New Baby Manifesto

 

I was the first of my friends and my siblings to have children.  This was a blessing and a curse; I had no idea what I was doing and not many friends to ask for help.  But I got to find my own way without a lot of outside influence.  It worked out perfectly.

Many of my friends have started their families since I became a mom.  Recently, I’ve had 2 friends give birth and I’ve got 2 more (including my sister!) due in the next couple of months.
The baby mania has got me thinking on what it’s like to have a new baby in the house, whether as a brand new mom or one with older kids.  When Baby comes home, everyone and their brother wants to come visit.  This is, again, a blessing and a curse.  Some folks just want to hold the baby.  Others want to bring meals and scrub floors.  Some give unsolicited advice (Boo!).
To my dear mama friends, this one’s for you.  Below is my New Baby Manifesto; a list of Do’s and Don’ts for when I come to visit your new baby.  I write this for you because I love you.  So stop hiding your piles of laundry (if you need to feel better about those piles, just read here), put away the vacuum cleaner, and read on…
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DO NOT CLEAN

I have ZERO expectations that your house be clean, clutter-free, fresh smelling, or otherwise presentable.  I have two small children; I know what a fully baked diaper pail smells like after a few days of being too exhausted to empty it.  Don’t worry about it.
Just so we are clear, “cleaning” includes:
–  swiffering, vacuuming, rhoomba-ing, or any floor cleaning of any kind
–  picking up clutter
–  clearing counters and table tops
–  cleaning out the cat litter
–  scooping up dog poop in the yard
–  using any kind of cleaning product
–  putting new rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom
–  and using any kind of cleaning product ever invented
And for the love of everything holy, put the toilet scrubber down.  I’m coming to see YOU and your baby, not to inspect your toilets.  I promise.

BACK AWAY FROM THE BOWL!
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DO NOT COOK
I will be bringing the meals, thankyouverymuch.  And we will be using paper plates.
I’m a gourmet to-go orderer.

Source

I promise to get my own drink and one for you, too.  If we are good enough friends, I may even help myself to a snack. 
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DO NOT SHOWER
Or put on makeup.  Or do your hair. Not for my sake, anyway.
HEAR THIS: I think you are amazing.  You just added a whole new life to your family.  Makeup can’t make that any more beautiful.
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DO ASSUME I’M HERE TO SUPPORT, NOT JUDGE

Say it with me: You are doing everything right.  I may be a mom but I’m not YOUR kid’s mom.  I’m here to support you, not judge you.  Believe it.
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DO WHIP OUT A BOOB

If you are nursing please know that I don’t care if you cover up. Please don’t go to another room for my sake. Or my kids’ sake.
But above all, do what makes you comfortable. If you prefer to nurse alone, I totally understand.  If you like to cover up, go for it.
And if you aren’t nursing, might I help with a bottle while you relax for a few moments?  Perhaps you’d like to check your Facebook or stare at a wall?
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DO NOT FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO ENTERTAIN MY KIDS

If my kids are with me, it’s only because we have traveled out of town to see you.  I promise to bring coloring books, toys, and when all else fails, DVDs and sweet treats to keep them occupied.
If you are local, I promise I’m not bringing my kids over the first time I meet your baby.  Why?  Because when I was a new mom, every child between the ages of 12 months and 4 years had hands that looked (to me) like this:
My 18 month old’s hands actually look like this.  Often.

 

Further, my girls will not touch your baby until they have washed their hands and gotten your permission.  And our trip will be canceled if either have had a fever within the last 48 hours.  I promise to call you if I hear so much as a sniffle from either of them before we arrive.
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DO PUT ME TO WORK

I’m known to scrub a dish.  Yes, I will walk your dog.  Please let me take out your trash for you.  Or scrub a toilet.  Or entertain your older kids for a bit so you can sit down.

 

Put me to work!  I am eager to be helpful but I’ll only offer once.  If I offer too many times, you may think:

a) I think something is wrong with your house, trash, dog, etc
b) I think you are not doing enough
c) I am not here to visit you and the baby
So don’t be shy when doling out the chores.  I can take it.
Will mop for Mamas!

Source

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DO REALIZE I DON’T HAVE AN INFANT (ANYMORE)

It’s been a while since I’ve had a brand spankin’ new baby in my house.  And even though I’ve done it twice, you’d be surprised how much (and how quickly!) you forget.

I probably don’t have the best advice for you.  I can tell you what worked for me and what resources I used to help me along.  Mostly, I can just listen and tell you that (say it with me again) you are doing everything right.
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DO TELL ME HOW YOU ARE REALLY DOING

You need a safe place to talk and I don’t scare easy.  So tell me your whole birth story.  In fact, tell me everything. I doubt you can surprise me.  Don’t feel you have to apologize for being emotional, distracted, exhausted, or overwhelmed.  This is why I’m coming to see you; to share the burden.
Postpartum depression?  Been there.
Fear of not bonding?  I understand.
Frustrated with your partner?  Bring it on.
Everything is going perfectly and you don’t know why everyone else thinks motherhood is so hard?  No one has ever said this to me, not even once.  But if you do, I will hug you and say “Good for you!”  (And maybe wonder what drugs you are on and where I can get some.)

I hope you take this manifesto to heart, dear mama friends.  I love you.  I love your baby.  Nothing else matters.  Now put down the computer and go take a nap.

Much Love,
Ryan

 

I’m linking up with Mama Kat!

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