A couple days after I had given birth, my partner’s mom was at my house to visit and help with some meal prep and cleaning. I was just figuring out how to nurse my baby, had cracked nipples, and was in desperate need of some sleep. Although my partner’s mom was trying to be helpful, she kept asking me questions about what I wanted help with around the house, if I wanted her to start a load of laundry, if she should empty the dishwasher. I just kept responding with “I don’t know”.
I literally didn’t have the energy to answer any questions. People aren’t mind readers, and the amount of bandwidth a new mama has for menial questions is very little.
Here is a general list of ways visitors can help a new mom:
- Cook some meals with the food they already have so nothing goes to waste
- Clean out the fridge and make a list of what is needed (and then go grocery shopping).
- Take out garbages/empty diaper pail— it can be hard to do that one handed.
- Give the bathroom a good scrubbing, because everybody deserves a clean bathroom.
- Change the sheets on the bed of the grown ups and the baby, you can only cover spit-up with a towel for so long before it starts to really stink.
- Fill multiple water bottles/glasses for mama, she’s thirsty even if she says she’s not.
- Organize dirty laundry/wash/fold/put away laundry. Obviously.
- Collect cups and dishes from the inevitable meals eaten around the house.
- Clean breast pump parts/bottle parts, because nobody should have to do that at 2am, and especially not a brand new mom.
- Clean out the car (the one thing I didn’t get to on my list before I gave birth).
- Show the pets some love: take the dogs for a walk, play some fetch, or clean the cat’s litter box.
- Water the plants!
- Make sure there are clean towels, wash cloths, and burp rags.
- Dust, vacuum, mop and the other boring basics that are definitely not getting done so early in the baby game.
- Spend some quality time with the other kiddos in the house.
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