I initially intended to have this post coincide with Mother’s Day, in the spirit of giving gifts to moms, but it appears as though my own gift of “taking the day off” has caught up to me and now it’s Tuesday. Tuesnight actually.
I titled the post “new moms”, and by that, I mean, first-time moms or any mom who has just had a newborn. When we had each of our kids, those first few weeks with a newborn were the most exhausting as we adjusted, then readjusted (times three) to having a newborn in the house. People stopped in to visit and drop off gifts of all kinds. When it was our first baby, clothes, books, baby items were the typical gifts, but as each new little human joined our family, the gifts became less about stuff and more about service, which I fully appreciated, in my newfound quest to live a more minimalist life.
These five gift ideas are, in my opinion, the most helpful to new moms (and even dads too!).
The gift of time can be offered in many ways. Twenty minutes so Mom can take a shower. Taking the older kids to the park for half an hour so they can have some special attention. Holding the baby for ten minutes so Mom don’t have to. Holding the baby for an hour so Mom can take a nap. Time is the easiest gift to give because you know how much you can afford to give and you can give it whenever it’s convenient.
As I mentioned earlier, those first few weeks with a newborn are exhausting. Making meals is not high on the priority list. There are so many creative ways to give the gift of food, even if you’re not a cook, yourself. Meal subscription services (they deliver all the pre-measured ingredients and you follow a simple recipe to cook the meal), homemade meals that can be eaten right away or frozen for later (I’m still drooling over Sarah’s tomato soup that she made with fresh tomatoes from her garden!), gift cards for restaurants that deliver, and even grocery delivery. Anything that can avoid having to go grocery shopping with a newborn in the dead of winter in Winnipeg, I am huge fan of. I recently gifted a friend a subscription to a Pop of the Month Club from Pop Cart, because they’re her favorite. Even if your food gift is for treats, that’s never a bad thing! Moms need treats too!
This one ties in with both food and time, but dates are hard to come by for new parents, usually because they’re too tired to put in the effort to get dressed and leave the house but also because they need to find a babysitter. Sometimes it’s nice to just get out of the house, even if it’s only for an hour. I remember the day we found out we were having number four, we asked a family member to come by, so we could walk to a nearby restaurant. With three toddlers running around, it was impossible to process what had just happened and we needed a time-out and some fresh air!
This one is a touchy one. It’s not for everyone. One year, for my birthday, my parents gave me the gift of one full house cleaning. They came over, I think they even brought some of their own supplies. They spent the day here, it was glorious. Seriously one of my favorite gifts ever. Their house is spotless so why wouldn’t I want them to clean my house? I say it’s a touchy one, because some people don’t want their parents (or in-laws) to clean their house. Some people don’t want strangers to clean their houses either. When we had our second baby, a friend called me to ask if she could send her house-cleaner over to clean for us. She asked if I thought it was weird. While I had never thought of the idea of gifting cleaning services, I did not think it was weird at all. We were getting ready to sell our house, and I had a one month old, a 19-month-old and a partner who worked all day. On top of the fact that we were also looking for a new house. How was I a) going to find the time to clean the house b) going to maintain the cleanliness for entire time it was on the market?
Solution: We got the house-cleaner to come, then we moved out until the house sold. Again, cleaning services. Amazing. Can you tell I hate cleaning but love a clean house?
Going to the bathroom alone is a luxury nobody realized until they saw their toddler’s fingers squirming their way under the bathroom door. Showering sans baby crying in the bathroom. Going grocery shopping alone. Making supper without someone asking for a snack. These are a few of my favorite things. Even if you only have 10 minutes, let the mother drive herself to Starbucks to pick up a coffee and come right back. Sometimes a quick coffee break is enough to recharge the batteries.
As you can see, gifts for new moms don’t have to be all about “stuff”.
“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”