Coming home with a new little one in tow is an amazing joy, but it can be an often overwhelming time for first-time parents. For Larry and I (and really, any new parent), as we learn to juggle our new family dynamic, it’s easy for us to get really wrapped up in the world of new parenthood.
We’ve well accepted the fact our social life is dramatically different, but “different” doesn’t necessarily mean “bad.” We might not be able to get out to see our friends as often as before, but our friends have come through in tremendous ways since we got back home. Really, it’s just one simple thing that several of our friends have done for us – and truly, it’s the nicest thing anyone can do for new parents.
Wondering how to help new parents in your life? The nicest thing anyone can do for new parents is this: come over and bring them dinner. Simple, right? But you have no idea just how much this means to us right now, between adjusting to wacky sleep schedules, constant feedings, the endless diaper changes and just trying to remember to shower – it’s really easy for new parents to forget to take care of themselves when they’re taking care of their newborn.
When Judah first got out of the hospital, we were still in New Jersey for another week. We stayed at a friend’s house who happened to be out of town who had offered us their home until we got back to Massachusetts. Nearly every night we were there, each set of parents came over and brought us dinner. My mom even went all out and made us a lavish Japanese dinner complete with noodles, tofu salad and homemade sushi! It was great because it gave the grandparents an excuse to spend some time with and hold their grandson (as if they really needed an excuse) while it gave Larry and I a chance to sit and eat without feeling rushed.
On the night we came home to Massachusetts from our five weeks in New Jersey and a six hour ride in the car – Judah’s first road trip, no less – friends of ours in New York wanted to put our dinner on their tab that night. I texted her our order: nothing fancy, just Chinese food from one of our favorite places down the street. She called it in and within a half hour of us walking through our door for the first time in over a month, dinner arrived, with the tip already taken care of. It was an incredibly sweet gesture that gave us one less thing to think about as we got settled in that night.
We’ve had other friends come over and bring us or make us dinner here at home. It serves several great purposes: our friends get to meet Judah, spend a little time with us, and we all get a great meal out of it. These dinners don’t have to be anything elaborate; so long as they’re made or brought with love, trust me – it’s always delicious, welcome, and greatly appreciated.
I hear the new parents out there: “But my house is a mess!” Or the new moms: “I feel like I look like a train wreck right now!”
And those things might totally be true. Your house might be a mess or you may not be entirely sure the last time you showered but I promise you this: your friends will forgive you because let’s face it – taking care of a newborn as a new parent is some seriously hard work! No one’s going to comment on the state of your house or that patch of spit-up on your shirt that you probably don’t even realize is there. Your friends aren’t coming over with white gloves to run their fingers over the countertops. They just want to spend some time with you, meet your little one, and do something nice to give you a little break and change of pace for a couple of hours.
So new parents: if your friends offer to come over and bring you dinner one night, take them up on it. Don’t stress about making sure the house is clean; just make sure you’ve got enough pots, pans and dishes clean to make it through dinner.
And friends of new parents: if you miss your friends because their social life now includes a new little one in their lives, do them a solid and bring over dinner one night. (Or, like our friends who were out of state, pick up the tab for a night of take-out.) You don’t have to be Gordon Ramsey and whip up something gourmet: a casserole or a hearty pasta dish goes a long way. Just make sure you give them a heads up and work out a night that works best for everyone.
And to Mom, Papa, Lynn, Steve, Tim, Natalie, Ben, Rachel, Ben, Caitlin, Jeremy, Sara, Mel and Jake: thank you for all the dinners!You are all awesome friends and we are so grateful for your kindness.
New parents: how can your friends or family be helpful to you in your first few weeks home? Share in the comments!
Photo by Rodrigo Huerta via Flickr.