Since we just welcomed our second baby and I have a few friends that are having second, third, and fourth babies, I have preparation for baby-ness on the brain. And there are so many things to consider when bringing home any baby: what to buy, what to clean, and what to cook ahead of time. But, one of the big considerations people often overlook when getting ready for baby is preparing your home for help.
We ended up having to have a c-section for a breach baby the first time around; creating a need for lots of help after my husband went back to work while I recovered. Then we got pregnant pretty quick (seven months later) and I had to go on bed rest for 2 months at the beginning of that pregnancy. Then, we had another c-section for baby number two. All told I had someone not in my immediate family in my home every week day for almost 20 weeks over the last two years. That is INSANE! We were so blessed to have lots of helpers: my moms (biological and bonus), my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law as well as various friends.
But there were a lot of things I learned with all that help. First and foremost was be humble enough to accept help. I really struggled with this for quite some time each time I had to ask someone for help. I apologized a lot for my needs, for the way the house looked, for sleeping too much, for being too lazy…the list went on! And my husband gently (as always) reminded me that these people wanted to help, loved me and knew I simply needed help. He basically let me know that I had no other option than to accept it! He also reminded me to keep my attitude about it all in check (read: be grateful).
Here are a few other things I discovered in the process:
Prepare the way
If you have time ahead of the help arriving, try to make some extra meals and put them in the freezer. This way you can prepare items you know your family will enjoy with minimal effort from those who are serving you. I did this before the second baby arrived (during major nesting mode) and we had some great stuff on hand. I focused on lots of snacks, lunches, and breakfasts because I knew the ladies from our church would bless us with lots of meals.
Accept fewer blessings
With our first baby we had the meals from our church ladies delivered every day. We had SO much food that we ended up throwing out food, because we simply could not eat it. The next time our church offered to bring meals, I requested that we only have meals on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. This worked so much better for our little family. Consider the size of your family and decide the needs you will have and communicate that to the meal coordinator.
So I might be a little OCD in this area, but I found it is really good to communicate the way I like things done around the house. Making a list of instructions for basic chores like dishwashing or laundry may seem a bit overbearing. Trust me. The people who are serving you during this time want you to be blessed by their work, not frustrated. Help them out by letting them know you don’t want them to fold your clothes for you or you like to hand wash the bottles with that particular sponge.
Create a schedule
The last thing you will want while trying to accept the help of others is to feel like you are taking advantage of their servants hearts. Talk to the helpers ahead of time and decide on something that works for all parties so that you all know how it is going to work. And if you already have little ones, consider writing down a basic day-to-day schedule to help them stay on track with the little ones.
Leave the room
If it gets to be too much to sit and accept the help. Leave the room, take deep breaths, and be humble!
What have you done to prepare your house for the help of others ahead of a baby or during bed rest?