”What Can I Do To Help?”
If you say this to a mama and she looks at you like it’s a trick question, don’t give up. Sometimes asking for what we need is tricky, you know? Especially when we love, respect, and can’t imagine you scraping lasagna off our plates and taking out our trash! No fear, though, here are some ideas we will love!
1. Run A Couple of Errands. Text me the day before you’re scheduled to drop off a meal and ask if you can pick anything up on your way: toilet paper, bleach-free pads, laundry soap, etc.
2. If I Say No: Text me again a few hours before you stop by. I may have remembered something!
3. Give Me An Afternoon. “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.” (Gloria Lemay¹)
4. Something Else I Really Knead Go in with a friend and pay for a massage therapist to come to the house. Let me pick the date so I can make sure hubby is available to take the kids on a walk. Peace, quiet, and relaxation! (Thanks for this idea, Anna Miller!)
5. Spruce Up My Kitchen. Put a load of dishes in the dishwasher and wipe down my countertops.
6. Make Me a Mood Boosting Air Spritzer. Buy a simple 8 ounce spray bottle and fill it with 2 tablespoons witch hazel and 3/4 cup filtered water. Add 36 to 48 drops of lavender, rose otto, violet leaf, lemon balm, ylang ylang, clary sage or sandalwood. Ask me if I’d like you to spritz my pillow. Oh, and make up a batch for yourself, too. Let’s be happy together!
7. Don’t Assume that because I am on my second (or third or fourth!) baby that I don’t need help because I “know what I’m is doing.” I need more help! (thanks Renee Kohley!)
8. Speaking Of My Older Kids . . . Please take them to the park to blow bubbles or kick the soccer ball around. Please do not feed them junk – they turn in to gremlins, I promise! Here are some healthy snack ideas they’ll love!
9. Take Kitty For a Walk. Or if you really love me clean out Fido’s litterbox! (What, you DIDN’T name your dog after a cat and vice versa?!?!?)
10. Put A Sign On My Door . . . that says “Dear Friends and Family, Mom and baby need extra rest right now. Please come back in seven days, but phone first. All donations of casserole dinners would be most welcome. Thank you for caring about this family.” Gloria Lemay ²)
11. Express Your Inner Type A. If you’re the organizing type, help me harness “Is there anything I can do to help?” into real-life results. Create a list of chores to put on the fridge so that friends know what is needed. (thanks for this idea, Katy Scott!)
12. Invite Me To The Circle. Thinking about birth – mine, yours, or the totally different one down the street – is a great way to help me process my experience. Long conversations can be tiring, but I wouldn’t mind if you dropped by your copy of The Birth Next Door for me to read while I’m nursing in the wee hours.
13. Nourish the Nourisher. Set up a Care Calendar and email all my friends/family about it. If my family is on a restricted diet – gluten, dairy, sugar, whatever – make sure that vital info gets listed. When you sign up make sure to bring me a nourishing meal like egg drop soup and a huge salad with homemade dressing. Here are 21 healthy ideas I’ll love you for!
14. Close The Gap. Yeah, there are 3 states between us and you’re totally off the hook, but how awesome would it be if you made the miles vanish into thin air with a visit from a cleaning service or box of organic, GMO-free dark chocolate drop-shipped from Amazon?
15. Send Me This Article.
16. Stop By After All The Hullabaloo Has Died Down. The first two weeks everyone is eager to help, but the adjustment period takes much longer.
17. Leave Immediately. I love you, I REALLY do, but welcoming visitors can be very tiring. So after you’ve done one of these amazing things for me, quietly slip out the door. Did I mention that I love you?
18. Make “Thank You” Taboo. Gifts are not necessary, but if you bring one make sure that it comes with a card that says “Don’t you dare write me a thank you note!“