Becoming a mom is hard. Whether it’s their first or fourth baby, giving birth and adding a baby to the family is a lot to get used to. Newborns and the sleep deprivation they bring can be overwhelming. Toddlers and other kids are also exhausting. Combining the two may be one of the hardest things a mom will do in motherhood. Many moms try to get through it independently instead of asking for help. In fact, this is what most moms are notorious for. Luckily, there are some ways you can help the tired mom before she asks.
Why Don’t Moms Ask for Help?
Moms think they should be able to do it all on their own – most try to do just that. But nothing is quite like having a child; becoming burned out can happen frequently regardless of the child’s age. Finding their rhythm as a parent and thinking they need to take care of everything on their own becomes all-consuming. All this pressure that moms pile onto themselves can make it difficult to ask for help. The last thing they want is to be a burden to anyone.
For some moms, it can be embarrassing to ask for help. Women are told they can “do it all” and be everything to everyone in today’s society. But can they? And what if they feel like they’re failing? For some moms, asking for help may feel like a failure, even though it is the furthest thing from it.
Why Help Before They Ask?
By the time a mom asks for help, it’s often when she’s completely overwhelmed. Until then, moms just grin and bear it most of the time. Helping before she gets to this point will go a long way in preserving her sanity. The tricky part for those offering help is knowing the best way to help without overstepping. If you’re considering visiting a tired mama, it’s helpful to see what she needs before taking too much initiative. Is she too tired for visitors? Or does she desperately need a friend to talk to (and maybe even do the dishes for her simultaneously)?
How to Offer Help to a Tired Mom (Before They Ask)
1. Make her a meal (or two).
Whether she just gave birth or not, making ready-to-eat meals for the mom you know is a thoughtful gift. She may be exhausted, healing, or simply not want to cook. Organizing a way to give her some meals she doesn’t need to make herself will go a long way in getting her through a challenging period.
2. Babysit the kids.
Moms hardly ever take the time to themselves, so offering to babysit is another great way to help a tired mom. Whether she needs time to bond with a new baby and you take the older kids for a bit, or you take all of the kids and give her some time off, babysitting will be a great help.
3. Give her a thoughtful gift.
People will often bring gifts for the new baby or other kids. Don’t forget mom! You can give her something thoughtful, like a gift card to her favorite place, to show her how much she’s appreciated.
4. Handle a chore.
If the mom in your life is up for visitors, offering to handle a chore for her can be a big help. Once you confirm the best time for a visit, ask her what needs to be done around the house while you’re there. If you see something that needs to be done while you’re visiting, offer to do it, whether that’s cleaning up, folding laundry, or washing dishes. Helping out around the house when she can’t get to it will be much appreciated because she definitely won’t ask.
5. Give her some praise!
It is easy to get distracted by the kids when you’re visiting, but make sure you check in with her and see how she’s really doing. It may give her the opportunity she needs to vent about her stressful day or gush over her kids. She has probably been waiting for someone to ask. Be sure to praise her for what a great job she’s doing. Moms don’t often give themselves enough credit, and a compliment will go a long way.
6. Drop off some groceries.
Getting to the store with a new baby or multiple kiddos can be hard. Grab some healthy groceries for her and the kids to enjoy and take some stress off her plate. Pick up some essentials you know she needs if she simply doesn’t have the energy to run those errands.
7. Bring her favorite treats.
There’s nothing like comfort foods when you’re having a rough time. Bring some cookies or another favorite treat of hers, along with some coffee or tea. It will be a pleasant surprise.
8. Let her know you’re there if she wants to talk.
Sometimes it can be as simple as letting her know you’re there for her if she needs to talk. It can be hard to reach out for help or connection in the thick of parenting. Chatting and being able to process feelings with someone who will truly listen is something that most mothers cherish.
9. Give her the space she needs.
On the other hand, she may want some space if she’s feeling stressed and overwhelmed. That’s okay too. She’ll certainly appreciate getting in that much-needed self-care before having people over. This can be especially hard for grandparents and other family members who are excited to see the baby and help in any way possible. Sometimes, however, a mom just needs some space to adjust to her new role and responsibilities.
10. Offer her the gift of sleep.
Once mama is ready to receive visitors, approach the idea of staying over for the night and taking care of all the night wakings. This may not work for every mama, but it can be a lifesaver for some. The gift of sleeping through the night is one of the best gifts a new mom can receive in those first few months!
Mom burnout is real, and all of us need help sometimes. For various reasons, some of us are reluctant to ask for it. Take a look at your mom friends and see what small kindness you could offer to make things easier or make her smile. There are many ways to help the tired mom, even when she doesn’t ask.