Help a Mom Out!

I like to think that I can do it all myself. That I can take care of the house, the laundry, the food, the kids, myself, exercise, work, and all of the other things in life and still have energy at the end of the day to get something done or just watch a few minutes of TV. I live in a dream world, clearly, to continue to think this could be true. I’ve been a mom for six years. I have four kids. This isn’t true in any capacity in my life. 

We all need help, right? The saying “it takes a village” isn’t just a nice phrase; it’s truth. We all need a little {or a lot} of help. 

This topic has been on my mind recently thanks to a friend. She asked me what she could do for someone who just brought home their new child through international adoption. She asked what was helpful for me when we adopted. Each family and each adoption are so unique, so while I had my own thoughts, I reached out to some friends who had recently come back home from adopting their children internationally. 

The funny thing is that their responses were the same as mine. Then I realized that the responses were also the same as the ones that I give to family and friends who want to help someone who has just lost a baby {see my organization if that statement doesn’t make sense}. It’s the same list of things as when a mom has a baby or someone has cancer or a family member dies. It’s the same list when someone goes through a divorce or has a sick parent who is requiring a lot of time and energy. It’s the same list for any life-changing event someone is going through.

Sure, there are differences — you won’t bring a monogrammed outfit to someone who just lost a parent, but the general list of ways to help out a fellow mom is the same. I’m sharing it below, so we can all reference it and pass it on when we know someone who needs a little extra hand.

Meals

Everyone thinks to bring dinner, but think about adding in breakfast and something for lunch or snacks, too! 

Paper goods

Paper plates are a gift to all humans. No dishes? Yes, please. When my son died, someone showed up at my front door with a giant outdoor trash bag full of paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, paper plates, plastic silverware, and plastic cups. It was tremendously helpful.   

Pay extra attention to the kids

If someone has adopted, birthed a new child, lost a child or baby, lost a family member, has a sick parent, etc., etc., then don’t forget the kids at home. The ones who aren’t getting all the attention they are used to. The ones adjusting to whatever situation is going on at home. Remember them. Bring them a gift or a special activity to do with them. Take them out to do something fun. Make them feel remembered and special. The way to a parent’s heart is through their child

Clean their house

This is difficult enough to keep up with in regular ol’ life, much less when hard times hit. So come over and clean. Don’t ask if you can; most people don’t want to ask someone to do that. Just come and clean. 

Mow their lawn

Same as above. Don’t ask — like Nike says, “Just Do It.”

Do their laundry

You don’t even have to stay at their home to do this. Just pick up baskets of dirty clothes, take them home and wash them, and then return clean and folded. Best gift ever. 

Freezer meals

Meal trains are amazing, but they do eventually fade off. Give some freezer meals so your mama friend can pop it out any time she needs to.

Don’t let time escape you

Everyone else moves on pretty quickly from the initial excitement or shock of a life-changing event. I tell moms who are part of my grief group that this is actually one of the most difficult times. Everyone else gets back to life and you’re still living in the hard and adjusting to a new life. This is a great time to support someone. Bring them a meal randomly after all the meals have stopped. Pop in and clean, or do their laundry, or spend extra time with their kids. It is appreciated always, and it’s never too late to do something kind. 

Ask questions

Most of us think that asking questions is insensitive or hurtful even. We like to know answers and think we can handle things. But the best friends and support people ASK QUESTIONS. Ask if the family wants visitors or if they prefer time at home alone. If they need space, don’t bring a meal over and stay for two hours. Drop it on their porch. Ask if they like to get out of the house and do things or if you should come to them. Ask how they are doing — how they’re really doing. Ask about their kids. Sometimes we all ask stupid questions but people can be so gracious, and I’ve found I often prefer for someone to ask questions to learn, rather than ignore it or pretend they have all the answers.

*One thing NOT TO ASK: Do not say “let me know what I can do to help.” It’s not even really an ask. But it’s not a helpful statement. Most of us when we need help won’t call someone up and ask them to help by cleaning our toilets. Or hauling our kids all around town. Or changing baby diapers all day long. Most of us will just do it ourselves eventually. So don’t leave it open ended. Pick something you can do and just do it. 

We’ve all been there, and we will all be there, so let’s take a little extra time to really help a mom out. 

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