Ways Moms Should Ask For More Help
Whether they’re too stubborn to ask for it or too tired to remember that they can, new moms aren’t always great at asking for help. And that’s a shame because new moms may need help more than anyone. The difference between a work email or a group of colleagues in a conference room and a baby is that a baby can never wait. Try telling a screaming, crying baby to give you five minutes. That’s not going to happen. No matter how demanding or unreasonable your boss or clients are, a baby will always be more demanding and less reasonable. Because, well, she’s a baby and she doesn’t care that you desperately need to eat or sleep or feel like your head is about to explode. A baby doesn’t understand that crazed look in your eyes the way grownups can so she never lets up. That’s why moms really should be shameless about asking for help. Everybody will understand. Here are ways new moms should ask for more help.
A naptime supervisor
Sometimes you just need someone to rock, hold, play with, or supervise your child so you can take a damn nap. It’s okay to invite a friend over and say, “We aren’t hanging out: I need you to keep my baby happy and quiet while I nap. Here’s the remote to the Apple TV.”
There’s no reason to shell out a bunch of money on strollers, automatic rockers, baby gyms, cribs, and other very pricey items. Somebody else out there—a sister-in law, friend, or neighbor—already did that so, you can just have theirs. Or at least buy it for a fraction of the cost.
You’ve probably watched your friend’s pets and homes over the years. You’ve moved their cars for street cleaning when they were on vacation. You’ve taken care of them when they were sick. Now you can ask them to babysit, for free, so you can go get a massage.
When people ask if you need them to bring anything over, you do—you need food. You always need food, right? You do not have time to cook right now and yet, you will continue to need meals, day after day. So ask people to bring food.
Dear work: stay at work
It’s okay to tell your work to stay at work. In other words, you can say, “No calls after this time.” It’s not just your right as a mom—it’s your right as a person who has a personal life.
Turn to the grandparents
The grandparents would probably love to help. They’re probably itching to help! That grandchild is this brand new, shiny, adorable toy that they want to get their hands on all of the time. And, they’re probably retired. Don’t fear to exhaust this resource. There is almost no such thing.
Restaurants can accommodate
You can ask the restaurant hostess for the quieter, private table away from the crowds so you can breastfeed. You can ask her to microwave your baby food. It’s okay—I promise you there are patrons with pickier demands.
The hands-off parent does chores
Don’t feel totally helpless to tidying up because you have a baby on your arm. If you’re the one with your hands on a baby, then the parent with free hands can tidy up, prepare dinner, do laundry—you get the idea. That should be the rule. The hands-free parent uses those hands to get some things done.
Dads can do more nighttime feeding
It’s okay to let dad take some of the nighttime feedings so you can sleep through the night. Prepare some bottles, and tell him he’s on nighttime duty tonight. You want to bond with baby through breastfeeding—we get that—but, you’ll still do plenty of that during the day.
Ask others not to ask you for help
You can ask for help by simply asking people not to ask you for help. You’re out of commission. You’re not the friend who is going to take them to the airport or take their dog while they travel.
Let friends run errands
When friends call, they’re out and about, and ask if you need anything, go ahead and send them to pick up your dry cleaning or your pet at the groomers. It’s 20 minutes out of their day and they aren’t sleep deprived like you are.
Require more silence
You can be totally demanding about silence. Put a sign on your front door that says, “Absolutely no solicitors. UPS and Amazon Prime, never knock or ring doorbell. We have a sleeping baby inside and a sleep-deprived mama.” And you can tell your neighbors that it would be a huge help if their kids not scream when they play in the backyard.
Put visitors to work
Don’t hesitate to put visitors to work. Your friends came over to make your day nicer so, let them do that. Ask them to empty the dishwasher or fold laundry or cut vegetables. You can still chat while they do that.
Get groceries delivered
This is one thing that will make a world of difference. Many chains offer free delivery on orders over a certain cost, or offer delivery at a small fee. Even if it costs a bit, let this be your splurge. Or, hey, send a friend to the store with your shopping list.
Have a researcher
Need to find a reputable and affordable…jamboree class? Baby and me yoga class? Pediatric dermatologist? Ask your partner to gather the research and present it to you. You don’t have time for that.