Let's look after your Mum-to-be with a Meal Train!
November 28, 2019
Your first-time-mum is about to go through the biggest change in her life. If carrying a baby around for 9 months is not hard enough, mums are hurdled into the deep end from the moment their little baby comes out. With very little experience (for most), lack of sleep and complete exhaustion, the newbie mum and dad are expected to take care of their bundle of joy all on their own! While many of us have family, friends, and experts to help us, it is still a daunting experience that at many times mum and dad feel alone, inadequate or just plain exhausted.
So what can friends and family do other than holding and gushing over the beautiful newborn and bringing presents? The answer is a Meal Train. I cannot thank my friend enough or be more grateful towards her for organising a meal train for myself and my husband. In a time of new experiences, pure joy and "what have we got ourselves into", I could not have asked for better help from my friends and family.
To be honest, before I became a mum for the first time, I remember thinking ...
... surely the husband has time to provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner. What does he do all day? I am busy working 5 days a week and trying to get the meal on the table at the end of the day. A newborn sleeps a lot and all it needs is mum's milk. Newbie mum and dad have ALL day!
I have one word for you - selfish! I was unable to sympathise, empathise or envision what it was like to be a newbie parent.
Oh, how naive I was ...
We all have our own pregnancy, birth and beginning motherhood stories - some easier than others. But let's all admit, we did not have as much time or energy as we thought that we would once our babies came.
Your Mum-To-Be is going to experience a whirlwind of emotions. Exhaustion from the around the clock feeding, having breastfeeding problems (breastfeeding can take an hour even with no problems!), interrupted sleep, learning how to do everything for the first time, having to burp the baby for hours and hours - it just won't come up, changing the baby, changing the baby again, changing the sheets and everything else that I haven't mentioned!
A supportive husband will be getting up with the mother to do all of these things. He will also be having interrupted sleep and will be doing everything the mother can't do. Yes, the mother is physically limited (she did just push out a baby!). Both mum and dad are also learning their new roles in the relationship; adjusting, discussing, disagreeing and trying to work out how they want to parent. So trust me when I say both newbie parents will be emotionally and physically exhausted. So the least we can all do is organise the evening meal and one day they will return the favour - trust me!
So why start introducing the Meal Train for your Mum-To-Be at the Baby Shower? Here are four reasons why:
Everyone is there!
More people are likely to commit.
Your Mum-To-Be will feel loved and know there is one less thing for her to think about.
You can have an honest, experienced mum who can talk to everyone about why a Meal Train is amazing.
How and Why to Introduce the Meal Train
at the Baby Shower!
1. Everyone is there!
Everyone that loves and cares about your Mum-To-Be is there at the Baby Shower. Friends and family who want your Mum-To-Be to feel supported and know that she is not doing this alone are there. So while you have her community there, tell them how they can help! After all, it takes a community to raise a child.
"What is a ‘sense of community’? Having a ‘sense of community’ is generally thought to be when members of a community experience four, positive feelings:
Belonging: Feeling you are part of the community, are accepted, safe, and identify with the community.
Influence: Feeling you ‘matter’ and can make a difference to the community and the community can have influence on you and its members.
Integration and fulfilment of needs: Feeling your needs can be met by the community.
Shared emotional connection: Feeling attachment or bonding between community members through shared experience, place or history."
Sourced from We Hear You - Rhonda Livingstone, the ACECQA's National Education Leader, explains in a 5 part series what it means to be part of a community to raise your child.
2. More people are likely to commit
By having the Meal Train organised at the Baby Shower more people are likely to commit to it and remember once the baby has arrived! The best way to get her friends and family to join up is to make it easy!
Make it easy:
Have a table dedicated to the Meal Train and other exciting writing games. Such as, signing the guestbook, advice for parents book or baby suit.
On the table have a sheet for them to fill out their name, email address and the meal they will offer.
Provide a second sheet with possible meal ideas. Meal ideas will make it easier for everyone to pick a meal without too much thinking and makes sure that there is a variety of meals. Who wants a 5th dish of lasagne in a row? Next to each picture or name of the meal, everyone can tick the one that they have chosen. Now they all know which meals have been done, or done too much!
Have the Etiquette Handouts ready for people to take or read.
3. Your Mum-To-Be will feel loved and know there is one less thing for her to think about
Becoming a mum stirs up our less selfish selves; some of us may not have realised we had one (ha!). Thinking about, worrying about, having responsibility 24/7 and now on a baby schedule, your newbie mum and dad are in unchartered waters. They will be giving and giving to each other and their newborn. This is both exhausting and emotionally difficult. Bringing mum and dad a meal to make sure they are fed is one sure way to say, "You are not alone".
Mum and dad will feel blessed by others giving to them; whether that is by delivering a meal, picking up some groceries or doing some housework. Friends and family should make sure they are being helpful and not intruding, stepping on anyone's toes or creating more work for the couple (even socialising can be exhausting in the first few weeks of having a newborn). Here are some etiquette tips that many mums will appreciate when their family and friends bring them meals.
Etiquette Delivering meals is not a time for staying and spending time with the mum, dad or baby. It is a maximum 15 minute stop in to give the food and make sure that mum and dad are doing well. It is also not a time to explain that mum and dad are doing something wrong, that their baby might have jaundice or ask how are they going with breastfeeding. Unless you are extremely close with the couple and they are seeking your advice, stick to just delivering the meal and being positive and encouraging!
Etiquette Tips For a Meal Train:
Make sure you check dietary requirements prior to cooking the meal! This is an option to include in the Meal Train so that everyone can read it.
Include salads, drinks, and even a dessert if you are feeling generous!
Put the meals in containers that you don't want to be returned such as recycled/disposable containers!
Write cooking/heating instructions clearly on the containers.
Message the couple the morning that you are coming and ask what time is best for them for you to come.
Call/Message the couple one hour or so before coming - tell them that you are stopping in at the shops and ask whether they have run out of anything: milk, bread, fruit, cereal, for instance.
4. You can have an honest, experienced mum who can talk to everyone about why a Meal Train is amazing!
This may be a little over the top but will show everyone how special it is to help our fellow mums. And you can get creative! Explaining what it is like to have meals delivered when you have a newborn to all the non-mums in the room and the older mums who have forgotten, is a great way for helping them to empathise and realise how important it is for us all to help each other!
Here are a few ideas:
An experienced mum can write a speech telling everyone her experience with a Meal Train and how much it meant to her and her family.
Create a comical photo powerpoint of things that make being a mum difficult in the first week of motherhood. Find photos of exhausted mums, poo-filled nappies, piled up washing, changing the sheets, vomit everywhere ... just to name a few.
Create a video of mums you know that have experienced or not experienced a Meal Train and get them to say a short answer as to why they would love it!
You can make it funny and tease non-mums about what they will be in for - however, be careful not to scare the Mum-To-Be too much!
The best blessing that we can do for our Mum-To-Be is to be there for her. What better way can we do that than providing a warm hearty meal for her! If you are a Mum-To-Be, share this article with your Babymaid! I am sure she will be happy to organise a Meal Train for you!
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