Thursday, September 16, 2010

baby week oh ten

 Little Miss O.

In the past year, three of my closest friends in Nacogdoches have had babies (two in the past week alone!). As we've welcomed new additions to our ranks - including Olivia, Ruby June and Andrew, not to mention Ruby's older sister, Rees - my friends (the Queens of Southern Hospitality) have made it a habit to organize a meal delivery service for the new parents. In the past, we've set up a shared Google document and invited friends and family to sign up for days, knowing that the dinners and desserts we deliver have given our friends time to rest and bond with their new babies.

A few weeks ago, my friend Sonnie found a website that has made this whole process a million times easier. It's called MealBaby and it's totally free. You create an account, complete a questionnaire about culinary likes, dislikes, allergies, etc., and then everyone can sign up for a day and note what they're bringing (because no one wants two solid weeks of mac and cheese - or do they?). MealBaby will also send you a reminder email the day before your dinner is due, which has been nice.

And even though it's called MealBaby, you can use it to organize meals for anyone going through a life change. A surgery, an illness, a death in the family. For someone who equates food with love, the chance to help a friend through a transition - whether it's the joyful welcoming of a new child or the sad goodbye to a loved one - is one I cannot pass up. And speaking of helping - do you have any other ideas or advice on how to support people who are juggling newborns? Having only had puppies, I know they need more than a baby gate and an extra bag of dog food, but as for specifics? I'd love some fresh ideas.

6 comments:

  1. Just help! Let them know you're available and then really be available. Also, people always tend to say "Call me if you need anything" but very rarely are new moms/dads going to call and say "I DESPERATELY NEED HELP!!!" But some days they do. So I like people who aren't afraid to call and say, "Ok, I'm free tonight. I can make you dinner, I can watch the baby, I can just come hang out and have some adult conversation or whatever, but I insist." When you call and offer it up, it doesn't seem like such an imposition.

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  2. I haven't had much experience with new babies, but I think having someone call up and say, do you want me to come over so you can nap/shower/run to the store would be helpful. I can imagine wanting to be able to do the daily tasks of an adult without also having to worry about my newborn, even if they don't need to leave the house. Or offering to watch the new baby while they have alone time with the older child, or vice versa?

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  3. Every time I visit my cousins and their baby, I clean when they're not looking. Empty the dishwasher, fill it back up again, run it, take out the trash ect... But that works best on overnight trips (when she's gone to bed with the baby and our husbands are distracting themselves with conversation) and with people who are comfortable with you poking around their house. But still, it's fun to get a text message 2 hrs later when they've figured out who's the cleaning fairy.

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  4. I've got a friend my age (22) who has just had her second baby and the thing she desperately needs is adult company and activity as she tends to get a bit stir crazy. I like to bake and bring around some cupcakes then just watch Oprah with her while the babies nap, or go shopping with her and give her an extra set of hands. A lot of the time when I come over we go out into the garden so she can do some planting and stuff - I get the feeling if it wasn't for me being over to keep an eye on the newborn in the baby swing, keep the older girl happy and chase after the dog she might not be able to do that gardening as often.

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  5. Sounds like a cool meal system. I've learned that a lot of new mothers sacrifice a lot of the simple luxuries to support their babies - like decent razors, good conditioner, pedicures...so I sometimes like to gift these things.

    If they're comfortable enough with you and won't be offended, you might do a little thing here or there like take out the trash/do dishes while you're over visiting.

    If they call you in tears because they're overwhelmed, offer to take the little ones for a while (I've only done this with walking, talking little ones) or offer to come over with some cookie dough and a fluffy movie.

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  6. Thanks for the advice everyone! This is great stuff and I will definitely put it to use.

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