As modern women, we’re almost trained to not ask for help. We want to show our bosses and coworkers we can handle whatever comes our way. We want our friends and family to see us as strong and independent. But, mama, when it comes to taking care of your little one, the phrase “it takes a village” was coined for a reason.
You just gave birth. The recovery pain is absurd, the sleep is nearly nonexistent and oh yeah, you’re also responsible for feeding, burping and changing around the clock. You deserve – and need – a little bit of help. Checking an item off your registry is one thing, but the people who love you most will want to go the extra mile… and you should let them.
Here are five ways you can ask for help, and some pro tips on who to ask for it from.
1. Your partner. Of course your partner wants to help, but they might not know how or when. Have a conversation with your other half about what you hope they can help with once you get home. Maybe you decide to handle all the overnight feedings if your teammate pulls night shift diaper duty. Hydration is key when nursing, so asking that your partner to make sure you always have a glass of water handy is super helpful. Whatever is most important to you – make sure your partner knows, so they can feel useful and you can feel taken care of.
2. Parents and In-Laws. Here’s where you can ask for those big-ticket items. Would you like your mom to come stay for a few weeks after you bring your tiny one home? Ask if that’s something she is able to do. Are your in-laws bummed they’re on the other side of the country? Let them know they could be huge helpers by hiring a cleaning company to come by every few weeks. Don’t be afraid to let your parents know what you’d love to count on them for, and have your partner ask their parents if you feel uncomfortable.
3. Siblings, best friends. These are the people who will be around a lot in the weeks and months after your baby is born. Let them know ahead of time you will likely be asking for help with some household chores. Here’s a great tip I stole from a friend: print out a list of tasks you anticipate needing help with (watering plants, unloading dishwasher, taking the dog on a walk) and hang it on the fridge. Let everyone who comes over know where the list is – you’ll be surprised how many items get checked off!
4. Office mates, casual friends. They’re probably planning a small office baby shower or a pre-baby brunch. You might not be close enough to these friends or coworkers to feel comfortable asking for help at home, so think outside the box. Non-traditional gift cards are a huge lifesaver after baby is born. Instead of cards for Buy Buy Baby or Babies-r-Us, ask for meal delivery services. Blue Apron, Hello Fresh. Amazon cards are a great way to go, too, because everything you’ll need won’t just be for the baby (Can you say pee-proof underwear?! Yep. Amazon has those). Let the friend or coworkers you’re closest with know what would be the biggest help, and he or she can spread the word.
5. Everyone else. Get Over the Awkward. We know you want to be that one in a million mama who has it completely together from day one, but trust us: babies are overwhelming. Asking for and accepting help might feel a little awkward at first, but you’ll be thankful you did. When someone you love asks if he or she can pitch in, say yes – then pick a task that’s best for them and for your relationship.