Supporting a family with a new baby (or babies!)

Saturday, 06 May 2017

My husband and I have been surviving this first year with the twins (plus the 6 and 3 year old) with HELP.  I can't tell you how grateful we are for the help of family and friends to keep mommy and daddy sane and the household running. 

A few of our star tribe members:

  • * My mom - master of laundry, dishes, diaper changes, lullaby singing, you name it, she's on it.
  • * My in laws - entertainers of the big kids, holders of the littlest ones, meal prep and cleanup superstars.
  • * a Jill and a Sue - two dear friends who are angels and come to the rescue when we have daytime appointments, desperately need a nap or just need a visit with adult conversation.
  • * my Kelly and my Callie - long distance friends who are always a text away to vent frustrations, celebrate the good stuff and share the realities of motherhood. Reminding each other that the mess is part of the magic.
  • * Mariah, our postpartum doula - a pro at the household duties, all while holding a baby, swaddling master and an encouraging member of my team who helped me feel confident and comfortable to ask for help.

Families need support, whether it's their first, second or seventh child.  Community is an essential part of life.  It makes us happier and healthier by not depleting every last reserve.  We're not meant to do this alone, yet many moms and dads don't have their own tribe in place.  

How can you help a new or expecting parent?

  • * Bring a meal. Offer a home cooked meal or even a few bags of groceries (fruit, veggies, a few pre-made options from the grocery store) This gives the family one less thing to worry about. Take Them a Meal is a wonderful website that helps you organize a meal train for the new family.  Send the personalized link you create to friends and family and they can sign up for a delivery date.  The website even sends a reminder email when the date you selected is approaching.  This was one of the most helpful aspects of our postpartum journey with the twins. Food is an act of love, and we felt very loved and supported. 
  • * Offer to take the "big kids." Suggest taking older children to the playground, children's museum or just out for a long walk in the neighborhood.  It's always special to have quiet one on one time with baby if there are multiple children in the home. If mom is still expecting, I can guarantee she'll enjoy an uninterrupted nap!
  • * When you visit, unload the dishwasher, empty trash cans, break down recycling boxes, fold laundry. Insist on helping with at least one task before you leave.  Parent's, this is the point where you must get used to saying "Yes." It's ok to accept help!
  • * Instead of gifting a cute baby outfit or box of diapers, consider hiring a postpartum doula for the first month or two as your gift.  Postpartum doulas are experienced and trained to offer newborn care, breastfeeding support, as well as meal prep, cleaning and help with older children.  Try a Google search or ask other moms to find out if there are postpartum doulas in your area.  For my friends in the Northwest PA region, is your ultimate resource.
  • * Call or text to check in with mom and dad, simply letting them know you're thinking about them.  Parenthood can be lonely sometimes.  There are many emotional and physical struggles.  Be an ear to listen and a judgement free shoulder to lean on. We all have challenges and moments of doubt. A little reminder that they're doing a great job can make a world of difference. 

I'm immensely grateful for the support and love we've received from family and friends.  I've learned to say "Yes, I'd love some help!"  "We'd be thrilled if you made us dinner!" Give and receive, friends!

For mom's that have little ones at home, it is difficult to make time for exercise outside of the home.  That is why I created my Prenatal Yoga DVD's. It's a way for me to be a part of their journey, supporting and celebrating each mama.  Many families are without extra help. Offering this yoga practice that an expecting mom can do any time during the day is a way for me to be there to ease some aches, breathe together and find joy in her pregnancy.  Some mommies rely on the community of support through social media groups and pages.  I have my own online communities I rely on and am grateful to be one for you as well.

Thank you for being a part of this community here at Exercising Balance. Here's to growing and sharing more love....

A big shout out to the big bro and sis too!  My daily "helpers"


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