This is Day 2 of our series on “Surviving & Thriving with a Newborn” — part of the 31 day writing challenge hosted by the Nester. Every day in October I’ll be sharing a tip about how to make the most of and enjoy the sleep-deprived newborn days. For a list of all the posts in this series, click here.
For some people, asking for help comes easy. Not so for me — unless, of course, it’s my Mom. I’d venture to guess that many women are like me. We try to do everything and be everything to everyone, but as the mom of a newborn, now is NOT the time to play Super Woman.
You’re recovering from childbirth. You are subsisting on very little sleep. If you’re nursing, then you’re sore, healing body is continuing to provide nourishment and life to another living being. And you need to eat, to rest, and to bond with your newest addition. Now is not the time to be proud and refuse food, help with the kids, or a nap. Now is the time to accept help and even seek it out when necessary.
Here are some ways to accept help from others & how to be proactive in asking for it:
1. If someone offers to watch your older children so you can nap or shower, let them. It’s so nice to take a hot shower without worrying about the baby crying or another child needing you. Let people who offer to help do just that and don’t feel guilty about it. They would not offer if they didn’t want to help!
2. Elicit your husband’s help. Sure he’s been working all day. Give him time to come in, change clothes, and get acclimated, but let him know how he can assist you. Don’t expect him to just know what you need him to do. I’m very guilty of this and get frustrated that my husband isn’t a mind reader, but when I actually ask him to play with the kids or make breakfast, he willingly does it without complaint. If you don’t ask, then you can’t expect people — even your husband– to know what you need.
3. Have some ideas in mind in case people ask how they can help.There will be offers of help so think about how someone can best lend you a hand. For example, if some kind soul were to ask me how they could best help me, here’s what I might say in my sweetest voice with lots of “please’s” and “thank-you’s”:
- Come play with my kids outside so I can take a nap.
- Bring a meal or send a gift card to a favorite restaurant.
- Do a load of laundry for me.
- Hold the baby so I can shower.
- Go to the store for me. Here’s my list.
- Tidy up the house.
- Take my trash to the dump.
- Bring some fun (but not messy) art supplies or a video to entertain the kids.
- Mow the lawn.
- Run some errands for me.
- Take the kids to the park and let them wear themselves out so they’ll nap good.
4. I love online services like Meal Train and Take Them a Meal, where people can sign up to bring meals to you and your family. Be a friend and offer to set one up for your pregnant buddy. Then, when it’s your turn, she’ll set one up for you. It’s incredible! Friends and family bring over food for a month or longer. You can specify drop-off times, any food allergies, even foods you don’t like/want. It’s super easy and helpful.
Even if it’s hard to ask for help, when you’re the mom of a newborn, you need to let people do for you. You aren’t a moocher or lazy; you’re working very hard in a state of exhaustion and your body is on the mend. Remind yourself that this is just a season. Let people pamper you now, and then when the baby is sleeping at night, your fully healed, and life has resumed a bit of normalcy, then extend the same courtesies to other new moms that you received.
Tip #1: Accept help, and, if necessary, ask for it.
Do you accept help pretty easily, or do you try to do things on your own?
What’s something you would want someone to do for you as a new mom?
Come back tomorrow for another tip for Surviving & Thriving with a Newborn!