Helping People Help You: Top Tips for Getting All Hands on Deck
We're going to go ahead and guess that if you've hung around the Austin Born office for any amount of time, you know we're pretty big on getting down to real talk, real quick. We'll also go ahead and guess that you knew having a baby would be transformational, amazing, the hardest thing you've ever done and the best thing you've ever done all at the same time. And that's true (so true!) but what you may not have realized is just how much your home-front would change in the first couple months with a new baby.
First, guys. THE LAUNDRY. So much laundry. How does such a teeny, tiny human being make such a mess you ask? Well, we're still a bit baffled ourselves but it does have something to do with blowout diapers and spit-up.
Then there's all the other things like dishes, vacuuming and meal prep (what meal prep?!). It might sound crazy that these normally simple tasks can seem overwhelming but when your body is physically healing from birth and you and your partner are both waking throughout the day and night to tend to your little one, trust us, every spare moment you have goes toward: feeding yourself, going to the bathroom, brushing teeth or hair (usually not both), showering and sleep. The good news is: it does get easier. But in those early weeks, please take our advice and put your steady stream of well-meaning visitors to work for you! 99% of people want to be helpful they're just not sure how so below are our tips for easy ways to communicate your needs and get all hands on deck:
IMPLEMENT THE "FIRST TO SERVE, FIRST TO HOLD" RULE:
Everyone wants to hold your baby. Every.One. Which really is the sweetest thing ever. But! To make sure you're not up sweeping the kitchen while Aunt Mildred cuddles little Boo, put up a sign that reads something along these lines: "Thank you so much for visiting us! We can't wait to share our little Boo with you! Before holding the baby, please check off a chore from the list" and follow that with a list of simple tasks such as: sweeping/vacuuming, loading/unloading dishwasher, wiping kitchen counters, making a snack for mom & dad, rotating/folding laundry, taking out garbage/recycling, feed dog, etc.
CREATE A "TAKING CARE OF OUR FAMILY" BINDER
This is one of our very, very favorite tips of all time ever and is especially handy for longer-term visitors like parents and siblings. Make a binder or folder that's kept somewhere highly visible (near front door or next to refrigerator are usually good spots) and in it, put all the good info people need to help you in all areas:
- maps to The Big 3 (Target, grocery store, pharmacy)
- some of your favorite recipes (bonus if you include the grocery shopping lists)
- list of pantry staples (especially important if you have a particular detergent you use, milk you drink, etc.)
- important contact information (pediatrician, ob/gyn or midwife, etc.)
- a few favorite take-out and delivery places
- what day your garbage and recycling is collected
LABEL YOUR KITCHEN
Sounds a little nutty but if you can stand it visually, place either labels or sticky notes around your kitchen so it's clearly shown where everything "lives." That way visitors can, say, make you dinner without having to constantly ask you, "where do you keep the...?" or feel like they're being invasive in your space.