The golden rules for visiting new parents
‘The first few weeks of parenthood are a blur – a stressful, surreal blur.’
Neither you or your partner have a clue what day of the week it is. Never mind those of you who are recovering from a C-Section or like me, have had god knows how many stitches down there and may be restricted in how far you can move without wanting to cry in pain (you thought labour was bad, no one warns you about this part!) You are also now responsible for this tiny human and even when you feel like you’re getting the hang of the whole ‘eat sleep poop repeat’ thing, you still need to find the time and energy to look after yourself. And guess what, it’s during this complete whirlwind that is now your life, that everyone and their dog wants to come and visit – PERFECT.
It’s okay to say no..
Having a big extended family, I had to make sure hubby was on the ball and in charge of the visiting schedule – without boobs, he needed to make himself useful in some way! Obviously it’s understandable for your nearest and dearest to be excited about meeting your bundle of joy, but it’s okay to say no if you’re not ready yet. If I could give any advice it would be to remember that this time is about YOU and your baby bonding as a new little family. Those early days are so precious and routine will be non existent so you need to make sure you’re looking after yourselves first and foremost. Try and keep visitors to a minimum as much as you can. Especially if your partner only has a week or two of paternity leave.
The good, the bad and the cake-less
When you decide you are ready for visitors – BE WARNED! I’ve heard many a story about what can make a bad visitor and it really is the last thing you need as new parents. Sure, most are wonderfully helpful, mindful of your time and just genuinely over the moon for you and your new addition. Honestly, we were overwhelmed by generous gifts and didn’t have to do a food shop for at least a month thanks to friends & family bringing meals round (shout out to my Mum’s 50-mile round trip to deliver us a roast chicken dinner – HERO!) But some new mamas out there might not feel so lucky if they’re faced with visitors who send their post-pregnancy hormones into overdrive!
So, here are the golden rules to follow if you’re the one visiting – unless you want to feel the wrath of a hormonal MOMBIE that is!
Complain about being tired. Come on, there’s small talk and then there’s just plain stupid! Oh, I’m sorry you were up late waiting for the new season of Game of Thrones to air – why don’t you sit down while I make you a coffee. NO. Just leave now please.
Tell a new mum how tired they look. Actually, this is just my face now. You’re clearly stating the obvious and might be trying to be sympathetic but what you really mean is ‘wow, it’s 3pm and you’re still in your pyjamas, this is awkward.’ Yes, I’m a walking zombie. And no, I haven’t showered today. A few days ago my body performed miracles (seriously, ask baby Daddy who was at the receiving end…) and now I have a tiny human attached to my boob pretty much 24/7 – I’d say I’m just a little bit tired, yeah.
Be a know-it-all. Sure, we may be clueless, but we’re learning. If we don’t know something, we will probably turn to google as the first point of call as we don’t want to sound stupid. Failing that, we will ask for advice. Try and resist piping up with “oh, that cry means wind, it’s definitely wind, try doing this..” *eyerolls*
Wake a sleeping baby. Surely everyone knows this? I’m sorry, how inconsiderate of my baby to sleep during your scheduled visit, it’s as if he has no idea what the time is! No matter how cute he looks, don’t be selfish and disturb him just for a cuddle. It will just leave the parents fuming when they have to deal with the over-tired, over-stimulated little monster after you’re gone – not cool.
Be late. If you say you’ll be there at midday, you better god damn be there then! If baby is having a nap before your ‘scheduled slot’, mama may be longing for a much needed nap herself, but instead feel obliged to tidy up or even shower in honour of your arrival (lucky visitors). Then you rock up at 1.30pm, fresh from your 8 hour sleep last night and big lunch.. wow. All the eye daggers for you..
Come round if you’re poorly. THINK PEOPLE, THINK! If you so much as sneeze and don’t follow it up with the strategically placed hand gel that’s been put in every room of the house, you’re in trouble. New mamas will want to keep their baby in a bubble as they envisage a stream of imaginary germs spurting out your mouth and landing on their baby – noooooo!
Outstay your welcome. Come in, bring us stuff, have a cuddle, then leave. Comprende?! What mamas need most is sleep, not a good natter. You may just have to resort to telling them you’re popping to the loo and collapse into bed instead – sorry, not sorry.
Bring cake or any type of food in general (but especially cake). Yep, you can come again!
Pay attention to Dada too! (or other siblings, even pets!) They’re tired and needy and going through a massive adjustment too you know.
Offer to help out – whether it’s popping to the shop, offering to walk the dog or put some washing on. Anything that could take a load off the parents shoulders and give them more precious time to gaze at their little one.
Put the kettle on. Come on, I’ve made sure baby is fed and changed so you can enjoy your cuddles, the least you can do is make me a cuppa!
Failure to abide by these rules can lead to severe consequences!