I know I’m going to get a lot of crap for this. I must be ungrateful. I’m such a jerk. Everyone’s just trying to do something nice. But surely, there m u s t be another mom out there who feels this way. Someone? Anyone?
I’ve never signed up for a meal train. I’ve never claimed a date and arrived to someone’s front door with a meal. I’ve provided many meals, but I’ve never joined the meal train.
While I recognize that our bringing babies home was not typical, I think that even if we’d had the smoothest of deliveries, I would still feel this way. Or maybe if it was like… my 9th child and we were immediately back to business as usual. But. This was not the case.
I had a few w o n d e r f u l friends who created a meal train for me and spread the word. Pregnant, I thought how sweet! This is going to be so perfect! I’m never going to have to cook! I’ll be able to hold my babies and not have to worry about a thing!
Wrong. I quickly learned that in our situation, the meal train caused equally as much stress as problems solved. So I loved the gesture. And then I slowly realized I was hating it. And there are a few reasons.
First, and most simply, there were a lot of cancellations. You can’t be mad at someone for cancelling on something like that… they don’t HAVE to bring you anything. It was sweet of them to even think about it. But when it’s 6:30 pm and everyone’s starving because we’re waiting for the scheduled dinner, and there’s a last minute cancellation? Well… now I have no dinner, no back up planned, AND now my husband has to leave me here with the bab(ies) to go pick something up. Or call to have something delivered and God help the person on the other end of that phone call because we’re starving, sleep deprived, and there’s a baby screaming on the other end.
Second, and the real problem; I was in no shape to have visitors. You see, these meal trains are never the please place your meal in the cooler on the front porch variety. It’s never just a meal. You have to let them in. They want to ask you 432904532466 questions. They want to
see touch your brand new bab(ies). They want to come by around 7:45 pm and by then you might be kind of dead. You don’t actually know some of these people.
And let’s get real honest here. There’s postpartum grossness. There’s nursing and pumping which means your boobs are everywhere all the time. There’s not always time to take a shower or brush your teeth because it’s likely you haven’t made it out of bed that day. The house is a mess and is in no shape for people who don’t live there. You might be covered in spit up from yesterday. You might have a colicky baby. You might be dealing with a baby with acid reflux or a million other things that basically just makes them scream. Your dogs might go nuts when strangers walk in the house because they are learning how to protect their new growing family.
It’s endless. The list of reasons that it is so very hard to have visitors when you have just come home with a new baby. And this is SO tough. Because it is extremely helpful to have meals. It is extremely kind of friends and strangers to want to help. And it is infinitely appreciated. However, it can be equally as stressful.
I, luckily, had many friends who knocked it out of the park.
A few asked if I’d prefer them to leave the meal on the front porch. YES THANK YOU.
A few asked me if I’d like delivery from this or that restaurant. YES THANK YOU.
A few asked if I was even up for visitors.
One asked if I’d prefer tacos or a big greasy burger. #both
A few asked how the day was going and if I’d prefer a different day or time.
One even said I heard screaming when I walked up… the food is on the front porch. I love you. I LOVE YOU TOO.
But then there’s also your BFF’s. The ones you do want to see. The ones you would happily hand your new baby to. The ones you know don’t care if your house is a mess and your boobs are leaking and there’s vomit in your hair. The ones who stand at your kitchen sink and do the dishes while you eat. The ones you call in tears and say please come see me I need to see a friend and they come running. With coffee. The ones who understand that you were up for visitors when they got there, but all of a sudden…. no.
Why am I even bringing this up? I have a friend right now who so.very.much appreciates the meal she got today, but was so afraid to answer the front door because she was in no way ready for a visitor. She’s not the only new momma out there who feels this way. I know, because I felt this way. And I’ve had other mom friends who text me and say I’m so not ready for this person bringing a meal tonight, what do I do?
Here’s what I think we, as friends, can do.
When you set up a meal train for mom, see what mom’s instructions might be. And see if they change!
Maybe 5pm is great, but maybe lunch would be better. Or, maybe she’ll be clean and in heels and pearls waiting for her visitor. Bless her.
Maybe she’ll have a cooler on the front porch so that no one has to knock / ring / stay. Or, maybe she’s got fresh coffee on for you and a dessert on the table to share.
Maybe she needs you to drop off, quick hug, and peace out. Or, maybe she needs you to come in. Stay a while. Cry with her.
Maybe we should stock mom with freezer meals so that she never has to worry about any of this. ever.
So, I’ve never signed up for a meal train. I am a big fan of texting friends and saying Hey, can I send you dinner tonight? And going off how mom is feeling that day. Sometimes they ask you to come visit. Sometimes they say they are already in bed and another day would be better. I’m a big fan of meals. Giving and receiving. And most moms are appreciative of you, the giver.
So, new mom. Don’t be afraid to tell someone you aren’t up for a visitor when receiving a meal! Hopefully they will understand. And if you’re giving – don’t hesitate to text mom and ask what she’s up for! Communication is KEY.
And hey, if anything, remember that we’re all in momma-hood together. So whatever I can do for you today to make life a little easier, I’m all in. It does take a village after all.
*I promise I am typically a nice person. My apologies if this is…. rude.*