The Number One Nicest Thing to Do for a New Mom, and How to Do It
By Totum Founder, Erin Erenberg
I had a friend text me the day I gave birth saying, “I am going to make you dinner and drop it off on your doorstep Wednesday around 4PM.”
There is so much to love about that simple sentence. First, she was insistent about it (“I am going to…”). She didn’t say “How can I help?” “What can I do?” Or even “would it be ok if….” All of those phrases come from love, but they’re tossing a to-do onto the plate of a new mom. Instead, this was a statement and left no room for negotiation.
Second, she gave me a date several days out from when I’d arrive home from the hospital. By being so clear, she removed the need for me to think. It was happening Wednesday, before dinnertime. I didn’t have to open my calendar and schedule something and take myself out of the newborn haze for a nanosecond.
The third point I’ll make came down to execution. And this is the most important part. SHE DROPPED IT OFF AND ONLY TEXT’D ME THAT IT WAS THERE AFTER SHE DROVE AWAY. Listen, friends, family and loved ones: a brand new mom does not need visitors. She needs food. She needs rest. She needs to lie around in a robe with her baby on her body without thinking that anyone is taking stock of how she looks. She does not need to feel the pressure to entertain you. Unless you are there to help her, save the visits for a few weeks out, at least. Heng Ou states this much more gently in her book The First Forty Days. For a more elaborate and kind explanation of why this is, check it out.
This friend happened to drop of a reusable basket complete with dinner for our entire family that could be easily reheated, and she included healthy granola for snacking. It was pretty incredible. Of course, the homemade element gave our whole family a sense of love and nurturing that’s second to none.
But you know what else was awesome: getting food Door-Dashed or Postmat-ed to us. We had one friend send a box of sushi for the grown-ups and Italian for our 5 and 3 year olds. Another sent a Mediterranean spread that we could reheat all week. Yet another went out of her way to bring over a modular taco salad that could be customized for all the picky eaters in the family.
There are many, many kind things to do for a new mother, and our friends and family did all sorts of wonderful things that I’ll always remember (my goddess of a sister in law made me a hand-curated basket full of luxurious postpartum treats, for one). But for those of you who, like me, fall short of Pinterest-Mom status, are forgetful and harried, yet truly want to serve a friend who’s just had a baby, know that executing a perfect food drop is just the trick.