in in the kitchen. Then make cocktails or open a bottle of wine and queue the laughs.
- Spa night! A little in-home mani/ pedi, a rejuvenating face mask, aromatherapy candles, you get the drift!
- Offer to babysit – Give mom some personal time for self-care or a little fun. Even an hour or two can be just the refresher mom needs.
- Give a list of useful tips/ resources – This could be stores, websites, books, or anything that mom can add to her parenting arsenal.
- Arrange play dates – This can range from tummy time with the littlest babes, to the park for older kids. Invite other moms with young kids, fostering a community.
- Be a buffer for challenging friends/ family visiting the new baby. Some relationships are emotionally hard to navigate (think over-excited grandparents, jealous or bitter friends). Sometimes having a third party in the room can ease tensions all-around.
- Volunteer for school runs. Taking the older kids to and from school or activities can be one less thing for mom to manage with a new baby.
- Be the delivery location for shipments. You don’t want anyone ringing the doorbell and waking the baby.
Remember, bringing new life into your home is as challenging as it is wonderful. Given the tole that exhaustion and physical recovery from birth can take, the humane thing to do is to ensure that the new family is supported. If you aren’t sure how to help, start by asking what is needed. It can be hard for some people to speak up when they are overwhelmed. If that’s the case and you are a mom, think back to when you had your kid(s).
What would have made your life easier? Start there. Do not limit yourself to this list of 24 Easy Ways to Help New Moms; Let it be a starting point of inspiration. Tap into what you do best or what may be the easiest way for you to help a new mom in your life find a little help, peace and understanding.
What kind of support do you think new moms need? Share your thoughts in the comments.
If you would like to read about my entry into motherhood, be sure to read How Advanced Maternal Age Shaped This First Time Mom.